Champions St Patrick’s Athletic provided the two main award winners at the 2013 Airtricity / Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland annual banquet tonight.
The awards, which include the overall accolade of Personality of the Year and the title of Goalkeeper of the Year, were presented at the function in Dublin’s Conrad Hotel.
Pat’s manager Liam Buckley scooped the Personality of the Year award after his successful title-winning campaign, while Brendan Clarke was named Goalkeeper of the Year.
Former Republic of Ireland international and League icon Tommy McConville was the recipient of the Airtricity / Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland Special Merit Award for his outstanding service to Irish football.
In winning the award, Buckley saw off stiff competition from five other candidates, who were nominated by 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’s Killian Brennan and Anthony Flood.
However, it was Buckley who topped the voting due to his fantastic first 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 also a good year for Clarke, who had to fend off competition from Dundalk’s Peter Cherrie and Sligo Rovers’ Gary Rogers for the goalkeeper award.
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.