Shane Cunningham of Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) and Joey Holden of Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) have been named as the AIB GAA Club Footballer of the Year and the AIB GAA Club Hurler of the Year respectively at a special AIB GAA Club Player Awards ceremony at Croke Park on Friday evening.
The players were recognised following their superb displays for their clubs throughout last season’s AIB GAA All-Ireland Football and Hurling Senior Club Championships.
The Players of the Year received their awards alongside this season’s AIB GAA Club Football and Hurling Teams of the Year, with 30 players recognised for their impressive displays throughout the AIB GAA All-Ireland Football and Hurling Senior Club Championships.
The Football Team of the Year had seven representatives from All-Ireland Club champions, Kilmacud Crokes, with six players from finalists, Watty Grahams Glen, and one player apiece from Connacht champions Moycullen and Munster victors, Kerins O’Rahillys. The Hurling Team of the Year was dominated by Ballyhale Shamrocks with nine players selected, with three players from beaten finalists Dunloy also included as well as three representatives from Munster champions Ballygunner.
AIB GAA Club Footballer of the Year Shane Cunningham of Kilmacud Crokesled his side to their second consecutive AIB GAA All-Ireland Football Senior Club final this year, and brought the coveted Andy Merrigan Cup home to Stillorgan after a pulsating final. Notching two vital points for his club in the final, as well as winning the crucial first half penalty on the day, Cunningham has been on-song for Crokes throughout the season. The hard-working forward’s leadership on and off the field showed
throughout the Leinster and All-Ireland campaigns, while his versatility in the forward line and powerful presence on the ball played a crucial part in his ascent of the Hogan Stand in January.
The AIB GAA Club Hurler of the Year meanwhile was named as Joey Holden of Ballyhale Shamrocks following a series of tremendous performances throughout the 2022/23 season. The surefooted fullback collected his fifth AIB GAA All-Ireland Hurling Senior Club medal this year, adding to an already stellar career with Ballyhale Shamrocks. A physical and incredibly consistent player, Holden has been a standout for the Kilkenny outfit from the full-back line this season. The Shamrocks overcame last
year’s AIB GAA All-Ireland Hurling Club champions, Ballygunner, in the semi-final and Dunloy of Antrim in the final on their road to glory. Holden’s consistently dominant performances, and his influential leadership both on and off the pitch, have been central to the Kilkenny club’s sixth All-Ireland title and Tommy Moore Cup in seven years.
Ballyhale Shamrocks' Joey Holden ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
The AIB GAA Club Player Awards returned once more this year to celebrate the unrivalled achievements of club Gaelic football and hurling players across the country. The event, held on Friday, March 10th at Croke Park, welcomed the country’s top club players to GAA HQ to acknowledge their outstanding achievements throughout the 2022/23 AIB GAA Club Championship season. This year’s FOTY and HOTY recipients demonstrated exceptional leadership and skill throughout #TheToughest
of battles this season, significantly contributing to their team’s success.
Commenting on the Awards, AIB Chief Executive Officer Colin Hunt said: “The AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championships have delivered yet another incredible season of action and excitement. We are delighted to be able to recognise both Shane Cunningham and Joey Holden this evening for the fantastic effort and commitment that they have given to their clubs this season. We would also like to extend our congratulations to all 30 players who have been named across the AIB GAA Club Team of
the Years this week. AIB is honoured to be celebrating our 32nd year backing the GAA Club Championships, and is very proud to be able to honour these inspirational players here tonight following another incredibly unique and memorable season.”
Uachtarán Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, Larry McCarthy stated: “Our congratulations to both Shane Cunningham and Joey Holden on being awarded the AIB GAA Footballer and Hurler of the Year this evening. The AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championships are unique championships, which brings communities to life and gives players an opportunity to represent their community on the national stage. I extend my congratulations to all of the players who have been named on the AIB GAA Club Team of the Year. I sincerely thank AIB for their outstanding support of these competitions for many years and I am looking forward to what next year’s championships will bring.”
Full details of both teams are below:
AIB GAA CLUB FOOTBALL TEAM OF THE YEAR
1. Conor Ferris (Kilmacud Crokes)
2. Michael Warnock (Watty Graham’s Glen)
3. Ryan Dougan (Watty Graham’s Glen)
4. Dan O’Brien (Kilmacud Crokes)
5. Andrew McGowan (Kilmacud Crokes)
6. Rory O’Carroll (Kilmacud Crokes)
7. Ethan Doherty (Watty Graham’s Glen)
8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)
9. Emmett Bradley (Watty Graham’s Glen)
10. Jack Doherty (Watty Graham’s Glen)
11. Shane Cunningham (Kilmacud Crokes)
12. Seán Kelly (Moycullen)
13. Dara Mullin (Kilmacud Crokes)
14. Danny Tallon (Watty Graham’s Glen)
15. Shane Walsh (Kilmacud Crokes)
AIB GAA CLUB FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR
• Shane Cunningham - Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin)
AIB GAA CLUB HURLING TEAM OF THE YEAR
1. Stephen O’Keeffe (Ballygunner)
2. Killian Corcoran (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
3. Joey Holden (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
4. Ryan McGarry (Dunloy)
5. Kevin Molloy (Dunloy)
6. Richie Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
7. Darragh Corcoran (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
8. Conor Sheehan (Ballygunner)
9. Adrian Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
10. Eoin Cody (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
11. TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
12. Pauric Mahony (Ballygunner)
13. Conal Cunning (Dunloy)
14. Colin Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
15. Patrick Fitzgerald (Ballygunner)
AIB GAA CLUB HURLER OF THE YEAR
• Joey Holden - Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny)Tweet