Stephen Bennett named Bord Gáis Energy U21 Player of the Year

The Waterford hurler was also involved in the Score of the Year, as voted for by Off The Ball listeners

It all came down to three players in the running to become Bord Gáis Energy Player of the Year as the winner was announced on Saturday at Dublin’s Mansion House. 

Waterford’s Stephen Bennett took home the award, fending off stiff competition from his teammates Austin Gleeson and Patrick Curran. 

He follows in the footsteps of Richie English from Limerick, who was crowned Player of the Year in 2015. Stephen is the first player from Waterford to win the coveted title since the awards began in 2013.

There was good news too for Meath’s Gavin McGowan, who picked up the Player of the Year award for the ‘B’ championship following his man-of-the-match display in the final against Mayo at Semple Stadium. 

Commenting on the selection of Stephen Bennett and Gavin McGowan for their respective awards, Bord Gáis Energy Sports Ambassador Ger Cunningham said; It’s becoming more and more difficult to single out one individual as Bord Gáis Energy Player of the Year, given the standard of performances we’re seeing. The three nominees for the ‘A’ award all deserved serious consideration and it was a very tough choice.

"However, as a judging panel, we felt that Stephen’s consistent performances, embellished by some absolutely breath-taking moments of skill, meant he just pipped his fellow Waterford men to the post.

"Gavin was Meath’s star performer in the ‘B’ final.  He was one of the key reasons that they overcame Mayo and made up for last year’s final defeat.  He’s thoroughly deserving of the award.”

The 2016 Bord Gáis Energy Team of the Year was revealed on Newstalk’s Off the Ball show across Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and the winning players were presented with their awards at the ceremony.

The Team of the Year and Player of the Year winners were picked by a panel of judges chaired by Bord Gáis Energy Sports Ambassador Ger Cunningham.  The selection committee also included Galway hurler Joe Canning, Waterford great Ken McGrat,h and TG4’s Micheál Ó Domhnaill.

The 2016 Bord Gáis Energy Off the Ball Score of the Year was also revealed on the night. The best scores were voted for by fans of Off the Ball over the last three weeks here on Newstalk.com, and Stephen Bennett’s goal against Galway in the All-Ireland final off a great ‘no-look’ pass from Patrick Curran took the honour. Newstalk’s Óisín Langan presented the award.