Thursday, May 25, 2023

By Pat Costello

KILDARE’S performances in winning the EirGrid All Ireland U20 title in Kingspan Breffni two weeks ago have been rewarded with the selection of James McGrath as U20 Player of the Tear. The Athy man is one of seven Kildare players to receive EirGrid U20 Football All Star Awards.

Kildare’s James McGrath is the EirGrid U20 Football Player of the Year Photo: Sean Brilly

EirGrid announced the U20 Player of the Year and the top 20 Under 20 players from this year’s thrilling EirGrid GAA Football U20 Championship on Wednesday afternoon. The worthy recipients of the awards were selected in conjunction with the Gaelic Writers Association.

Kildare defender James McGrath has been named EirGrid U20 Player of the Year. The Athy man, part of the U20 Kildare team who narrowly lost last year’s final, marshalled Kildare’s defence helping the Lilywhites win their second EirGrid U20 title in five years after a hard-fought victory over a spirited Sligo side at Breffni Park.

Recognising the strength, depth, and skill of Kildare’s side they are rewarded with seven players making the EirGrid 20 Under 20 list which, as well as McGrath, includes Cormac Barker (Kilcullen), Harry O’Neill (Clane), Ryan Burke (Caragh), Shane Farrell (Kilcock), Callum Bolton (Sarsfields), and Colm Dalton (Sallins).

A few other Kildare players could consider themselves unlucky not to have been recognised for their performances.

Competition runner-up Sligo have five players included on this year’s list with Connacht Player of the Province and Sligo captain Canice Mulligan joining Daire O’Boyle, Dylan Walsh, Rossa Sloyan, and Luke Marren. Sligo Bainisteoir Paul Henry’s men have plenty to be proud of this season having backed up last year’s historic Connacht Championship win and achieving a first-ever championship U20 win over Kerry in the semi-final.

Ulster champions Down, who were beaten by a last-gasp point in a pulsating semi-final clash against U20 Champions Kildare, have three players selected on this year’s list which includes the Ulster U20 Player of the Province Oisin Savage, Odhran Murdock, and Patrick McCarthy.

Munster champions Kerry have two players included on the year’s list including U20 Munster Player of the Province William Shine, and Cillian Burke.

The remaining three places on this year’s list go to Cillian Ó’Curraoin of Galway, Theo Clancy of Dublin and Brian McNamara of Clare.

Speaking about the partnership EirGrid Chief Executive Mark Foley said: “On behalf of everyone at EirGrid, I would like to congratulate all the players named in the EirGrid 20 Under 20 list today. The competition continues to transform the possibilities for the next generation of footballers. It is important to recognise the key players that enabled their team, and the competition, to power forward this year. I would like to also congratulate EirGrid U20 Player of the Year James McGrath who helped Kildare achieve All Ireland glory. We look forward to seeing these exciting footballers excel in the senior ranks in the coming years.” 


EirGrid 20 Under 20 For ’23

  1. Cormac Barker- Kildare
  2. Harry O’Neill- Kildare
  3. Ryan Burke- Kildare
  4. James McGrath- Kildare
  5. Dylan Walsh- Sligo
  6. Rossa Sloyan- Sligo
  7. Theo Clancy- Dublin
  8. Patrick McCarthy- Down
  9. Canice Mulligan-Sligo
  10. Odhran Murdock- Down
  11. Brian McNamara- Clare
  12. Shane Farrell- Kildare
  13. Cillian Burke-Kerry
  14. William Shine- Kerry
  15. Daire O’Boyle-Sligo
  16. Luke Marren-Sligo
  17. Callum Bolton- Kildare
  18. Colm Dalton- Kildare
  19. Oisin Savage- Down
  20. Cillian Ó’Curraoin- Galway

County Breakdown:

  • Kildare: 7
  • Sligo: 5
  • Down: 3
  • Kerry: 2
  • Galway: 1
  • Dublin: 1
  • Clare: 1


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