All-Star Paul Geaney and Cork veteran Rena Buckley have been recognised as Munster’s best senior footballer and ladies footballer in 2016, while Tipperary’s All-Ireland winning manager Michael Ryan has claimed the manager of the year award.
Hurler and young hurler of the year Austin Gleeson will add the province’s U21 hurler of the season to his bounty at tomorrow night’s gala dinner in the Rochestown Park Hotel. Dingle man Geaney was Kerry’s outstanding player this year, making the most of his first full injury-free season in senior colours to score 3-15 across his county’s four championship outings. His 2-3 tally in the Munster final win over Tipperary was pivotal, earning him the man of the match award, and he also notched five points in the semi-final victory against Clare.
Speaking last month, Geaney prided himself on improving his conversion rate in 2016 as was so evident in scoring 1-4 from play when Kerry went down to Dublin in this year’s All-Ireland semi-final.
Buckley was the stand-out performer for Cork as they claimed a provincial crown prior to going all the way yet again. That triumph against Dublin in September earned the Donoughmore woman her 11th ladies football title, her 17th including her camogie achievements.
Ryan led All-Ireland senior glory to Tipperary for the first time since 2010 when he was a selector under Liam Sheedy. Having been named Eamon O’Shea’s successor as early as 2014, it wasn’t until last autumn that he took charge but his stamp was well and truly visible in a more physical, direct Tipperary style. The Upperchurch-Drombane man became the first Munster manager since John Allen in 2005 to guide a team to provincial and All-Ireland honours.
Gleeson was immense in both senior and U21 grades this season, impressing in both the semi-final win over Clare and the final success against Tipperary, the Déise’s first Munster U21 crown since 1994, before they beat Antrim and Galway.
Munster chairman Jerry O’Sullivan hailed the winners: “Paul Geaney and Rena Buckley contributed hugely to their teams’ performances this year and are deserving winners of the top playing awards in Gaelic Football and Ladies Gaelic Football respectively. Austin Gleeson was the star of the U21 hurling championship and made a huge impact at senior as well. It was marvellous to see the Munster hurling champions, Tipperary, go on to win the All-Ireland final.
“They played hurling as it should be played and their manager, Michael Ryan, deserves great credit for bringing Munster and All-Ireland honours in his first year in charge.”
The full list of 2016 Munster GAA Award winners:
Charlie McCarthy (Cork) – Hurling Hall of Fame; John Quane (Limerick) – Football Hall of Fame; Micheál Mac Conmara (An Clár) – Special Service Award – contribution to Scór; Michael Hurley (Cork) – U21 Football; Austin Gleeson (Waterford) – U21 Hurling; David Conroy (Clare) – Intermediate Hurling ; Jamie Lee (Limerick) – Junior Football; Jake Morris (Tipperary) – Minor Hurling; David Clifford (Kerry) – Minor Football; Niamh Mulcahy (Limerick) – Camogie; Rena Buckley (Cork) – Ladies Football; Aishling O’Keeffe (Cork) – Handball; Ballyea (Clare) – Club; John McGrath (Tipperary) – Senior Hurling; Paul Geaney (Kerry) – Senior Football; Michael Ryan (Tipperary) – Manager.
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