Dublin’s Siobhán McGrath was named as the 2019 TG4 Senior Players’ Player of the Year at Saturday’s All-Star banquet in Dublin. McGrath was superb throughout the season as the Sky Blues claimed a third successive TG4 All-Ireland SFC title in front of a record 56,114 attendance at Croke Park,
Thomas Davis star McGrath (31), also claimed a fourth TG4 All-Star award, following on from previous successes in 2009, 2010 and 2018. McGrath was the popular choice of her peers to claim the top individual award, beating off stiff competition from Dublin team-mate Sinéad Goldrick and Galway’s Louise Ward, both of whom collected All-Stars on the night.
It’s the third successive year that a Dublin player has won the TG4 Senior Players’ Player of the Year award, following wins for Noelle Healy in 2017 and captain Sinéad Aherne in 2018.
It was a memorable night for the champions who collected seven All-Star Awards in total. Goldrick won a seventh All-Star award in eight years while Lyndsey Davey secured her fifth. McGrath was honoured for a fourth time while it was the third award for team-mate Carla Rowe. Meanwhile Olwen Carey, Niamh Collins ad Niamh McEvoy all won their first All-Stars.
Galway defender Sinéad Burke and Cork forward Orla Finn, the joint top scorer in the 2019 Championship, both collect their second awards. The 2019 selection is also noteworthy for the presence of Galway twins Nicola and Louise Ward in the prestigious 15.
Nicola and Louise are the first set of twin sisters named in an All-Star team since Waterford’s O’Ryan twins, Martina and Geraldine, in 1992.
It was also the third successive year that sisters are named on an All Star selection as the Hegartys from Donegal, Ciara and Niamh, were listed on the 2017 team, while the O’Sullivans from Cork, Ciara and Doireann, were honoured in 2018.
Nicola and Louise Ward will now turn their attentions to next weekend’s All-Ireland Senior Club SFC Final, when Kilkerrin-Clonberne face holders Mourneabbey from Cork.
There were nine first-time winners on the 2019 TG4 All Star team, including the Dublin trio of Collins, Carey and McEvoy. Monica McGuirk earned the goalkeeping spot for her exploits with Meath, who contested the TG4 All-Ireland IFC Final, and it’s also a first All-Star for the Royals since 2011, when another goalkeeper, Irene Munnelly, was honoured. The other first-time All Star recipients were Melissa Duggan (Cork), the aforementioned Ward sisters, Tracey Leonard, the Galway captain, and Mayo’s Rachel Kearns.
Galway’s haul of four All Stars is second behind Dublin on the 2019 selection, while two players from Cork, and one each from Meath and Mayo complete the line-up. Tthere are four survivors from the 2018 All Star team – Dublin trio Goldrick, McGrath and Davey, and Galway’s Burke.
The 2019 TG4 Intermediate Players’ Player of the Year award went to Tipperary’s Aishling Moloney. The 21-year-old Cahir star was named player of the match in the TG4 All-Ireland IFC final as Tipperary lifted the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup for the second time in three years.
Moloney earned the nod in the Intermediate grade ahead of team-mate Orla O’Dwyer, and 2019 TG4 All Star goalkeeper Monica McGuirk from Meath.
And while Fermanagh may have lost the TG4 All-Ireland JFC Final against Louth at Croke Park, 18-year-old Eimear Smyth was voted by her peers as the TG4 Junior Players’ player of the year Smyth was nominated alongside Louth’s TG4 All-Ireland winning captain Kate Flood, who was TG4 Junior Players’ Player of the Year in 2015 and 2018, and London’s Hannah Noonan.
Earlier in the evening, Mayo legend Christina Heffernan was officially inducted into the Ladies Gaelic Football Association Hall of Fame, while Ellen Power (Galway/Connacht), Ciara Smyth (Meath/Leinster), Eimear O’Donovan (Cork/Munster) and Saoirse Kiernan (Cavan/Ulster) collected the provincial Young Player of the Year awards.