McCarthy earns FAI senior and young player nominations
Having established himself as a regular in Giovanni Trapattoni’s side over the latter part of the year, James McCarthy’s performances during 2012 have earned him nominations in both the senior and young player categories of the 3 FAI International Football Awards, the winners of which will be announced on February 3rd.
McCarthy is joined in the senior shortlist by Kevin Doyle and Keith Andrews, who was arguably Ireland’s best performer over the course of the team’s disappointing European Championships finals campaign.
Robbie Brady, who has become something of a fixture in the senior squad just a couple of months after his memorable debut against Oman is another contender for the young player award, along with Séamus Coleman. Brady, meanwhile, is nominated in both the under-21 and goal of the year categories.
Ireland have moved up one place in the new Fifa rankings despite not having played in December. With the top 10 unchanged, Ireland have benefited from slippage suffered by a few of the African nations and move up to 41 in the world.
Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson has confirmed Seán St Ledger is making progress in his battle to overcome a hamstring problem, with the manager hinting the defender is closer to a comeback.
“Zak (Whitbread) is on his way back, as is Seán, so, hopefully, we will have more positive news before too long,” he said.
With Trapattoni scheduled to name his squad on Monday, the centre back will miss the friendly game against Poland on February 6th but now looks to be in with a strong chance of being back for the qualifiers against Sweden and Austria.
Dean Saunders, meanwhile, has paid a rather questionable tribute to Doyle who has scored just two goals in his last 16 appearances for Wolves. “I think that Kevin Doyle is one goal away from getting on a roll,” observed the side’s recently-appointed manager before adding: “At the end of the day he gives you seven out of 10 no matter what. That is all I can ask.”
Saunders also revealed that Stephen Hunt would return to training next Monday after a long lay-off during which the Ireland international had a hip operation.
Keith Fahey has returned to Birmingham City after two months away from the club on compassionate leave for what were described as personal and family reasons.
The Dubliner is to be assessed by the club’s medical staff, said manager Lee Clark who has insisted the midfielder does feature in his plans.
FAI International Awards Nominations
Senior player of the year: McCarthy (Wigan Athletic), Andrews (Bolton Wanderers), Doyle (Wolves)
Young player: Brady (Hull City), Coleman (Everton), McCarthy (Wigan Ath)
International Goal: Wilson (Stoke City) v The Faroe Islands, Brady (Hull City) v Oman, Doyle (Wolves) v Kazakhstan
Under-21 player: White (Leeds Utd), Brady (Hull City), Egan (Sunderland)
Under-19 player: Forde (Wolves), O’Sullivan (Blackburn Rovers), McDermott (Sandnes Ulf)
Under-17 player: Long (Reading), Grealish (Aston Villa), O’Reilly (Stoke City)
Under-16 player: Talbot (Home Farm), Casey (St Joseph’s Boys), Ramadan (Ipswich Town)
Senior women’s player: Quinn (Peamount Utd), Grant, Byrne (both Arsenal)
Under-19 player: O’Connell, Shine (both Cork Ladies), Hansberry (Castlebar Celtic)
Under-17 player: Caserly (Castlebar Celtic), Connolly (College Corinthians), Dwyer (Wexford Ladies)
Men’s Junior player: Walsh (Carrick Utd), Higgins (St Michael’s FC), Murphy (Avondale Utd); Football for All: Keating (Irish Deaf team), Morrisey (Football for All Schools), Byrne (Irish Homeless World Cup team)
School’s player: Maguire (CBS Kilkenny), Lenihan (PBC Cork), Sweeney (Colaiste Raithin, Bray).