EirGrid, proud sponsor of the U20 All-Ireland Football Championship, today revealed details of the top 20 players of this year’s competition through the ‘EirGrid 20 U20 Awards’ with Jimmy Hyland from Kildare awarded the EirGrid U20 Player of the Year.
These awards, now in their fourth year, are run by EirGrid to recognise the outstanding talent at this age grade. The Gaelic Writers Association selected the top 20 players of the Championship with the EirGrid U20 Player of the Year chosen through a public vote.
This year, the three nominees for the EirGrid U20 Player of the Year were Kildare duo Jimmy Hyland and Aaron Masterson and Mayo’s Ryan O’Donoghue. Fans casted their vote on the official GAA Twitter page. Jimmy Hyland from Kildare took the title, receiving a total of 593 votes.
Kildare made history this year by not only claiming the EirGrid U20 Leinster title, but by capturing the inaugural U20 All-Ireland title. Their efforts have been reflected with six players from this panel selected as recipients of the ‘EirGrid 20 U20 Awards’ (Aaron O’Neil, Mark Dempsey, Mark Barrett, Aaron Masterson, Jimmy Hyland and Brian McLoughlin).
All-Ireland finalists Mayo have four players included (Patrick O’Malley, Paul Lambert, Cathal Horan and Ryan O’Donoghue) with three coming from Ulster champions Derry (Oisin McWilliams, Callum Brown and Ben McCarron). Kerry also have three recipients (Stefan Okunbor, Daniel O’Brien and Diarmuid O’Connor) of the award. Dublin, who reached the Leinster final, are represented by Nathan Doran, while Roscommon’s Cian McKeon, Armagh’s Ross McQuillan and Cork’s Chris Óg Jones have also received an award for their impressive efforts in the provincial Championship.
Speaking on behalf of the GAA, Uachtarán Cumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan said;
"I’d like to congratulate all of the 20 nominees following this year’s EirGrid U20 Football Championship. Kildare were the victors in the All-Ireland Final, but many teams achieved success over the course of the campaign, so I would like to again pay tribute to all management teams and players who took part in the competition.
"2018 was historic as it was the first occasion this competition was played at the U20 age grade. These players from across the country should be proud to be named in this group as their names and achievements will now forever be associated in the history books with this superb competition. Comhghairdeas le gach duine."
Rosemary Steen, Director of External Affairs at EirGrid commented;
“We are delighted to honour the top 20 performers in what was the first Championship at the U20 age grade and congratulations to Kildare GAA’s Jimmy Hyland who has been awarded the EirGrid U20 Player of the Year for 2018. While we were blown away by the character and effort of many team performances this year, it is always nice to be able to recognise the individual feats throughout the campaign.
I have no doubt our award winners will excel at senior level in the coming years
“The talent displayed proves how competitive and exciting this Championship is. Well done to all our winners and thank you for making the EirGrid GAA Football U20 All-Ireland Championship such an outstanding competition.
“I would also like to extend my thanks to the families, coaches, trainers and clubs of all of our winners in helping these players perform to the best of their abilities. I have no doubt our award winners will excel at senior level in the coming years and, on behalf of EirGrid, I wish them every success.”