The FAI has released details of nominations for the Ireland International Football Awards – including nominations for International Player of the Year.
The senior award, won by Jonathan Walters last year, is headed (to no great surprise) by Robbie Brady, Seamus Coleman and Jeff Hendrick, all of whom impressed at Euro 2016 and the months after.
Brady made himself an Irish legend in France last year with the late goal against Italy that sealed Ireland’s place in the last sixteen of the competition. He then went on to open the scoring after just two minutes with a penalty against the French hosts and has since become a huge player in Martin O’Neill’s starting eleven.
Coleman, meanwhile, has been handed the honour of becoming Ireland captain to succeed the retired Robbie Keane. The Everton right-back showed exactly what the new-found sense of responsibility has done to his game by dragging the side to three points against Georgia last Autumn with a goal in the second half.
And finally, Hendrick saw his reputation rise at Euro 2016 to the point where Burnley made him their record signing in August (a mantle since taken by Brady). The midfielder is a mainstay of the Irish starting eleven and continues to grow in stature at both club and international level.
Brady and Hendrick have also been nominated for Young Player of the Year award, wherein they are joined by Brighton defender Shane Duffy.
Senior International Player of the Year
Young International Player of the Year
Brady can expect a busy night in Dublin this Sunday (March 19th) as he has also been nominated for Goal of the Year, for that now-famous header against Italy. He will go up against Wes Hoolahan’s half-volley against Sweden in the opening game of the tournament and James McClean’s brilliantly-taken effort against Austria in November.
International Goal of the Year
Robbie Brady v Italy (UEFA EURO 2016)
Wes Hoolahan v Sweden (UEFA EURO 2016)
James McClean v Austria (2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier)
Callum O’Dowda, a regular member of the senior squad, has been nominated for Under-21 Player of the Year. The highly-rated Bristol City midfielder will go up against Everton’s Harry Charsley and Josh Cullen of West Ham for the award.
Former Dundalk duo Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan, now in the Championship with Preston North End, will battle it out with Cork City striker Sean Maguire for the title of SSE Airtricity League Player of the Year. Stephen Kenny’s side will also be handed a Special Merit Award in honour of their historic Europa League run at the tail-end of last season.
The rest of the nominees, for a wide range of women’s, underage and special awards, are as follows:
Under 19 International Player of the Year
Under 19 Women’s International Player of the Year
Under 17 International Player of the Year
Under 17 Women’s International Player of the Year
Under 16 International Player of the Year
Under 16 Women’s International Player of the Year
Under 15 International Player of the Year
Junior International Player of the Year
Intermediate Player of the Year
FAI School’s International Player of the Year
FAI Colleges/Universities International Player of the Year
Football For All International Player of the Year