Given and Doyle win international player awards

SHAY Given and Kevin Doyle picked up the top gongs at the 17th eircom/International Awards in the Citywest Hotel in Saggart last night.

Unfortunately, both players are on the injury list for Wednesday’s European Championship qualifier in San Marino. And, yesterday, Sunderland’s Stephen Elliott became the latest player to withdraw from the Irish squad after failing to recover from an ankle injury.

No new players are being called up, however, and manager Steve Staunton will fly out with a squad of 23 this afternoon.

Shay Given dedicated his award to his and wife Jane’s new baby girl Sienna.

Given was due to travel back to Newcastle after last night’s ceremony and will have further treatment on the groin strain which has kept him out of action for the last two weeks. Doctors had told him that the injury could take four to six weeks to heal but Given is hopeful that it will respond more quickly than that and says he is certain to be available for the qualifiers against Wales and Slovakia in March.

Kevin Doyle was another award-winner disappointed not to be making the trip to San Marino.

“I thought I might be fit to travel but the club didn’t want me to take any chances,” he said. “It’s a pity because, with no disrespect to San Marino, there are bound to be chances for goals in that game.”

One welcome traveller with the squad today will be Bobby Robson who is able to make his first away trip with Ireland since being appointed Steve Staunton’s International Football Consultant just over a year ago.

Robson was last night the recipient of the International Personality Award in recognition of his many achievements at both club and international level in the course of a 50-year long career in the game.

Other winners last night included Ollie Cahill, now of Drogheda and formerly of Cork City, who was named eircom League of Ireland Player Of The Year for his contribution to Shelbourne’s title success. Another well-known figure from the domestic game, UCD boss Pete Mahon, picked up the Special Merit Award while U21 manager and former international striker Don Givens entered the Hall Of Fame.

Kevin Kilbane’s strike against the Czech Republic was named the International Goal of The Year while Kevin Deery won the European Award for his goal from play in Derry’s defeat of Gretna.

Award winners: Shay Given, Newcastle Utd (Senior International Player), Kevin Doyle, Reading (Young International), Kevin Foley, Luton Town (U21), Ollie Cahill, Drogheda (League of Ireland), John Paul Kelly, Bohemians (U19), Terry Dixon, Spurs (U17), James O’ Brien, Birmingham City (U16), Conor Powell, Portmarnock Community School/Bohemians (FAI Schools), Michael Keogh, Killester United (Junior), Ken Hoey, Rockmount (Intermediate), Alisha Moran, Harvard University (Women’s Senior), Aine O’ Gorman, Stella Maris (Women’s U19), and Gary Messit, Cerebral Palsy Sport Ireland/Glencormack United (Football For All).

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