Dublin footballer James McCarthy and Galway hurling forward Conor Cooney have followed in the footsteps of Diarmuid Connolly and Kilkenny’s Jonjo Farrell by collecting the Pearse Medal from Leinster GAA for 2017.
The specially commissioned Pearse Medal was introduced last year to coincide with the anniversary of the Easter Rising and acknowledge the fact that Pearse had been a member of the Leinster Council through its schools section in the years before his death.
The medal acknowledges the outstanding footballer and hurler in our senior championships.
This year the adjudicators have selected Ballymun Kickhams flier James McCarthy for the role he played in driving Dublin to a historic seven Leinster senior football titles in a row.
Renowned for his pace, drive and versatility, McCarthy’s switch to the midfield engine room helped Jim Gavin’s Dublin maintain their edge on their rivals in a season that saw them blitz Carlow, Westmeath and Kildare to retain the Delaney Cup and stay unbeaten in Leinster since 2010.
Conor Cooney’s displays in the Galway attack were of crucial importance in what was an unforgettable year for the Tribesmen.
In Leinster, Galway started strongly in their dismantling of Dublin and progressed to dismiss Offaly and then devastate Wexford’s hopes in a Leinster final played before a record crowd of more than 60,000 at Croke Park.
Cooney was central to their best work and proved they were not overly reliant on Joe Canning.
The medals were presented at a lunch in Croke Park today attended by Conor, and with David McCarthy, brother of James, accepting the medals from Leinster GAA Chairman Jim Bolger.