County champions Killoe Emmet Og nailed down eight positions as the 2014 Longford GAA Team of the Championship, voted for and selected by readers of the â€˜Longford Leaderâ€™, was unveiled during an entertaining gala awards ceremony at the Rustic Inn, Abbeyshrule last Saturday night.
More than 220 patrons gathered for the glittering function to honour the star performers of a memorable GAA season and among the special guests were Leinster GAA Chairperson John Horan, Kilkennyâ€™s Liam McCarthy Cup winning captain Lester Ryan, former Leinster GAA Chairperson Martin Skelly and Team of the Championship sponsors, County Board Chairperson Brendan Gilmore (Gilmore Security) and Longford Leader Editor Sheila Reilly.
It was not surprising that Connolly Cup winners Killoe, who earlier in the day were crowned U-21 â€˜Aâ€™ championship kingpins, dominated the Team of the Year and there was further celebration for them as their towering full back Darragh Bennett was presented with the Senior Player of the Year accolade and Anne Marie Bratten was selected as the Ladies Player of the Year.
Visibly surprised by his triumph, Darragh, while interviewed by MC Benny Oâ€™Brien, admitted that while Killoe were satisfied with their county final success, they were disappointed they didnâ€™t figure more prominently in the provincial series and theyâ€™ll be keen to atone for this in 2015.
Senior championship finalists Mullinalaghta St Columbaâ€™s, Dromard and Clonguish, secured three, two and one positions, respectively, on the Team of the Year, with the side being completed by netminder Garret Higgins from the county intermediate champions Carrickedmond.
Kilkenny captain Lester Ryan presented Longfordâ€™s Lory Meagher Cup winning panel with their medals and he wished them every success in the Nicky Rackard Cup next year, as did Leinster Council Chairperson John Horan. Longfordâ€™s captain Martin Coyle was voted as Hurler of the Year.
Hall of Fame inductee John Fay (Abbeylara) received a rousing standing ovation and his humble acceptance speech struck a chord with all.
The Intermediate Player of the Year was Sean Connollyâ€™s Dessie Reynolds and the Junior award went to Sean Clarke of Longford Slashers.
Gilmore Security/ Longford Leader Team of the Championship
Garret Higgins (Carrickedmond); Cian Farrelly (Killoe Emmet Og), Darragh Bennett (Killoe Emmet Og), Conan Brady (Mullinalaghta St Columbaâ€™s); Shane Mulligan (Mullinalaghta St Columbaâ€™s), Joe McCormack (Killoe Emmet Og), Michael Quinn (Killoe Emmet Og); Ruairi McElligott (Mullinalaghta St Columbaâ€™s), Diarmuid Masterson (Dromard); Denis McGoldrick (Killoe Emmet Og), Paul Barden (Clonguish), Ross McNerney (Dromard); Daniel Mimnagh (Killoe Emmet Og), Sean McCormack (Killoe Emmet Og), Larry Moran (Killoe Emmet Og).
Hall of Fame: John Fay
Ladies Player of the Year: Anne Marie Bratten (Killoe)
Hurler of the Year: Martin Coyle (Wolfe Tones Mostrim)
Senior Footballer of the Year: Darragh Bennett (Killoe Emmet Og)
Intermediate Footballer of the Year: Dessie Reynolds (Sean Connollyâ€™s)
Junior Footballer of the Year: Sean Clarke (Longford Slashers)
See Pages 91 to 93 for more coverage of the Longford GAA Team of the Championship and Player of the Year awards presentation.