Dublin’s McCaffrey and Tipperary’s Maher win GAA writers’ awards

Honours for Kernan and Griffin, managers of Armagh and Wexford All-Ireland winning teams

The Gaelic Writers Association awards, sponsored by Sky Sports, were presented at the association's annual dinner on Friday night, with Dublin footballer Jack McCaffrey and Tipperary hurler Brendan Maher being named personality of year in their respective games.

Five-time All-Ireland medallist McCaffrey is one of football’s most exciting talents, winning Man of the Match citations in successive All-Ireland finals as Dublin made history with a five-in-a-row.

He has already been Footballer of the Year in 2015, a prize for which he is short-listed for the third time this year.

Like McCaffrey, Maher – former Young Hurler of the Year – had to overcome a cruciate injury to rejoin his team in the quest for his third All-Ireland this year. He had an exceptional season in the Tipperary defence and was the county’s go-to man-marker.


Armagh and Wexford were honoured in the Hall of Fame categories as two managers of memorable All-Ireland winning teams Joe Kernan and Liam Griffin were honoured.

Both remained involved in the GAA after stepping down in Armagh and Wexford respectively – Kernan managing the Ireland International Rules team in 2015 and 2017, whereas Griffin has been involved in an advisory capacity with his own county as well as in GAA administration. More recently he has been active in the new Club Players Association.


Martin Breheny was the winner of the Lifetime Achievement award. From Kilkerrin, Co Galway, his career began with the Tuam Herald, and continued with the Irish Press and Sunday Press, the Title and Irish Independent. He has been one of the country's best known sports journalists in a 40-year career spanning Olympics, boxing and Gaelic games.

The PRO of the year was awarded to Leitrim's Declan Bohan, the principal in Bornacoola National School and a former Leitrim Guardian Personality of the Year. He is currently on the GAA's Central Hearings Committee.

His citation reads: "Bohan's co-operation and professionalism in dealing with the media sets him apart and was apparent again in Leitrim's run to this year's Division Four football final, and the county's Lory Meagher Cup hurling win."

* Brendan Maher's Tipperary team-mate from the 2016 All-Ireland win, James Barry, has retired from intercounty hurling, the second defender from the county to do so this week following Donagh Maher.

Barry (29) won a second All-Ireland medal this year but didn’t play in the final. He is a versatile defender but probably sacrificed his best position in the half backs to solve a problem at full-back where he won an All-Star in 2016.

His is an extraordinarily successful career, earning national medals at schools with Thurles CBS, Fitzgibbon with UCC, minor and under-21 with Tipperary, before adding senior.

Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy said: "James Barry has been a consistently high performer ever since he first pulled on the Tipperary jersey, and was a key player on many teams. A player of tremendous ability, James excelled in all he did and showed great leadership within the panel."

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times