The shortlists for the Camogie Players’ Player of the Year have been released, in a collaborative effort between the Camogie Association and the Gaelic Players Association.
Three selections for the members of any intercounty panel of this year’s Championship to vote from across all three grades, the ultimate victors are to be announced at the Camogie All-Stars Awards on the night of November 26th.
The Senior ballot reflects 2021’s finalists and swings toward champions Galway numerically with the Westerners Aoife Donohue and Niamh Kilkenny in the majority, with Hannah Looney of Cork also up for election.
Kilkenny’s Sarah Crowley alongside Antrim duo Maeve Kelly and Roisin McCormick are the aspirants in the Intermediate division, with Aideen Brennan (Wexford), Chloe Cashe (Wexford), Ciara Donnelly (Armagh) completing the pack at the Junior level.
Speaking about the announcement Camogie Association President Hilda Breslin remarked how “it is a wonderful honour to be nominated and recognised by your peers for your outstanding contribution in 2021”, while GPA CEO Tom Parsons was delighted at the continued acknowledgement of the “individual excellence” throughout the sport.
“I want to salute the efforts of every one of the players nominated for an All-Star Award and thank them for their commitment and for the entertainment provided for us all” he says.
“To be recognised for your individual performances within a team environment is undoubtedly an honour for all involved, so I want to extend my congratulations and best wishes to all of the Player of the Year nominees.”
The All-Ireland Champion Tribeswomen took precedent in the All Star team too, collecting 12 of the 36 nominations, but as to why their standouts and The Rebels’ Looney were put forward for this award may have something to do with the following.
While she may have only amassed one point in that faithful clash at the start of September, Donohue was named the player of the match for her effort against Cork.
Her talent not limited to her attacking prowess, the half-forward put a massive shift in both in the final and throughout the championship in what was a physically taxing campaign.
Her score came in stoppage time of the first half, providing Galway with a slight advantage going into the interval and proving a momentum swinger of the finest kind.
Kilkenny clocking two points for Galway may sound an enigma in itself, but that characteristic also applies to this Pádraig Pearse’s flair.
Her slotting of the ball between the posts 40 seconds into the second half is still talked about almost a month later, cracking down and showing the initiative that this was to be Galway’s year.
Midfielder by position but known for popping up when needed all over the ground, the 32 year old along with her teammate Donohue were no shock to have appeared on the nominations sheet.
CONGRATS!!— Official Galway Camogie (@GalwayCamogie96) October 27, 2021
Congrats to Niamh Kilkenny and Aoife Donohue who are after being nominated for the Senior Players Player of the year award!
Senior Players’ Player of the Year Shortlist:
Aoife Donohue (Galway), Niamh Kilkenny (Galway), Hannah Looney (Cork)
Cork's Hannah Looney has made the shortlist for the @OfficialCamogie /GPA's Senior Players’ Player of the Year Award, along with Aoife Donohue (Galway) & Niamh Kilkenny (Galway).— Kieran McCarthy (@KieranMcC_SS) October 27, 2021
The overall winner will be announced on the night of the Camogie All-Stars Awards on November 26th. pic.twitter.com/nhjjO8J8AB
Putting away a brace herself in the All Ireland final, Looney was a major threat to any team Cork came up against in 2021’s Championship.
Galway manager Cathal Murray even added after their trophy lift that they had targeted her savviness after her stellar semi-final performance, citing that they needed to “go toe to toe” with them in order to come away with the win.
The midfielder was a bright shining light amongst the stars of the Munster side’s camogie line up this year but it remains to be seen who comes out triumphant come November 26th.