All-Ireland Champions Reign Supreme as Niamh Kilkenny & Vicky Wall Honoured at Gaelic Writers Association Awards
All-Ireland Champions Niall Morgan (Tyrone), Niamh Kilkenny (Galway), Seán Finn (Limerick) and Vikki Wall (Meath) have been named the Football, Camogie, Hurling and Ladies’ Football Personalities of the Year at Friday’s Gaelic Writers’ Association Awards following a season of impressive displays for their counties throughout last season’s All-Ireland Championships.
The Awards, this year supported by Wilson Hartnell, also saw four new inductees into the Hall of Fame, whilst Kerry’s Leona Twiss claimed the PRO of the Year Award and veteran Mayo News’ columnist, Sean Rice was recognised with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Gaelic Writers’ Association Awards, supported by Wilson Hartnell who are celebrating their 50th year in business, recognised the superb contributions by players, media, and officials to Gaelic Games in what was another Championship season that will live long in the memory, as well as honoring the achievements of past players in all four codes.
Following a series of outstanding performances for the 2021 All-Ireland Football Champions Tyrone, Niall Morgan has been named as the Gaelic Writers’ Association Football Personality of the Year. An integral part of how Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher’s men play, Morgan was not just a constant between the sticks but also contributed crucial scores from long-range throughout the campaign.
In Ladies Football, Dunboyne native and Meath star Vikki Wall is named Ladies Football Personality for the Year after a season in which the Royal County overcame five-in-a-row chasing Dublin for the All-Ireland title. Wall’s swashbuckling style and barnstorming runs were a thorn in opponents’ sides throughout the season and also saw her named Player of the Match in the showpiece in Croke Park.
In hurling, Limerick’s relentless corner-back Seán Finn is deservedly named as the Gaelic Writers’ Association Hurling Personality of the Year. Finn, who epitomizes the modern-day defender, was Mr Reliable throughout the provincial and All-Ireland campaigns as the Treaty County swept all before them on their way to claiming a third All-Ireland in four years. A tough man-marker and comfortable in possession, it’s no surprise that Limerick’s rise has coincided with that of the man from Bruff.
Galway stalwart Niamh Kilkenny is named as Camogie Personality of the Year after a season for the ages which saw the Padraig Pearses woman claim a second All-Ireland title in three seasons. A key driving force for the Tribeswomen, Kilkenny delivered a series of top-class displays during Galway’s journey to Croker and was central as they got the better of a spirited Cork team by three points in the final. In Galway’s engine room again this season, few would bet against another season of silverware for the Women from the West with Kilkenny involved.
Commenting on the Awards, Chairman of the Gaelic Writers’ Association Karl O’Kane said: “The Gaelic Writers’ Association would like to congratulate the sponsors of our annual awards night, Wilson Hartnell on their 50th year in business – a significant landmark and further evidence of the gold standard they continue to set in the Public Relations arena. It is the players past and present, their dedication skill and exploits on the field of play, that enable us to do our jobs as we attempt to bring further colour and life to the games. We are delighted to honour players from across the four codes and to recognise the contributions of our PRO of the Year, Leona Twiss and Lifetime Achievement award winner, Sean Rice.”
Sarah O’Connor, Head of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship at Wilson Hartnell, said: “All of us at Wilson Hartnell are delighted to be supporting the Gaelic Writers’ Association Awards. As writers they deploy their talent to transfer the magic of Gaelic Games from the field of play to the written word whilst unearthing and telling the stories of the players who inspire us all. Yet more than this, the Gaelic Writers’ Association are also a true partner to us in Wilson Hartnell. Never was this more apparent than in the last two difficult years when all of the Gaelic Writers were so supportive in adapting to the ever-evolving pandemic induced ways of working for which, we are so grateful. Wilson Hartnell is entering into its 50th year of business, a foundation stone of which is our strong working relationship with the Gaelic Writers’ Association. We are particularly pleased, as long-time champions of female sport, to be supporting the awards this year, when for the first time ever, camogie and ladies Gaelic footballers are being honoured. We would like to congratulate Vicki, Niamh, Margaret and Áine and all tonight’s awardees and thank them for the immense contribution they make to the games we love.”
Also recognised on the night for their unwavering commitment and dedication to the GAA were Wexford’s Margaret O’Leary Leacy and Aine Wall of Waterford as they became the latest inductees into the Gaelic Writers’ Association Hall of Fame. O’Leary-Leacy is rewarded for more than fifty years of dedication to the promotion of Camogie, both in Wexford and at a national level. A remarkable member of the Camogie community, Margaret’s loyalty to the sport affirms her place in Wexford camogie’s history and the Gaelic Writer’s Associaton Hall of Fame. The achievements of Waterford legend Áine Wall, an eight-time All-Star, were also celebrated on the night. A winner of five All-Ireland Senior medals with the Déise, and ten All-Ireland club titles with her home club Ballymacarbry, Wall’s induction to the Gaelic Writers’ Association Hall of Fame recognises her legacy as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
Len Gaynor and Brian McEniff of Donegal, inductees into the Gaelic Writers’ Association Hall of Fame in Hurling and Football respectively, were also honoured for their contributions to our national games. Gaynor, a three-time All-Ireland Senior medalist, served as manager of both the Clare and Tipperary hurling teams, devoting himself to the development of hurling in Munster after a glittering playing career with the Premier County and club Kilruane MacDonaghs. Revolutionary coach Brian McEniff’s achievements in Gaelic Football were also celebrated on the night. The man from Donegal, who led his beloved county to the Sam Maguire in 1992, has often been seen as the man who changed the game of Gaelic Football. McEniff has also played an instrumental role in various coaching set-ups across the country, and with five Ulster titles, eight club titles as well as an All-Ireland title as a coach, is a just inductee to the Gaelic Writer’s Association Hall of Fame.
Kerry GAA PRO Leona Twiss was awarded with the Public Relations Officer of the Year Award following another season of outstanding work leading communications for the Kingdom. Also recognised on the night was veteran Mayo journalist Sean Rice, honoured for his contribution to the Mayo News newspaper and years of diligent and uncompromising reporting of GAA affairs in Mayo going as far back as the 1950s.
The full list of winners from the Gaelic Writers’ Association Awards, this year supported by Wilson Hartnell, are below:
- Football Personality of the Year – Niall Morgan (Tyrone)
- Ladies Football Personality of the Year – Vikki Wall (Meath)
- Hurling Personality of the Year – Sean Finn (Limerick)
- Camogie Personality of the Year – Niamh Kilkenny (Galway)
- Football Hall of Fame – Brian McEniff (Donegal)
- Ladies Football Hall of Fame – Aine Wall (Waterford)
- Hurling Hall of Fame – Len Gaynor (Tipperary)
- Camogie Hall of Fame – Margaret O’Leary-Leacy (Wexford)
- PRO of the Year – Leona Twiss (Kerry)
- Lifetime Achievement Award – Sean Rice (Mayo News)