O'Connor takes Munster gong in provincial club awards

Newtownshandrum ace Ben O'Connor received a record number of nominations as the winners of the 2009 AIB Provincial Club Player of the Year awards were announced today.

Newtownshandrum ace Ben O'Connor received a record number of nominations as the winners of the 2009 AIB Provincial Club Player of the Year awards were announced today.

Seven of the clubs vying for All-Ireland Senior Club titles in football and hurling over the next two months, were represented in the honours list.

Cork Senior hurler O'Connor was central to Newtownshandrum's charge to Munster glory before Christmas and they now face Ballyhale Shamrocks in the All-Ireland semi-final next month.

Shamrocks' ace forward TJ Reid scooped the Leinster Club hurler of the year award after a magnificent campaign.

Reid picks up this individual award for the second year in a row.

In Ulster, Antrim senior player Paddy Richmond was the standout performer in Dunloy Cuchullains march to provincial glory.

Richmond was previously honoured with the award in 2007, with his side now taking on Portumna in the All-Ireland semi-final.

As no action took place in the AIB Connacht GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship in 2009, Portumna go straight through to the semi-final stages in February and therefore, no award is being made for Connacht Hurling again this year.

In football Paul Cahillane lit up Portlaoise's charge to a first AIB Leinster Club Senior football title since 2004, following victory over Westmeath's Garrycastle in the final.

The former Celtic soccer player picks up the Leinster Footballer of the Year award in only his first season as a Senior club footballer.

The Munster GAA Football award was as tightly contested as ever, with Kilmurry-Ilbrickane full back Darren Hickey taking the award, beating off stiff competition from several of his club teammates.

He will be hoping his side prevails in the All-Ireland Club Football quarter-final clash against Tir Chonaill Gaels in Ruislip later this month.

Meanwhile, Conor McGourty of St Galls took the honours for Ulster football, with Kieran Comer of Galway’s Corofin club taking the Connacht football award.

McGourty helped his club to an emphatic 11-point win in the AIB Ulster GAA Senior Club Championship Final, while Comer was instrumental in leading Corofin to back-to-back titles in Connacht after an equally impressive destruction of Mayo champions Charlestown.

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