Joey O’Brien of Shamrock Rovers has been named SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland Player of the Month for October/November.
The vastly-experienced defender was immense for the Hoops in the final weeks of the season – scoring against UCD and excelling at the Aviva Stadium as Stephen Bradley’s side ended the club’s 32-year wait to lift the FAI Cup.
A leader both on and off the pitch, ex-Ireland international O’Brien has been a calming presence in the Rovers backline and even played with a dislocated shoulder at one stage this season.
“It’s been a great few weeks,” the lifelong Rovers fan said. “Winning the FAI Cup was a nice way to end the season.
“When I came back to Ireland, the only thing I wanted to do was play for Shamrock Rovers. I spoke to the manager and Stephen McPhail and we talked about winning silverware with the club.
“Luckily, we’ve been able to do that. I had loads of family members at the game who are Shamrock Rovers fans and you could see just how much it meant to them.”
33-year-old O’Brien picked up more votes than his Rovers team-mate Roberto Lopes, who was runner-up, and third-placed Michael Duffy of Dundalk, to claim the award.
Although he is on a well-deserved break now the season has ended, the former West Ham and Bolton Wanderers player has set his sights on wrestling the Premier Division title from Dundalk in 2020.
“I’m already looking forward to getting back,” O’Brien added. “The main aim will be closing that gap on Dundalk, so hopefully we can get off to a good start next season.
“The manager will want to bring in a couple of players to add competition and a bit of freshness that you need in order for us to kick on to the next level.”