On Sunday, 19-year-old starlet Leanne Kiernan was named as the Ireland Women’s Senior Player of the Year for the first time, following a stellar season in 2018.
The West Ham United striker has notched five goals this season and registered three assists in all competitions, despite being ruled out with a hamstring injury since December. Kiernan also almost fired the Republic of Ireland to World Cup qualification for the first time, after scoring three goals. Unfortunately the team narrowly missed out on a place at the finals in France, this summer.
The teenage superstar has endured a meteoric rise in the sport and is widely regarded as Irish football’s brightest prospect. Since her debut for Shelbourne FC, Kiernan has constantly seen scouts flock to watch her bag goals and in the Women’s National League.
At 15, the Cavan-born forward joined Shelbourne FC, combining her football with her schoolwork. Not too long after, she was capped by Ireland at both U17 and U19 level, scoring an impressive nine goals in ten competitive internationals.
Kiernan made her senior debut for the National side against Wales in Newport in August 2016 before going on to help Shelbourne FC win the Women’s National League title. Kiernan famously bagged a hat-trick in the FAI Cup that year to secure more silverware.
Her impressive performances and unique style of play continued to earn her rave reviews. Born in Bailieborough, Kiernan is comfortable with both feet and is an exceptional dribbler. Kiernan often likes to cut in from the inside channels and her blistering pace combined with world-class technique makes her a nightmare to defend against. For someone so young and with their whole career still ahead of them, it is frightening to think imagine just how good she can get.
Her extraordinary performances at Shelbourne FC, were she led the 2018 National League goalscoring charts, earned the teenage-sensation a move to London side, West Ham United. On the same day where she was awarded the FAI Ireland Women’s Senior Player of the Year, Kiernan helped guide West Ham to a 1-0 win against Aston Villa in the FA Cup quarter finals.
As a result Kiernan was unable to claim her award in person her accolade by West Ham United Head Coach Matt Beard.
Speaking after her award, Kiernan said;
“It’s an absolute privilege to win this award.”
“This is a huge highlight in my career. I can’t put into words how emotional I am to have received this. It is a real honour; not just for me, but for my family too.
“I would also like to thank all of my coaches who have helped me along the way, and, last but not least, my teammates. If it wasn’t for them, I definitely wouldn’t have this won this award.
29th ‘Three’ FAI International Awards Winners
Senior Women’s International
Football For All
Nathalie O’Brien (Irish Women’s Deaf Futsal)
Hall of Fame
Richard Dunne / Emma Byrne