Player of the Year award – the nominees

Okay, it’s time for the fourth annual Mayo GAA Blog Player of the Year award. Cillian O’Connor was voted the inaugural winner of the award here on the site in 2014, Diarmuid kept it in the family the year after and then Lee Keegan won it last year on the way to claiming the coveted GAA/GPA Footballer of the Year award.

As usual, I’ve endeavoured to take emotion out of the equation in coming up with the shortlist, which this year contains six nominees. As I’ve done in previous years, I’ve let the data do the talking, mining the votes cast in the various Man of the Match polls for NFL and championship games – seventeen matches in all – and then adding weights to the raw numbers, to ensure that big performances in the more important matches later in the summer get due reward in the overall numbers.

Regardless of how I twiddled with the weights, six players stood out from the rest. Two of them exchanged places – fifth and sixth – depending on the weights used so, rather than cut the shortlist to five (my original intention), I’ve gone with a round half-dozen on this occasion.

So, the six nominees – in alphabetical order – for this year’s Mayo GAA Blog Player of the Year award are set out in the poll below. Voting is now open and I’ll announce the winner in due course. Congrats to all those shortlisted and the best of luck in the vote.

Who was our 2017 Player of the Year?

  • Andy Moran (61%, 812 Votes)
  • Colm Boyle (14%, 187 Votes)
  • Aidan O'Shea (11%, 141 Votes)
  • Keith Higgins (7%, 89 Votes)
  • Chris Barrett (6%, 78 Votes)
  • Lee Keegan (2%, 23 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,330

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43 thoughts on “Player of the Year award – the nominees

  1. The only slightly worrying thing is that it’s all older players made this list. Fair play to them for keeping going, particularly Chris Barrett, who wouldn’t have been on most people’s teamsheets at the start of the year. If we are to go one step further next year, we’ll need to see younger faces on this list in my opinion. Not just making the team but really stepping up.

  2. Was Aidan for me without him we’d be playing division 2 football next year wouldn’t have beaten Derry ( afterwards we heard what happened in his personal life ) for me he has been immense since that Derry match! absolutely superb in the final hope his form continues next year captain material also !

  3. Slightly surprised at that myself, Done Deal, not least given that he was voted our Player of the League this year. As I said in the post, though, it was all down to the numbers culled from the MOTM votes cast over the course of the year, weighted to take account of the relative importance of the games played. On that basis, he didn’t make it onto the shortlist.

  4. Me too AnnM. Definitely carried us in the early part of the year. Will remember the game against Donegal when he went into full back near the end. He won everything and lost nothing. People tend to judge big men with different yardsticks. Look at some of his stats also. I thought one of the best performances by Mayo was in Tralee when everything was primed for a home win. Andy had some performance that evening. Heinekin never tasted nicer than the 5 pints I had in Tralee that night. Met one of Jack Savage’s friends. Later discovered Jack Savage’s mother only lives a few miles away from us in Mayo.

  5. Player of the year to me is most consistent throughout the year … Andy clear favourite but gave my vote to Boyle but maybe that’s the old defender coming out in me ..Agree that Clarke deserved to be voted for .. Sorry WJ

  6. Willie Joe , you are truly amazing how you keep us all enthralled with all things Mayo Football. I am so grateful for this blog.

    I do think David Clarke should be up here regardless of what the data show. He won multiple man of the matches in the league, was flawless all year and is a nominee for player of the year.

    Whilst examine the methodology could I plead for him to be included . He is also one of the nicest people on the planet .

    Finally I think it’s easy to get caught up in the Andy euphoria . I woke up this morning and all day he has been on my mind. Incredible man and incredible footballer . ( maybe this is sharing more than I should but I wear my Mayo jersey sometimes to bed and I call it my Andy Moran shirt – my wife says I wear it cause when I do I always believe I’ll score )

    Sorry about that but I think we all should think about this player of the year . Andy has been amazing but without Aidan O Shea neither Andy or this team would have gone so far this year .

    Aidan O Shea , saved our bacon in the league while outplaying Michael Murphy ( when Aido was half fit).

    His performances all year resulted in multiple man of the match awards in league and championship . Although we always expect great things from him , this year he delivered … and then some . He was instrumental in de-fanging Kerry. Asked to forsake his game for the team he willingly did it. Some of his fetching and passing was sublime .
    His approach play – unbelievable .
    Finally his discipline has been exceptional.

