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Irish duo Collins and O'Shea pick up Football League POTM awards

The pair have been in excellent form for Luton and Bury respectively.

FORMER IRELAND UNDERAGE internationals James Collins and Jay O’Shea have been rewarded for their standout club form throughout January with Football League player of the month awards.

28-year-old Collins scored six goals for Luton Town last month and scooped the League One accolade, while midfielder O’Shea is in the goalscoring form of his career at Bury and was named League Two player of the month.

Sunderland v Luton Town - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light James Collins netted six times in January. Source: EMPICS Sport

Ex-Ireland U21 striker Collins has netted 18 league goals for Luton this term, playing an integral part in the club’s title and promotion bid, with the Hatters currently six points clear at the top of League One. 

“This is the first time I’ve won an award like this,” he said. “I’ve been nominated a few times, so I’m delighted to finally get my name on one.

“We’ve had a great month, remaining unbeaten, and that always helps when you’re going into games because you’re full of confidence. The other lads get as much credit as I do for this award, and Mick Harford, who fully deserved his nomination for manager of the month.”

Dubliner O’Shea, meanwhile, wins the League Two award for the second time this season as he brought his goalscoring tally to 12 for the campaign with five strikes during the month of January. 

Along with manager Ryan Lowe, who was named League Two manger of the month, O’Shea earns the distinction of being part of the first manager and player duo to win the awards twice in a season in any of the three Football League divisions. 

Bury v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League Two - Energy Check Stadium Jay O'Shea has been in excellent form for Bury. Source: Anthony Devlin

“It’s brilliant, these awards are nice, but what we set out at the start of the season was to get promoted, so these will mean nothing if we don’t go up,” the 30-year-old said.

“The team have been excellent, I think everyone at the club has been from the staff all the way down, and the supporters have been great this season so it definitely helps when everyone is chipping in together.

“I’m really enjoying my role this season, it was a little bit different for me at the start so it took a few games to get used to it, with a lot of coaching from the staff as well.

“I’ve only ever won one of these before this season, so to win two in three months is excellent.”

Following a tough Six Nations opening defeat to England, Joe Schmidt will look to regroup against a dangerous Scotland side. This week, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey are joined by Bernard Jackman to assess the damage of last weekend and look ahead to the clash in Murrayfield:

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