Dundalk’s Richie Towell wins PFAI’s Player of the Year award
Wexford’s Danny Furlong claims First Division award
Richie Towell celebrates Dundalk’s victory in the FAI Cup final over Cork City. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Richie Towell has picked up the main prize at the PFAI end of season awards on Friday night in Dublin with the 24-year-old midfielder named as the organisation’s Player of the Year while Stephen Kenny won the Best Manager award.
Towell beat off competition from team-mates Stephen O’Donnell and Daryl Horgan as well as Mark O’Sullivan of Cork City. But his success is no surprise after a season in which he was the stand-out figure on the field for the champions, scoring 29 goals in all, including the winner in the cup final as the Oriel Park outfit completed the double.
For Towell, who has been attracting significant interest from England, it looks set to be just one of many gongs to be collected over the coming weeks with the Dubliner also the frontrunner for the Soccer Writers’ Personality of the Year award amongst others.
Danny Furlong, whose goals propelled Wexford Youths to promotion, picked up the First Division Player award while Brandon Miele of Shamrock Rovers pipped Ismahil Akinade of Bohemians and Dundalk’s right-back, Sean Gannon, to the Young Player award.
In the wake of Ireland’s qualification for next summer’s European Championships, Wes Hoolahan was voted best Overseas-based Player of the Year, ahead of Republic of Ireland team-mates Robbie Brady and Seamus Coleman.
All of those awards, which are sponsored by EA Sports, were decided by the votes of the association’s members, players in the Airtricity League, while the decision on the manager’s prize was balloted by the managers themselves.
Kenny came out on top after a spectacular season at Dundalk where his team’s superiority was scarcely done justice by their 11-point advantage over Cork City at the end of the campaign
The Cork club pushed the champions harder in the cup final but were ultimately second best again.