    I love all this team but …
    For me Aidan O Shea was both our player of the year and our most improved player. Without him ( and David Clarke ) there would not be the Andy euphoria ( which of course I’m very happy about )

  7. I went with Andy but could just as easily have voted for pretty much any of the players from the list.I thought Chris had the best season of his career.Would certainly mention David best shot stopper in the country and you could not forget Jason he improves every year.There can only be the one winner here hopefully the rest get their much deserved all star awards.pity Lee is going to miss the Australian adventure.

  8. How is Clarke not up here Willie joe ??

    He played every minute of the championship, kept us in games and DEFINETLY kept us in Div 1

  9. I voted for aos. He takes dogs abuse and hits but is cool under pressure of it all. He also intercepted a ball he had no right to that would have beaten Mayo had he not, against Roscommon. That was a turning point for the year I think.
    It could easily have been a vote for Andy too, or even Chris Barrett for those turnovers in the final, there will be training videos in future and Chris’s turnover will be textbook on how to defend and recover possession from an opponent.
    All top drawer players that will win Sam and there medals before long

  10. Happy Birthday to Mayo legend Alan Dillon celebrating his 35th birthday today – we were born the same day. Hope you stay on Dillo to finally lift SAM next year.

  11. I voted for Andy but I mirror the comments of Bill above in that you could make a case for any of the nominees, and for David Clarke as well

  12. 6 outstanding performers this year, plus Clarke. I would also give it to Aido, but in terms of a mvp Keegan is still the stand out player of this generation. Proved in the big games what a player he is, and he’ll prob edge out Boyle or Higgins for an all-star.

  13. Voted for Colm Boyle. Thought he played in 5th gear all year. Its a hard pick. Any of the 6 would be worthy of the vote. Don’t think there would have been any backdoor if Colm had started the Galway match. Mind you not sure where we would have bowed out if we had won Connacht. Don’t think we would have done as well as we ended up doing ? Anyway congrats to all 6 for the levels of performance this year.

  14. Tough choice. Barrett for me, those tackles and turnovers in the final were special to watch. Not many players can do it legally.

  15. Has to be Andy as AOS was not available for all of the league. Big question is whether he’ll get national POY. McCarthy was demolished in the first half of the final last week and really only came into it when AOS tired. Yet he was lionized for his ‘great performance’ on Sunday week and will probably end up getting the gong (as you’ll understand the Dubs must be placated for LK getting it last year – a lot of them were none too happy about that).

  16. Part of me wanted to go for Colm Boyle because of his blockbuster performances and lung bursting runs especially since the quarters but Andy was consistenly immense throughout the championship. If hadn’t needed to go off in the final with the hamstring… who knows?! So many stood up and without the contributions of each of them there would have been no final and no talk of Andy getting player of the year. In the words of that Killers song: “Andy you’re a star”!

  17. Spotlight.. Spot on..2 Mayo players getting that award 2 years in a row would really send Dublin and RTE into a tailspin..

  18. That could be the sad reality Spotlight. However, the award I think is based on players voting so the vast majority would be anti-Dublin (surprise surprise!) and might just plump for Andy Moran. Many felt that something similar happened for Lee Keegan last year although personally I think he was miles ahead of anyone else then without any need for bias.

  19. I voted for Andy.. Hopefully he win’s PotY award.. Surprisingly Tom Parsons, Kevin McLoughlin and David Clarke didn’t make the shortlist… The few days Tom Parsons was unavailable due to injury, we certainly missed him… Tom should win an All Star this year,… With the eclipse of Brian Fenton in both the All Ireland and League Final, surely Tom is the best midfielder in Ireland.. Kevin McLoughlin is probably the most underrated player in Ireland, personally I would like Tom and Kevin to win All Stars seeing as they were surprisingly overlooked previous years, Ditto Chris Barrett… Over all I suppose it suggests that Mayo are a team not dependent on on one or two, ‘Star’s’

  20. I voted for Andy as hes been playing at top level since January but as been said i could have voted for them all as they all had a great year.
    Player of the year has to also go to Andy or again Lee remember Lee won a all Ireland with Westport in March
    Dublin really only had 1 championship game so there really isnt a stand out player for them ….Maybe they deserve squad of the year…

  21. I haven’t the option to vote it appears on my screen as if I have already voted for Aidan dark black print on his name but I didn’t vote and this has happened at least twice during the year on motm polls.

