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5 Kerrymen honoured at Munster GAA Awards 2014-12-16 11:29:00

Five Kerrymen were honoured at the Munster GAA Annual Awards night held in the Dromoland Castle Hotel in Co. Clare on Saturday evening last.

Munster GAA Footballer of the Year 2014 – James O’Donoghue (Ciarraí)

It hardly comes as a surprise to hear that Kerry’s James O’Donoghue is named as the Munster GAA Footballer of the Year for 2014. Few will forget his devastating display in the provincial decider against old foes Cork when he scored a remarkable 10 points, 8 of those from play. The Killarney Legion man burst on to the scene in last year’s championship winning his first All Star, and this year he continued the rich vein of form he displayed in Munster into the All Ireland series ending the season with an All Ireland medal, a second All Star and was the unanimous choice as Player of the Year. His Championship form was all the more remarkable given the serious shoulder injury he carried for much of the Summer, an injury that severely curtailed his training schedule. Scorer of 4-24 in five Championship games this year, James O’Donoghue is a deserving recipient of the Munster GAA Footballer of the Year award.

Munster GAA Minor Footballer of the Year 2014 – Matthew Flaherty (Ciarraí)

2014 has been a never to be forgotten year for Kerry’s Matthew Flaherty. The Daingean Uí Chúis player was an instrumental figure as Pobal Scoil Chorca Dhuibhne captured their very first Hogan Cup All Ireland Colleges title in April and he carried this exceptional form into the Munster Championship series against Clare, Tipperary and Cork scoring 7 points in the process. In his second year as a Minor, this year Matthew was moved from his usual half back position and deployed as a half forward, but when Kerry’s back’s were to the wall in the latter stages of the Munster final, his switch back to his usual hunting ground in the half back line was instrumental to the Kingdom’s success. Thereafter, in the All Ireland Series, he played a vital role as Kerry went on to capture the Tom Markham Cup for the first time since 1994. Peileadóir den scoth is ea Maitiú agus tá an gradam seo tuillte go maith aige.


Munster GAA Junior Footballer of the year 2014 - Gavan O’Grady (Ciarraí)

2014 has certainly brought its share of highs and lows for Gavan O’Grady. The Glenbeigh-Glencar clubman was an influential figure in Mid Kerry’s march to the senior county championship final, but defeat was to be his lot as the Divisional side went down to Austin Stacks after a replayed final. However the 22 year old will have fond recollections of Kerry’s Junior championship campaign and the important role he played in it. After posting 1-3 in the opener against Clare, he scored a magnificent 1-6 in the provincial decider against Cork played in Tralee’s Austin Stack Park. He followed that up with 9 points in the All Ireland semi final against Sligo, but despite his 4 point contribution in the final, Cavan thwarted Kerry’s bid for All Ireland glory. A young man with a bright future ahead of him in the footballing fields of the Kingdom and beyond, Gavan O’Grady is a very worthy recipient of the Munster Junior Footballer of the Year Award.

Munster GAA Manager of the Year 2014 – Eamonn Fitzmaurice (Ciarraí)

Eamonn Fitzmaurice is hardly likely to forget the past year in a hurry. Shorn of the services of such stalwarts as Tomás Ó Sé, Eoin Brosnan and Paul Galvin through retirement, and then the captain and talisman Colm Cooper through injury just as the inter-county season was beginning to liven up, the general opinion of the pundits was that Kerry had “punched above their weight” in 2013, Fitzmaurice’s inaugural year as a manager, and the Kingdom would now be found out. Cork’s ten points demolition of their neighbours in the final League game only added fuel to that train of thought. However, after a mundane enough opening Championship performance against Clare, the shrewd Finuge man masterminded what must be one of the performances of the year when Kerry trumped Cork in the provincial decider by a 12 points margin – their biggest victory over the Rebels since 1977. Nurturing the talents of the younger players on the team, and getting the last ounce of energy out of the older brigade led by Aidan O’Mahony, Fitzmaurice went on to fashion what, at the start of the year at any rate, looked a most unlikely All Ireland title triumph for the Kingdom.

Referees Award – Padraig O’Sullivan (Firies)

Padraig O’Sullivan was honoured for officiating at the 2014 U21 Championship Final and the 2013 Intermediate Club Championship Final.