THE winners of the Junior and Intermediate Camogie Association Players’ Player of the Year Awards 2020, will both come from Ulster following yesterday’s announcement of the short-list of three for each category. Two Down forwards and Antrim’s teenage sensation Maeve Kelly have been short-listed for the Intermediate award and all three were recipients of Irish News All-star awards last month.
Niamh Mallon will be favourite to lift the title after winning the Irish News overall Player of the Year. The Down star was top scorer in the Intermediate championship with 4-11 from four games. Her Down team-mate Sara-Louise Graffin was also a regular goal-scorer in the competition .
Ballycastle club player Maeve Kelly turns 20 in a few weeks, but she has more than delivered on under-age and schools’ success by taking a leadership role in the Saffrons’ attack, scoring regularly as Antrim made the Intermediate final for the first time since 2011.
Voting for the Players’ Player of the Year Awards is now underway amongst inter-county players and the awards will be announced along with the 2020 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Stars teams. The award will be a virtual event on Saturday March 6th. The Senior All-Stars team will be selected from the top performers in the 2020 Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championships, while the Soaring Stars team will be chosen from the 2020 Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate and Premier Junior Championships. However due to the shortened nature of the 2020 Championships there will be no nominees’ lists released for this year’s team Awards, with the winning teams announced on the night of the Awards. Speaking about the announcement Camogie Association President Kathleen Woods said: “I am delighted that we will once more recognise some of the best performers in the 2020 Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Championships at this year’s All-Stars Awards. Although we cannot gather in person this year it will still be a great occasion to honour the winning players and mark another fantastic year of intercounty Camogie action. “In particular, the Players’ Player of the Year Awards are unique and prestigious honours for any player as they recognise the esteem in which players are held amongst their peers. This is the sixth year of these awards and the Camogie Association are delighted once again, in collaboration with both the WGPA and Liberty Insurance, to recognise at a national level, the immense contribution of our leading players.” Speaking on the announcement of this of this year’s shortlist, the WGPA’s Maria Kinsella said: “The 2020 season will always be remembered. Summer Championship days were swapped for winter battles as families, friends, clubs, communities and supporters watched from home. But what didn’t change was the players’ ability to enthral and excite. Congratulations to the nominations for the Players’ Player of the Year Awards. Unfortunately we cannot be with you to celebrate this year, but we are delighted to partner with the Camogie Association and Liberty Insurance to pay tribute to your outstanding individual performances.” Speaking in advance of the awards Liberty Insurance representative Stuart Trotter said: “Throughout this challenging season we’ve seen countless examples of players, teams and coaches excelling in the face of adversity – providing us with exceptional exhibitions of Camogie, during a time when the escapism of sport was very much needed. We’re delighted to once again sponsor these awards which recognise and celebrate the achievements of this year’s outstanding Camogie players at all levels. “In addition to the All-Stars Awards, it is important to recognise these outstanding individual performances throughout this year’s Championship as acknowledged by their peers. We would like to congratulate each of the players nominated.
We look forward to what is always an enjoyable and memorable evening on March 6th.” The Players’ Player of the Year Awards nominees are as follows: Senior Player of the Year Shortlist: Denise Gaule (Kilkenny), Grace Walsh (Kilkenny), Shauna Healy (Galway) Intermediate Player of the Year Shortlist: Maeve Kelly (Antrim), Niamh Mallon (Down), Sara-Louise Graffin (Down) Junior Player of the Year Shortlist: Ciara Donnelly (Armagh), Leanne Donnelly (Armagh), Róisín O’Keeffe (Cavan)