Liam Buckley named 2013 Airtricity/SWAI Personality of the Year
Airtricity/SWAI Goalkeeper of the Year is Brendan Clarke
Airtricity League Premier Division champions St Patrick’s Athletic provided the two main award winners at the 2013 Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland (SWAI) Annual Banquet.
The prestigious awards, which include the overall accolade of Personality of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year, were presented at the function in Dublin’s Conrad Hotel on Friday 10 January.
St Patrick’s Athletic manager Liam Buckley scooped the Personality of the Year award after his successful title-winning campaign, while St Pat’s Brendan Clarke was named Goalkeeper of the Year.
Former Republic of Ireland international and League icon Tommy McConville was the recipient of the Airtricity/SWAI Special Merit Award for his outstanding service to Irish football.
In winning the Personality of the Year, Buckley saw off stiff competition from five other candidates, who were nominated by the SWAI members. Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny and former Athlone Town manager Roddy Collins were in the running alongside Dundalk midfielder Richie Towell and St Patrick’s Athletic duo Killian Brennan and Anthony Flood.
However, it was Buckley who topped the voting for the SWAI’s main award, which has been going since 1961, due to his fantastic season in charge of St Pat’s, who ended a 14-year wait to lift the League trophy.
Now in his second spell with the Saints, Buckley enjoyed a fantastic year in 2012 but was determined to improve on that last season and his team delivered in style – winning the title for the second time under the Dubliner’s watch.
It was a good year for St Pat’s as Clarke was also honoured as he collected the Goalkeeper of the Year award to fend off competition from Dundalk’s Peter Cherrie and Sligo Rovers’ Gary Rogers.
A lifelong Saints supporter, Clarke wins the award for the first time and becomes the ninth different player to win the award, which was first presented following the 2002/03 season.
Speaking at the presentation of the award, Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of Airtricity said:
‘On behalf of Airtricty, I’d like to extend our congratulations to our two very worthy winners from Inchicore, Liam Buckley and Brendan Clarke, and also to our superb selection of nominees for tonight’s awards. The past season has been a wonderful spectacle.
‘It’s fitting that the Personality of the Year award should go to Liam Buckley, whose achievement in guiding St Pat’s to their first League title since 1999 is made all the more special when you consider his 1996 League title success as a player with the same club.
‘This is Airtricity’s fourth year as sponsors of the Personality of the Year awards. These awards allow us to honour the remarkable players and personalities whose flair, skill and gamesmanship have contributed to the overall passion that defines our domestic league.
‘I’d also like to extend our thanks to everyone in our Airtricity League clubs – players, coaches, fans, administrators, and volunteers – all of whom contribute their time, energy and drive towards the development of Irish football.’
*Image courtesy of Sportsfile