Jack Byrne named top of the class in League of Ireland

Jack Byrne named top of the class in League of Ireland
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The SSE Airtricity League is only just back up and running but Shamrock Rovers' growing influence has been strengthened by the news that midfielder Jack Byrne has been named as the competition's player of the year.

Byrne has been superb for the Tallaght side in recent times, his most recent contribution being a stunning free-kick for the Hoops as they saw off Finn Harps 3-1 at home at the weekend in their first competitive game since the shutdown.

The Dubliner was named the PFAI's player of the year last November.

Byrne's award was just one of many announced today by the FAI with Lee O'Connor following up his gong as U19 winner last year with the U21 version this time. O'Connor made his senior debut for Ireland against New Zealand last November.

Jonathan Afolabi who, like O'Connor, is on the books of Celtic, claimed the U19 award after starring for Tom Mohan's side in last year's Uefa European Championships at the grade in Armenia when he made the official team of the tournament.

Joe Hodge, who was named as Manchester City's scholar of the year lately, followed that up with the FAI's U17 nod. Superb during the U119 European Championships held here in Ireland last summer, he has already featured for the national U19 side.

Galway native Sadhbh Doyle is named as the U19 Women’s Player of the Year and Cork’s Eabha O’Mahony picks up the U17 Women’s award after producing standout performances at their respective age levels.

Meanwhile, former Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu has been added to Manchester City's Champions League squad ahead of the competition's resumption this week. City face Real Madrid at home having won the first leg 2-1 in Spain.

Ederson and Claudio Bravo remain the first and second-choice stoppers at the club, while Scott Carson has been on loan from Derby County since last last year. Bazunu was just 16 when he made his senior Rovers debut and the 18 year-old already played U21 for the Republic of Ireland.

2019 ‘Three’ FAI International Award Winners:

Under-21 International Player of the Year; Lee O’Connor; Under-19 Men's International Player of the Year; Jonathan Afolabi; Under-19 Women's International Player of the Year, Sadhbh Doyle; Under-18 Men's International Player of the Year, Jason Knight; Under-17 Men's International Player of the Year, Joe Hodge; Under-17 Women's International Player of the Year, Eabha O’Mahony; Under-16 Men's International Player of the Year; Ben McCormack; Under-16 Women's International Player of the Year, Kerryann Brown; Under-15 Men's International Player of the Year, Glory Nzingo; Under-15 Women's Schools International Player of the Year, Jessie Stapleton (Palmerstown Community School); SSE Airtricity League Player of the Year, Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers); Intermediate Player of the Year, Alan McGreal (Crumlin United); Junior International Player of the Year, Jordan Buckley (Usher Celtic); Colleges & Universities International Player of the Year, Rob Slevin (University College Cork); Schools International Player of the Year, Niall O’Keefe (De La Salle College, Wateford); Football For All International Player of the Year, Thomas Donogher (Powerchair)

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