Robbie rewarded for goals with further FAI honours
Irish captain named senior player of year with McCarthy and Murray among other winners
Robbie Keane’s departure to America a couple of years ago raised questions about his continued involvement with the national team. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane has again been named the FAI’s senior International Player of The Year, with the 33-year-old’s recognition somewhat inevitable after a year in which he scored eight times in nine appearances for his country
Keane’s departure to America a couple of years ago had raised questions about his continued involvement with the national team, but while he misses Wednesday night’s friendly against Serbia due to club commitments, he underlined over the last year his commitment to the cause, with the Dubliner overcoming serious enough logistical challenges in order to make himself available time after time.
The striker’s actual role in some games was such that scoring opportunities were limited, but the player’s return over the course of the year was remarkable, even if it was bolstered considerably by the five goals he bagged in just two games – against Georgia and the Faroe Islands – at the start of the summer.
It’s not certain whether he will be involved in the corresponding fixtures this year, but as he accepted the award from his club manager Bruce Arena in LA this week, Keane made it fairly clear that he intends to be around for the Euro 2016 campaign.
“I’d like to say thank you very much for the people who voted for me [a panel of journalists] ,” he said. “It’s always a great honour and privilege to receive awards, especially an award like this. I’ve been playing for a long time for my country and to receive a big award like this, I’m absolutely delighted . . .
“I’m really looking forward the 2014 campaign. I know 2013 was a bit disappointing but I feel that with the group that we have we certainly have a great chance and I certainly look forward to being a part of that.”
Arena praised Keane’s ability and dedication to Ireland: “Robbie’s been a tireless worker at the LA Galaxy. As we know he’s an outstanding footballer and he has a great passion and devotion for playing for the Republic of Ireland.”
James McCarthy was voted best young player after a year in which he firmly established himself as a first choice in central midfield and won general acclaim in England for the way he hit the ground running at Everton, following his early season move from Wigan.
The goal of the year, meanwhile, was Shane Long’s wonderful looping header off Séamus Coleman’s cross at Wembley last May.