Newly-crowned champions Sligo Rovers have, as expected, dominated the PFAI Premier Division Team of the Year with five places but there was no place for any member of EA Sports Cup and Europa League bound Drogheda United in the side.
The Bit O’Red ended a 35 year wait to claim the domestic title a fortnight ago with two games to spare. And heading into tomorrow’s final match of the season, at home to last year’s champions Shamrock Rovers, Ian Baraclough’s men make up almost half of the side.
Drogheda, however, don’t feature at all on the team, despite being in second place heading into the last round of fixtures with a place in Europe already guaranteed.
The rest of the side is made up of four St Patrick’s Athletic players, and one a piece from Derry City and Shamrock Rovers.
Gary Rogers was named the country’s top goalkeeper, unsurprisingly considering Sligo have conceded just 21 league goals all season.
In defence, Saints duo Ger O’Brien and Ian Bermingham were named at right and left back respectively, with Jason McGuinness and Gavin Peers inside them.
Promising youngster Stephen McLaughlin, tipped by many to repeat James McClean’s move cross-channel from Derry, was named on the wing, with James Chambers, Ronan Finn and Sean O’Connor making up the other three spots, meaning the champions failed to secure one nomination in the centre of the field.
Nonetheless, strike duo Mark Quigley and Danny North were named up top. Interestingly, Quigley, who scored the decisive penalty last Saturday week to seal the title, had not seen much game time before North damaged his cruciate ligament in the summer.
Finn, McGuinness, O’Connor and Quigley have been shortlisted for the overall Player of the Year gong.
First Division table toppers Limerick also claimed five spots in the second tier’s team of the season, with three players from Waterford United, two from Longford Town and one from Athlone joining them.
Premier Division Team of the Year: Gary Rogers (Sligo Rovers); Ger O’Brien (St Patrick’s Athletic), Jason McGuinness (Sligo Rovers), Gavin Peers (Sligo Rovers), Ian Bermingham (St Patrick’s Athletic); Sean O’Connor (St Patrick’s Athletic), Ronan Finn (Shamrock Rovers), James Chambers (St Patrick’s Athletic), Stephen McLaughlin (Derry City); Mark Quigley (Sligo Rovers), Danny North (Sligo Rovers
Premier Division Player of the Year: Ronan Finn (Shamrock Rovers), Jason McGuinness (Sligo), Sean O’Connor (St Patrick’s Athletic), Mark Quigley (Sligo Rovers).
First Division Team of the Year: Packie Holden (Waterford United); Pat Purcell (Limerick), Brian McCarthy (Athlone Town), Shane Tracy (Limerick), Noel Haverty (Longford Town); Gary Dempsey (Waterford United), Keith Gillespie (Longford Town), Joe Gamble (Limerick), Stephen Bradley (Limerick); Sean Maguire (Waterford United), Rory Gaffney (Limerick).
First Division Player of the Year: Gary Dempsey (Waterford United), Rory Gaffney (Limerick), Sean Maguire (Waterford United).
Overseas Player of the Year: Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Shane Long (WBA) and James McClean (Sunderland).
Young Player of the Year: David Cawley (Sligo Rovers), Chris Forrester (St Patrick’s Athletic), Sean Maguire (Waterford United).
Referee of the Year: Neil Doyle, Alan Kelly and Paul McLoughlin.