Ireland in contention for FAI award despite exile

STEPHEN IRELAND might still be on a self-imposed exile from international football but that hasn’t stopped him being nominated for a Young Player Of the Year gong in the 18th eircom/FAI International Awards, which will be broadcast live on RTÉ in February.

The Manchester City midfielder was one of the undoubted stars of Ireland’s failed European Championship campaign — his four goals a significant factor in keeping qualifying hopes alive at least past the midway point in the campaign.

Unfortunately, having just bagged his fourth in the 2-2 draw with Slovakia in Bratislava, Ireland promptly became embroiled in the notorious ‘Grannygate’ saga and hasn’t made himself available for selection in the green shirt since.

Ireland is joined by Reading’s Shane Long and Celtic’s Aiden McGeady as nominees in the Young Player category, while this year’s senior award will be contested by Kevin Doyle, Richard Dunne and the current holder Shay Given.

The nominations, which were chosen by a panel from the Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland, are divided into 18 categories, including a Hall of Fame Award, a Special Merit Award and an International Personality Award.

The awards ceremony will take place on Sunday 3 February in Dublin’s CityWest Hotel and all winners will be announced live on the night.

RTÉ Sport will broadcast the awards live on RTÉ Two television and throughout the island of Ireland here on RTÉ.ie from 8pm.

The nominations are:

Senior: K Doyle (Reading), R Dunne (Manchester City), S Given (Newcastle United).

Young: S Ireland (Man City), S Long (Reading), A McGeady (Celtic).

U21: D O’Dea (Celtic), S O’Halloran (Aston Villa), S Quinn (Sheffield United).

Eircom League of Ireland: D Mooney (Longford Town), B Murphy (Bohemians), B Shelley (Drogheda Utd).

U19: K Treacy (Blackburn Rovers), D Nolan (Blackburn Rovers), A Rooney (Stoke City).

U17: I Daly (Man City), L Gaughan (Celtic), C McCormick (Man Utd).

U16: C Clifford (Chelsea), J Dunleavy (Wolves), A Doran (Blackburn Rovers).

FAI Schools International: P Mullins (CBS, Sexton Street, Limerick), P McMahon (St Macartan’s College, Monaghan), R O’Donovan (Presentation College, Cork).

Junior International: D Lacey (Killester United), S Crowe (Athenry FC), S O’Mahony (Lisselton Celtic).

Amateur: P McCabe (Crumlin United), D O’Connell (Douglas Hall FC), B O’Connell (Avondale United) .

Football For All Award: C Kelly (Special Olympics Women), K Woods (Irish Schools), D Jordan (Irish Deaf Team) (Moate Celtic).

Women’s International: E Byrne (Arsenal), S Peters (Seattle Saunders), N Fahey (Salthill Devon).

Women’s U19 International: L Dowling (Lynsey Wilton College, Kentucky), A O’Gorman (Stella Maris), L Quinn (Peamount United).

Women’s U17 International: J Russell (Salthill Devon), K Duggan (Piltown), G McDonnell (Dundalk City).

Goal of the Year: K Doyle (Away v Slovakia), S Ireland (Home v Wales), R Keane (Away v Wales).

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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