The nominations for the O’Neills/TG4 Ladies Football Players’ Player of the Year were announced in Croke Park today. This is the first year of the Player’s Player of the Year Award and all six counties that contested the TG4 All Ireland Finals are represented, along with Leitrim. The nominees were selected by their fellow inter-county players, each of whom had one vote but could not nominate a player from their own county.
The Senior Players’ Player of the Year is between Monaghan’s Sharon Courtney and Cork duo Juliet Murphy and Briege Corkery.
Sharon Courtney was immense for Monaghan during 2011 in both league and championship. Courtney was an inspirational full back throughout the year and produced an extraordinary display of attacking football in Monaghan’s semi-final win against Kerry.
Juliet Murphy was a tower of strength for Cork from midfield. Always an outlet for her defence but also one of Cork’s chief scoring threats. She had massive performances in the quarter-final against Dublin, in which she scored five points, some at critical times and again in a tight All-Ireland Final where she notched up three points.
Fellow Cork star Briege Corkery is also nominated. The 24 year old from the St. Val’s club is a key player in the Cork half back line and collected her sixth All-Ireland medal in September. Corkery is a complete footballer. Diving blocks, crucial high catches and unpredictable attacking runs up the wing all come as standard with Briege.
In the Intermediate Players’ Player of the Year the nominees are Aisling Doonan from Cavan, Maud Annie Foley from Westmeath and Aine Tighe from Leitrim. Both Doonan and Foley were instrumental in the progress of both Cavan and Westmeath to this year’s TG4 Intermediate Final.
Doonan was Cavan captain and her team’s go-to player in the full forward line. One of the most talked about moments of this year’s All-Ireland Finals was Doonan’s sideline ball from inside the 13 meter line under the Cusack Stand. Without much effort at all, Doonan struck it high and long and between the posts, one of her many moments of brilliance.
Maud Annie Foley was the heartbeat of the Westmeath team driving them forward from midfield as they swept all before them with league, provincial and All-Ireland success. Foley stood out in the All-Ireland Final Replay and was a key figure in the Westmeath comeback.
Leitrim’s Aine Tighe was another that shone throughout both league and championship and indeed her exploits in the Championship also saw her pick up a Golden Boot award. After Leitrim’s semi-final defeat to Cavan, everyone left the ground talking about the Leitrim sensation Aine Tighe.
Finally, in the Junior Players’ Player of the Year Emma Clarke from New York is nominated as is Lucy Mulhall and Caitriona McKeon, both from Wicklow.
New York made a welcome return to the TG4 Junior Championship in 2011 and corner forward Emma Clarke was a star performer for the Big Apple. Seven points in the semi-final win over Wexford was a high point for most but to follow up with eight points and three points in the All-Ireland Final and replay respectively was most impressive.
Lucy Mulhall was another who shone from start to finish. The diminutive full forward was inspired all year for the Garden County and capped off a wonderful year with a Goal of the Season contender in the All-Ireland Final replay and also a Golden Boot award as the highest scoring forward in the TG4 Junior Championship.
Wicklow captain Caitriona McKeon is our final nominee. The Kilbride star was the rock at centre back as Wicklow advanced to a first West County Hotel Cup win since 1990. She was inspirational in keeping Louth and New York goalless in the semi-final and of course in the memorable All-Ireland Final and reply.
Ladies Gaelic Football Association President Pat Quill said, “The Players’ Player of the Year award is a great addition to the O’Neill’s/TG4 All Stars night. For any player, to be nominated by their peers for this award is a fantastic honour.”
The three winners will be announced at the O’Neills/TG4 All Star banquet on the 12th of November 2011.
Full List of Nominations
Emma Clarke (New York)
Lucy Mulhall (Wicklow)
Caitriona McKeon (Wicklow)
Aisling Doonan (Cavan)
Maud Annie Foley (Westmeath)
Aine Tighe (Leitrim)
Sharon Courtney (Monaghan)
Juliet Murphy (Cork)
Briege Corkery (Cork)