ROBBIE BRADY LAST night expressed his delight after he was rewarded for his part in a phenomenal 2016 for the Irish team.
Brady picked up three accolades at last night’s FAI awards — Young Player of the Year, Senior Player of the Year and Goal of the Year, for his match-winning header in the pivotal Euro 2016 group game against Italy.
Speaking after picking up the award, the Burnley star paid tribute to his teammates’ role in this triple success.
There’s a massive group of players that have helped me win the awards I won tonight,” he said. “I feel very lucky and very honoured that I had a group of lads around me to help me shine in the last year. I’ve enjoyed it and it’s been an incredible year for Irish football. Just to be a part of it is excellent.
“For me to get my hands on (the senior) award — no one can take it away from me now that I have it. It was a very important one for me.”
The famous Italy goal in particular is one that has been repeated endlessly on TV and elsewhere in the months since the Euros, but for Brady, the memories remain as sweet as ever, not matter how many times it’s shown.
I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it. It’s hard to watch because the emotions that went with it in that tournament was something I’ve never experienced.
“I was speaking to Wes (Hoolahan) a few months ago and he was saying we just need a night where we’ll see the game’s on and watch the game again just to get a real feel for it, because I haven’t watched the full game back yet, just the highlights.
I’ve been looking forward to sitting down and enjoying those games and I’m just glad it’s in stone now and we can look back at it whenever we want.
“I have loads of different pictures of the goal, paintings and all sorts. My gaff isn’t plastered with memorabilia of myself, but in my mam’s house and my gran’s house they all have a little piece of the tournament.
The fans and things pop up on the internet and people send them on and text message on or sometimes send letters to the club with pictures in it.”
Brady has been integral to Ireland’s recent success, both at the Euros and in the current World Cup qualifying campaign, with the Boys in Green currently top of Group D with four games played.
However, the 25-year-old midfielder will play no part in Friday’s pivotal clash against rivals Wales, having picked up a suspension in the match against Austria back in November.
I’m devastated I’m going to be missing the game. Especially the last few weeks, the build-up is all everyone’s been talking about. Not being involved is hitting home now.
“But I’ll be doing my part to get the lads ready for Friday night and hopefully they put in a good performance and get the result they need.
I’m not a good watcher of games as it is, so with this one, it’ll be hard for me to take, but it’s not about me for Friday’s game. It’s about the lads. I’ll be in training with them and trying to get them ready for a massive game.”
It’s been a big few months for Brady at club level as well. On the last day of January the transfer window, he joined Burnely from Norwich for a club record €15 million.
The Dubliner began life at Turf Moor superbly, scoring a spectacular free kick in last month’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea.
Alongside international teammates Jeff Hendrick and Stephen Ward, Brady has helped the newly promoted club reach their current position of 13th, with the Clarets looking unlikely to be dragged into a relegation battle as they sit on 32 points with nine games to play.
Nevertheless, the 25-year-old has had to be content with a substitute role in the club’s last two Premier League games, and he admits it’s taking him time to adapt to his new surroundings.
It’s just been a little bit different for me to the football I’ve been playing at Norwich. It’s nothing I can’t handle and nothing that’s going to faze me. I’ve started on the bench the last two games but I’ve been doing everything since he left me out the first time to try and learn quick and get myself back in the team… If I keep going the way I’m going I’m more confident I will get myself back in.
“I think the Premier League is a higher intensity the way it is, the way Burnley play is 110% per game. I’m not saying I don’t give 110% but it’s just a different way of playing. I’ll get used to it in time.”
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