Dundalk, Rovers and Bohs honoured as nominees for prestigious LOI awards announced

Players and managers have been put forward for Personality of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year.

THE NOMINEES FOR two prestigious League of Ireland awards have been announced. 

Three managers and three players have been shortlisted for the 2019 SSE Airtricity / Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland [SWAI] Personality of the Year award, while three shot-stoppers go head-to-head for the title of Goalkeeper of the Year. 

SSE Airtricity - SWAI Personality of the Year Nominees

2019 Premier Division champions Dundalk are represented in both categories, with two players and their manager, Vinny Perth, all in the running for Personality of the Year. 

Shamrock Rovers FAI Cup-winning manager Stephen Bradley and star striker Jack Byrne also got the nod, while Bohemians boss Keith Long makes up the six-person shortlist.

Perth — PFAI Manager of the Year — took the Lilywhites’ reins from now-Ireland U21 manager Stephen Kenny, and steered the side to a title defence, while Bradley ended Rovers’ 32-year wait for the FAI Cup.

Dundalk duo Seán Gannon and Chris Shields have been honoured for their exploits with the Oriel Park outfit, as has Ireland international Byrne for his efforts with the Hoops.

Gannon and Byrne were both nominated for PFAI Player of the Year, with the latter winning.

Long, then, is acknowledged after guiding the Gypsies to a third-place finish, meaning European football will return to Dalymount Park for the first time since 2013.

It’s the same three clubs pitted against each other for the Goalkeeper of the Year award, with Rovers’ Alan Mannus, Dundalk’s Gary Rogers, and Bohs’ James Talbot nominated.

The Lilywhites’ number one had a season to remember, domestically and in Europe, while the Hoops netmimder was the hero in the FAI Cup final penalty shootout. 

22-year-old Talbot also had an excellent year, and was recognised with an Ireland call-up from Mick McCarthy.

SSE Airtricity -SWAI Goalkeeper of the Year Nominees

Both awards will be handed out at a banquet in Dublin’s Clayton Burlington Hotel on Friday, 10 January 2020, for what will be the 60th annual SWAI showpiece.

Below is the list of nominees for each category, with blurbs courtesy of the SWAI.

Personality of the Year

Stephen Bradley (Shamrock Rovers): Ended the Hoops’ 32-year famine in the FAI Cup to secure the first piece of silverware of his reign, having finished runners up in the league and negotiated one round of Europa League qualifying.

Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers): Forced his way into the senior Republic of Ireland squad on the back of exciting and effective performances. As well as contributing goals which caught the eye, the Rovers playmaker was also named PFA Ireland player of the year.

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Sean Gannon (Dundalk): The right-back was once again one of the best performers week in week out. Gannon is now well on course to become the most decorated League of Ireland player of all time and his importance to the Lilywhites’ cause was evident with 33 starts in 36 league games.

Keith Long (Bohemians): In his fifth season in charge at Dalymount Park, Long once again rejuvenated a Bohemians side that finished in third place, ensuring qualification to the Europa League qualifiers for the first time since 2013.

Vinny Perth (Dundalk): Stepped up to the top job following Stephen Kenny’s departure and ensured Dundalk continued their dominance of the Premier Division. Recognised by the PFAI with their manager of the year gong, Perth ensured the Oriel Park faithful tasted success in the same style they’ve been accustomed to.

Chris Shields (Dundalk): Reached a milestone 300th competitive appearance for Dundalk as he continued to lead by example in the centre of the pitch. Dundalk once again set the standard in the Premier Division with the Dubliner a consistent force driving the champions to retain their crown. 

Goalkeeper of the year

Alan Mannus (Shamrock Rovers): The hero of the FAI Cup final with his saves in the shootout, the former Northern Ireland international returned to the Hoops for a second spell and straight away helped to stabilise the defence. Helped Rovers to the best home defensive record in the top flight with just seven goals conceded.

Gary Rogers (Dundalk): Now holds the record for European appearances for a League of Ireland player (45) and continued to raise the bar with the most clean sheets (27) in all competitions during a single season, as well as equalling Alan O’Neill’s league record of 23 shutouts stretching back to 1991.

James Talbot (Bohemians): Considered quitting the game after returning home from Sunderland to play Gaelic football. Talbot signed as understudy to Shane Supple but when he was forced to retire the 22-year-old stepped up and his displays led to a call up to the senior Ireland squad. Marshalled a defence which helped secure European football.

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