Dublin's Aaron Byrne has been voted EirGrid U21 Footballer of the Year while eight Dubs have been named on the Top 21 Footballers of the Championship.
EirGrid, proud sponsors of the U21 All-Ireland Football Championship, have revealed details of the top 21 players of this year’s competition through the ‘EirGrid 21 Under 21 Awards’ with Aaron Byrne from Dublin awarded the EirGrid U21 Player of the Year.
These awards, now in their third year, are run by EirGrid to recognise the outstanding talent at this age grade. The Gaelic Writers Association and EirGrid ambassador Seán Cavanagh selected the top 21 players of the Championship with the EirGrid U21 Player of the Year chosen through a public vote.
This year, the three nominees for the EirGrid U21 Player of the Year were Dublin duo Aaron Byrne and Brian Howard and Galway’s Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh. Fans casted their vote on the official GAA Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages between Tuesday 16th and Thursday 18th May. Aaron Byrne from Dublin took the title, receiving 4,315 votes (46%).
Dublin made history this year by not only claiming their fourth successive EirGrid U21 Leinster title, but by capturing the U21 All-Ireland title for the third time in six years. Their efforts have been reflected with eight players from this panel selected as recipients of the ‘EirGrid 21 U21 Awards’. (Evan Comerford, Eoin Murchan, Cian Murphy, Cillian O’Shea, Brian Howard, Aaron Byrne, Con O’Callaghan and Glenn O’Reilly)
All-Ireland finalists Galway have five players included (Ronán Ó Beoláin, Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh, Cillian McDaid, Peter Cooke and Michael Daly) with three coming from Ulster champions Donegal (Eoghan Bán Gallagher, Michael Carroll and Michael Langan). Kerry also have three recipients (Brian Ó Beaglaoich, Andrew Barry and Matthew Flaherty) of the award. Offaly, who reached their first provincial final since 2007, are represented by Shane Tierney, while Sligo’s Darragh Cummins has received an award for his impressive efforts in the Connacht Championship.
Speaking at the EirGrid U21 Player of the Year award presentation Aaron Byrne commented: “I’m honoured to be receiving this award from EirGrid today. To think of all the great players who are playing at U21 level this year in Dublin and other counties across the country, it really came as a shock! EirGrid contributed greatly to the recognition of this hugely competitive championship which has entertained GAA supporters for the past three years. We had a fantastic year with the Dubs and this is a nice way to cap off the last ever U21 Championship competition.”
Speaking on behalf of the GAA, Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail said;
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail said: "I’d like to congratulate all of the 21 nominees following this year’s EirGrid U21 Football Championship. Dublin were the victors in the All-Ireland Final, but many teams achieved success over the course of the campaign so I would like to again pay tribute to all management teams and players who took took part in the competition.
"2017 was historic as it was the final occasion this competition was played at the U21 age grade. These players from across the country should be proud to be named in this group as their names and achievements will now forever be associated in the history books with this superb competition. Comhghairdeas le gach duine."
Valerie Hedin, External Communications Manager, EirGrid commented: “We are delighted to honour the top 21 performers in what was the last Championship at the U21 age grade and congratulations to Dublin’s Aaron Byrne who has been awarded the EirGrid U21 Player of the Year for the 2017 championship. While we were blown away by the character and effort of many team performances this year, it is always nice to be able to recognise the individual feats throughout the campaign.
“The talent displayed proves how competitive and exciting this Championship is and we look forward to a new chapter at U20 level. Well done to all our winners and thank you for making the last EirGrid GAA Football U21 All-Ireland Championship such an outstanding competition.
“I would also like to extend my thanks to the families, coaches, trainers and clubs of all of our winners in helping these players perform to the best of their abilities. I have no doubt our award winners will excel at senior level in the coming years and, on behalf of EirGrid, I wish them every success.”
EirGrid 21 U21s