  22. I dont understand why Boyle isnt shorttlisted for player of the year he was better than james Mcarthy this year for def who agrees

  23. Great players all. Lucky to have them. For me it the big man from Breaffy..brilliant. Such a warrior. The abuse and attention he gets on the field and always holds his discipline.

  24. Andy for me he was excellent aidan very close behind i agree with last comments he gets awful lot of stick. rte are very pro dub it is that a bit unfair

  25. It was a genuinely tough choice but In the end I voted for Aidan just about ahead of Andy what tipped the scales for me was the way Aidan changed the game V Donegal in the league and handed Michael Murphy his ass on a plate

  26. Looking at 15 in All Ireland, all deserve their All Star. However if I had to pick one, Andy is the man, what a year, amazing!

  27. Can’t understand Aidan O Shea at only 10%, regardless of Andy’s many great performances, Aidan was an inspirational player for us all year. From the moment he came off the bench in the league match against Donegal and almost singlehanded turned the game in our favour.

  28. In reality these things are impossible to really decide (there are so many variables) but in the spirit of it I can’t look past O’Shea myself with Clarke a close second

    Recency effect will of course win out in these votes – and to be fair Andy was outstanding in our two biggest games of the year – but O’Shea dragged us through the qualifiers when the team looked jaded, lacking 100% hunger and direction.

    Even with 13 men we’d have beaten galway with a fit AOS on the pitch imo

    Clarke was a colossus all year. But how do you compare a keeper with an out-field player?

    I think Doherty deserves a “most improved” award or something similar.

    For 2018 my main wish is that the O’Connors can get themselves on this shortlist! If they can regain form, we’ll take stopping!

  29. Went with Moran, but couldn’t really decide between him and O’Shea.
    Moran was just electric all year and led by example. He was a constant throughout the league and championship.

    But Aidan deserves the utmost respect for the way he’s handled himself all year. He’s been inspirational.
    It’s been his most consistent year by a long way and he’s dragged us kicking and screaming through some games.
    To think that he’s managed those level of performances with all the shite he has to put up with on and off the pitch (off the pitch in-particular this year – Flynn you “tit”), well it’s remarkable.
    I actually think that he would be short odds for the footballer of the year award (the main one – no offence WJ!) if it wasn’t for the fact that he sacrificed his game for the cause twice against Kerry.

    Special mention to my townie Barrett, his best year ever in the green and red. I’d say his man of the match display in the final would live long in the memory, but I’m desperately trying to forget all about that day.

  30. So difficult to choose one of these guys. All outstanding and truly inspirational young men.
    I did decide on Aiden as without his immense performance in qualifiers dont think we’d have that amazing journey this summer.
    It’s often been said here ye owe us nothing.
    Other way around we owe ye so much more.
    Thank you all.

  31. I voted for Keith, as I thought his performances in the earlier rounds of the back door were out of this world – he seems to be getting faster! I don’t know why his solo goal vs Roscommon isn’t being shown more on the highlight reels.

    But really, Aido deserves some kind of award for his selfless attitude and incredible restraint all year, despite being battered, bruised and abused by opposition, refs, opposition support and media. In previous years I would have questioned his maturity a little, but this year he has become so mature and so focused and determined, and so willing to keep his head down and do whatever it takes for the team, regardless of how it might affect his “player of the year” chances, that frankly I was just so damn proud of him. Watching him grit his teeth at half-time against Kerry when those scuts were trying to wind him up, and anyone else would have clocked one of them, was one of the great moments of the year for me! Damn I’d like my vote back now!

  32. LimerickMayoExile I also voted for Keith. Why? Because he’s just so damn good. All the time. Consistently solid in defence and a joy to watch as he heads off on a weaving run up the field. But I also wanted to vote for Aidan who was immense for Mayo this year. And what about Boyle. And Clarke. Parsons, Cillian, Jason, Donie, Lee. Did I mention Andy Moran. What about Kevin McL. Barrett. I will not disagree with whatever result the poll gives. Heroes all. Best of luck to all in Club matches this weekend

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