Hurler of the Year double for Clare's Kelly

Hurler of the Year double for Clare's Kelly
Tony Kelly. Picture: SPORTSFILE

The ultra-talented Tony Kelly made history tonight as he collected both the Hurler of the Year and Young Hurler of the Year awards at the GAA/GPA All-Stars banquet at Croke Park.

Aged just 19, Kelly scored three points from centre forward as Clare won their first All-Ireland SHC title since 1997 and he was also a member of the Clare side that retained their All-Ireland Under-21 crown.

As one of eight Clare players named in the GAA/GPA All-Stars Hurling team, the Ballyea clubman capped off a dream season by getting the nod for both the Hurler of the Year and Young Hurler of the Year gongs.

Speaking at the ceremony, a shocked Kelly admitted: "I didn't think I'd collect three awards tonight with the other lads that were up for it.

"It's been a great year for Clare in general and look, if I was told I'd win another All-Ireland next year I'd give the three of them back."

Kelly beat his Clare team-mate Padraic Collins and Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash in the Hurler of the Year category, while Kelly was selected over Collins and another of the Banner contingent, defender David McInerney, in the battle to be crowned Young Hurler of the Year.

He is the first Hurler of the Year from Clare since Jamesie O'Connor won it in 1997, and the first recipient from Munster since 2010 winner Lar Corbett from Tipperary. Clare have never had a winner before in the Young Hurler of the Year category.

Meanwhile, Dublin's durable midfielder Michael Darragh Macauley was revealed as the Footballer of the Year, with fellow All-Ireland winner Jack McCaffrey announced as the Young Footballer of the Year.

Macauley was hugely influential in the Dubs lifting the Division 1, Leinster and All-Ireland silverware in 2013, producing a series of power-packed display in which his hard running and battling qualities were to the fore.

The 27-year-old, who plays for Ballyboden St. Enda's, is the third Dublin winner of the Footballer of the Year award in four years, following in the footsteps of the Brogan brothers, Bernard and Alan.

A modest Macauley told RTÉ afterwards: "I'm lost here on stage, I don't know what I'm doing with a Footballer of the Year trophy when Stephen Cluxton was also nominated. I suppose I have to take it but I'm lost!"

Clontarf young gun McCaffrey had a brilliant breakthrough season at inter-county level, with his award making up for the fact that he missed out on a place in the All-Stars team tonight - losing out to Mayo's Colm Boyle in the half-back line.

The 20-year-old's searing runs out of defence were utilised on a number of occasions by Jim Gavin's men this summer, with his superb solo goal against Cork at the quarter-final stage etched in the memory banks of most Dublin fans.

He denied Mayo's Cillian O'Connor a hat-trick of awards in the Young Footballer of the Year category, with McCaffrey's Dublin team-mate Ciaran Kilkenny also nominated.

"A lot of credit has to go to Jim Gavin and his management team who've been massive all year. I was lucky enough to work with him at Under-21 level and we were told to go out there and express ourselves and that led to our success," admitted McCaffrey.

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