The annual AIB Provincial Players Awards had a distinct family feel to them when they were presented in Dublin earlier today with two of the seven awards going to club rivals and blood relations Dessie and Frankie Dolan.
Receiving his second consecutive award, Connacht provincial football winner Frankie Dolan was accompanied on stage by younger cousin Dessie, who picked up his first award for his performance in the 2011 AIB GAA Leinster Senior Football Club Championship.
The cousins were joined in the football honours by Colm Cooper who collected the Munster Football award for the second time, having previously picked up the accolade in 2006. First-time recipient Jamie Clarke scooped the Ulster award for his outstanding attacking play which has propelled his club Crossmaglen to a seventh AIB GAA Club Championship final.
The three AIB Provincial Hurling Awards went to Na Piarsaigh’s Shane Dowling, Loughgiel Shamrock’s Joey Scullion, and Cathal Parlon of Coolderry; no doubt a crowning achievement on what has been an historic year for the first-time Leinster Champions and All-Ireland finalists.
Two Coaching and Games Development Awards were presented to Matt Gaffey of Mohill GAA and Tom O’Connor of Ballyheigue in Kerry for their outstanding contribution to the development of the game in their communities.
Speaking at the awards, Billy Finn, AIB Bank said, “We are delighted to honour our seven provincial award winners today, as representatives of the countless other club players out there who contribute so much to the game. They throughly deserve this recognition for they epitomize the commitment and dedication that the modern GAA player has for their club. Their personal performances have contributed in no small way to their club’s success in the AIB GAA Club Championships.
“We in AIB are also delighted to recognise Matt Gaffey and Tom O’Connor, as representatives of the great work done by so many people in clubs around the country, both on the pitch, and in leading the coaching and development of our future players.”
The winners are selected by GAA media around the country, based on players’ performances in the 2011 AIB GAA Provincial Club Championships.