Awards for GAA club stars

With less than two weeks to go before the 2006 AIB All-Ireland Club finals in both hurling and football, today saw players from each of the four finalist clubs rewarded for their efforts throughout the season.

With less than two weeks to go before the 2006 AIB All-Ireland Club finals in both hurling and football, today saw players from each of the four finalist clubs rewarded for their efforts throughout the season.

AIB Provincial Player awards went to first-time winners Alan Kerins (Salthill-Knocknacarra), Jerry O’Connor (Newtownshandrum), Karl Stewart (St. Gall's) and Damien Hayes Portumna) for their brilliant performances in guiding their clubs through to the Croke Park deciders.

The awards were presented Billy Finn of sponsors AIB and GAA President Seán Kelly at the AIB International centre in Dublin this afternoon.

In all, eight players received AIB Provincial Player awards, other winners were: Johnny McGrattan (Ulster Hurling), Ray Cosgrove (Leinster Football), James Masters (Munster Football), and Eoin Larkin (Leinster Hurling).

Village and Kilkenny forward Larkin was the only player honoured who was a previous winner.

GAA supremo Kelly said: "The popularity of the AIB club championships continues to rise and their ever-increasing importance is reflected in the attendances and media coverage which they continue to attract. Yet again, we the GAA fans were thrilled by hugely competitive Provincial Championships, and the players here today can be very proud of their contribution to this amazing competition.

"Club dynamics may have changed, but the club is still at the heart of everything the GAA stands for.”

AIB PROVINCIAL PLAYER AWARDS 2006:

Football Awards

Alan Kerins, Connacht (Salthill-Knocknacarra)

Ray Cosgrove, Leinster (Kilmacud Crokes)

James Masters, Munster (Nemo Rangers)

Karl Stewart, Ulster (St. Gall's)

Hurling Awards

Damien Hayes, Connacht (Portumna)

Eoin Larkin, Leinster (James Stephens)

Jerry O’Connor, Munster (Newtownshandrum)

Johnny McGrattan, Ulster (Ballygalget)

Coaching Awards -

Liam Cheasty (Butlerstown)

John Fahey (St Thomas' Loughrea GAA)

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