Last night saw the 33rd annual FAI International Awards take place at Dublin’s Mansion House where Carlow duo Aoife Kelly and Peter Grogan were in the running for underage awards while Will Smallbone – whose mother hails from Kilkenny, so we’ll claim him – was also in the running for the Under 21 international of the year.
Wouldn’t you know it, they all came home with the gold – Aoife was named the Under 17 Women’s International Player of the Year, Peter took the Under 18 Schools International Player of the Year and Will Smallbone claimed the Under 21 award.
Aoife started out playing with St. Pats Boys in the Carlow league before securing a switch to Shelbourne. After impressive performances in the under-17 international squad, Kelly then opted to join the likes of Stephanie Roche and Aine O’Gorman at Shamrock Rovers at the beginning of last season.
Next up is Crettyards own Peter Grogan, who attends St. Mary’s CBS in Carlow. Grogan now plies his trade with Bohemians where he won Under 17 Player of the Year after scoring 21 goals in 16 games. He also has his scoring boots on in his debut for Ireland representing the country against Wales in the Centenary Shield.
Of course, Will Smallbone was born in Basingstoke in England, however, represents the Boys in Green due to his Kilkenny-born mother. There is apparently a number of Premier League clubs now interested in the midfielder after his performances on loan with Stoke this season. Will also was awarded Man of the Match in his senior debut against Latvia. In the last year, he scored his first goals for the Republic of Ireland U21 team, scoring a brace in a 3–0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina U21 at Tallaght Stadium. He followed that up by scoring a volley from outside the box three days later, to open the scoring in an eventual 3–1 win over Montenegro U21.
Elsewhere, Courtney Brosnan will go to the Women’s World Cup as the Senior Women’s International Player of the Year. The Republic of Ireland goalkeeper collected the gong at last night’s FAI International Awards.
Wolves defender Nathan Collins scooped the Senior Men’s International of the Year. Heather Payne won the first-ever Young Women’s Player of the Year. Evan Ferguson was Young Men’s Player of the Year. While Shamrock Rovers striker Rory Gaffney was named SSE Airtricity League Player of the Year.