The nominees for the 2020 SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland flagship awards have been announced today, Wednesday 9 December.
The Personality of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year awards will be presented at a virtual awards ceremony on Monday, 14 December.
In the Personality of the Year shortlist, the six nominees consist of four managers and two players, all of whom enjoyed memorable seasons in the SSE Airtricity Leagues.
Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley led his side to the Premier Division title, enjoying an unbeaten league season., while Keith Long guided Bohemians to second place in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division and a return to European football.
Ollie Horgan masterminded a fine season for Finn Harps which saw them secure their Premier Division status automatically, and they will be joined in the Premier Division next year by Drogheda United, who won promotion as First Division champions under manager Tim Clancy, who has also been shortlisted for the award.
The shortlist is completed by Shamrock Rovers’ Jack Byrne – who this season became the first League of Ireland player to play a senior competitive Irish international since 1985 – and Dundalk captain Chris Shields, who led Dundalk to the FAI Cup and the Europa League group stages.
Shamrock Rovers and Drogheda are also represented in the Goalkeeper of the Year award, along with Sligo Rovers.
Alan Mannus was an ever-present for Rovers’ unbeaten league season, keeping 13 sheets in 18 games and separately made the crucial save in his side’s epic 13-12 penalty shootout win over Ilves in the Europa League qualifiers.
Ed McGinty and David Odumosu each played every minute of their side’s respective league seasons, with Sligo Rovers’ ‘stopper McGinty earning an Irish U21 call up and Odumosu crucial in helping Drogheda seal the First Division title.
Personality of the Year
Stephen Bradley (Shamrock Rovers) Rovers manager Bradley led his side to a dominant league title victory, finishing 11 points clear of second-placed Bohemians without losing a game. He also returned Shamrock Rovers to the FAI Cup final – where they were beaten after extra time by Dundalk – and through a round of the Europa League, from which they were knocked out by AC Milan.
Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers) Byrne twice won the Player of the Month award in a season that saw him help Shamrock Rovers to the Premier Division title and the FAI Cup final. He was also a regular member of Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland squad, and last month became the first League of Ireland player to appear in a competitive senior Irish international since 1985.
Tim Clancy (Drogheda United) Drogheda United manager Tim Clancy led his side to the First Division title and promotion to the Premier Division, all while working 11pm to 7am shifts five days a week in his day job.
Ollie Horgan (Finn Harps) Horgan again led Finn Harps to safety in the Premier Division, securing their status without the need of a promotion/relegation play-off by finishing in eighth place.
Keith Long (Bohemians) Long continued Bohemians’ fine progress in 2020, finishing second in the Premier Division, fully 11 points clear of third-placed Dundalk. Bohs were also knocked out of Europe in heartbreaking fashion, beaten on penalties away to Hungarian side Fehervar.
Chris Shields (Dundalk) Shields atoned for his disappointment in missing last year’s FAI Cup final by captaining Dundalk to the trophy this year. He also led the Lilywhites back to the Europa League group stages, in which he scored against Rapid Vienna.
Goalkeeper of the year
Alan Mannus (Shamrock Rovers) Mannus was an ever-present in Rovers’ unbeaten league season, keeping 13 clean sheets and conceding just seven goals across 18 games. He also made the crucial save in Rovers’ epic 13-12 penalty shootout win against Ilves of Finland in the Europa League qualifiers.
Ed McGinty (Sligo Rovers) McGinty played every minute of action for Sligo in a season that saw him represent the Republic of Ireland U21s. Sligo recently tied him down to a two-year contract amid other interest for his signature.
David Odumosu (Drogheda United) 19-year-old Odumosu was voted his club’s Young Player of the Year after a debut season in which he played every minute of Drogheda’s successful First Division campaign.