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League Of Ireland : Team Of The Year 2013

clarke

When anyone asks you to select your Team of the Year, Player of the Year, or even Match of the Year, you start to reflect on the season as a whole. Try think of games that stood out, players that did the extraordinary and managers that pulled off the impossible. Here’s my attempt at doing just that.

Team that stood out? Obviously, the Champions of Ireland – St.Patrick’s Athletic. Their togetherness, ability and strength to turn games on their head proved worthy and eventually led to them coming out with the big prize for the first time in 14 years.

Some Pats players stood out throughout the course of the season for various reasons, none more than Brendan Clarke. Either to win the league or to stay in the division you need a top goalkeeper. That’s your priority. 21 clean sheets for Clarke proved vital. That’s why he gets my number one spot in my Team of the Year.

#1Goalkeeper – Brendan Clarke – St.Patrick’s Athletic  – Stood out with 21 clean sheets.

I’m trying not to pick and choose from St.Patrick’s Athletic, but, find me a better right back than Ger O’Brien and I’ll pay you millions. Ger’s performances stood out for me anytime I was watching him play for Pats. That’s him straight into my Team of the Year, of course, down to little arguments.

#2Right Back – Ger O’Brien – St.Patrick’s Athletic – Stood out with exceptional performances.

The first non-St.Pats man to get into my Team of the Year is a defender who managed to finish second in this year’s league campaign with his club, Dundalk. His performances stood out among the rest of the defenders who play their football in the Airtricity League. Andy Boyle got this spot for me.

#3 – Centre Back – Andy Boyle – Dundalk FC – More good performances than bad.

Now, Shamrock Rovers didn’t have the best of seasons however there was one defender who stood out among the rest alike Andy Boyle above. He signed from Dundalk last season and is easily one of Rovers’ best defenders. Therefore, Derek Foran deserves a place in my Team of the Year.

#4 – Centre Back – Derek Foran – Shamrock Rovers FC – Stood out among the rest throughout the season.

There are very few good left backs within this league. However, Ian Bermingham stands out as one of the best, if not, the best left back in the Airtricity League Premier Division. You won’t be surprised to see his inclusion in my Team of the Year.

#5 – Left Back – Ian Bermingham – St.Patrick’s Athletic – One of the best left backs in the League of Ireland.

Hard choice of players for the right midfield position, but, there was one player who stood out among the rest. Signing from Shamrock Rovers last season, Killian Brennan, knew he had a tough season ahead of him to prove his worth to the Pats faithful. He did just that, in fact, he did more. Brennan stood out as one of the lead roles in winning Pats the league title. He had a fantastic season.

#6 – Right Midfield – Killian Brennan – St.Patrick’s Athletic – Best right midfielder there is.

Drogheda United had a tough season this year but made up for their poor league form within the cup competitions, reaching several finals. They also face Sligo Rovers on Sunday in the FAI Ford Cup final of 2013. In my personal opinion, former UCD man Paul O’Conor helped get them there. O’Conor’s performances stood out and he was undoubtedly one of the best players involved in Mick Cooke’s panel this year and that’s why I’ve included him in my side.

#7 – Centre Midfield – Paul O’Conor – Drogheda United – Excellent performances throughout the campaign.

Now, another midfielder who is worth his weight in gold is another St.Pats man. His goal against Sligo Rovers was one of the best, if not the best, I have ever seen throughout the League of Ireland and he just proved his spot within my side. Greg Bolger was a stand out player for Liam Buckley’s men and his position here is fully deserved.

#8 – Centre Midfield – Greg Bolger – St.Patrick’s Athletic – Brilliant performances all year long.

It’s hard not to choose a team full of Saints’ players as each and every one of them stood out among the rest, hence, they won the league title in October. But, this man isn’t that far from a move across the water. Chris Forrester was another exceptional player for me and his position here is fully justified.

#9 – Left Midfield – Chris Forrester – St.Patrick’s Athletic – A top top performer.

The second Dundalk man to be included in my Team of the Year is non-other than the man himself, Patrick Hoban. He almost won the league title for his side on his own, his goals and all round good play didn’t go unnoticed. His value to Dundalk FC can’t be underestimated. He is one fantastic striker and proved it this campaign.

#10 – Striker – Patrick Hoban – Dundalk FC – One of the leagues best strikers.

There could have well been a late call for on-loan Shamrock Rovers man Ciaran Kilduff to be involved here, but, I had look at the season as a whole. That’s why my final striker place goes to non-other than Anto Flood. His performances throughout may have just won the league for the Saints. His goals were the single foundation in them becoming Champions of Ireland. Flood has since announced his departure from the league to spend time travelling abroad.

#11 – Striker – Anto Flood – St.Patrick’s Athletic – A top, top striker.

Now onto the single awards.

Player of the Year:
Brendan Clarke. I know a massive shout but his clean-sheets and top performances throughout this season was enough for his side to win the league. 21 Clean sheets is not easy to keep. He is one fantastic goalkeeper. To either win the league or stay in the Division you need a top top goalkeeper, St.Pats had that in Brendan Clarke.

Young Player of the Year:
Patrick Hoban. His goals and all round play turned this season on its head. Dundalk had a woeful season last campaign and the signing of Patrick Hoban proved to be one of Dundalk’s best decisions all year. He is one fantastic player.

Referee of the Year:
It’s easy to hassle referees but they do have a tough job, one I wouldn’t like to have. But, you have to admire those referees who do make the big calls correctly. Cork native Alan Kelly done this all season for me. Sadly, he is now refereeing within the MLS as of next season which is a massive loss but he was the best referee this season. Hands down.

As ever, these articles feed off controversy and arguments. I know I’ll hear your opinions. But for now, that’s my squad.

Image courtesy of thescore.ie

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    • DFC
    • October 31st, 2013

    No Richie Towell, enough said.

    Also I doubt even any Rovers fans would have Foran in the team.

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