Portlaoise footballer Cahir Healy and Clough-Ballacolla hurler Willie Hyland have been recognised for their outstanding performances in 2011, as they were recognised with the senior footballer and senior hurler of the year awards respectively.
The award winners were announced last week, and their could be few complaints with either of the winners in the senior category, as both played central roles in their teams’ march to glory.
Healy’s remarkably consistent form saw him put paid to one attacker after another in the Portlaoise defence, as the club marched on relentlessly to their fifth Laois SFC title in a row. For Willie Hyland, 2011 saw his scoring exploits reach new heights in Ballacolla’s run to a second SHC title in three years. He scored 9-46 in seven games, with his semi-final performance against The Harps one of the finest individual displays seen in the county this year.
In the Intermediate grades, the hurling award went to Ballyfin’s JJ McHugh for an outstanding year in Ballyfin’s run to success. In Intermediate football, Cathal Brennan of Killeshin, one of the best forwards at any grade in the county this year, earns his just rewards for playing such a pivotal role in what has been a phenomenally successful year for the club.
At Junior ‘A’ level, Spink’s Seamus Dwyer has been selected in recognition ofthe role he played in helping the club bounce back from the agony of their defeat in the 2010 final. At the same grade in hurling, Park-Ratheniska midfielder Brendan Fingleton is honoured for playing such a pivotal role in helping to break the club’s run of failed attempts to escape from the junior championship, with his display in the final capping off a superb season for him.
In Junior ‘B’, Graiguecullen’s Darragh Doran picks up the award after Graigue’s dramtic victory over Colt at the climax of the championship, while Brian Hancock of Camross gets the nod in hurling after his Man of the Match display in the final against Rathdowney-Errill.
In the other grades, U-21 hurler of the year went to Rathdowney-Errill’s Jimmy Corrigan, as he captained his side to glory from centre back. In U-21 football, St Joseph’s-Barrowhouse centre-back Kevin Campion beat off stiff competition from a number of his team mates for the football award.
Minor hurler of the year went to Borris-Kilcotton’s PJ Scully for his free-scoring displays in the club’s run to a third successive MHC ‘A’ crown. In minor football, Sam Murphy-Kerry from Portlaoise was the standout player for the champions throughout the MFC ‘A’ campaign and he gets his reward for a very consistent year.
Ladies Footballer of the year goes to Sarsfields Grace Weston, while the Camogie award sees Aine Mahony honoured.
Other awards will see Portarlington great Benny Hunt inducted to the Hall of Fame, while Mountmellick’s Dr Aidan Hanson gets the special merit award. Referee of the Year goes to Eamon Strong from Emo, while the Scor award went to the Camross-Kyle instrumental group.