Waterford’s two-time All Star John Mullane has been named the Waterford Hurler of the Year during the course of last Thursday’s County Convention in Dungarvan.
The De La Salle clubman was once again superb for both club and county in 2009.
The year began on a high for him at club level, captaining the Munster champions to an All-Ireland club final against Portumna on St Patrick’s Day, but it ended on a sour note when he was ordered off nine minutes into a county senior hurling quarter-final game against Ballygunner, and all the brouhaha that subsequently ensued.
In between Mullane was one of the main men as Waterford reached the All-Ireland semi-final.
For the past week he has been in Argentina on the 2008-09 All Stars tour to Buenos Aires.
Stephen Cunningham was named Waterford Footballer of the year. The veteran Stradbally forward, who has decided to hang up his inter-county boots, was a model of consistency for club and county in 2009 and ended the season by claiming a sixth county senior football winner’s medal this decade.
Young Hurler of the Year is Philip Mahony of Ballygunner who remarkably won county medals at minor, under-21 and senior with his club and was also part of the Waterford team that beat Tipperary to claim a Munster Minor Hurling title in July. (That team’s captain, Mount Sion’s Martin O’Neill, was named Munster underage hurler of the year earlier.)
Brian O’Halloran from Clashmore is the Waterford Young Footballer of the Year and again there can be no disputing the committee’s decision. The young Kinsalebeg man lead his side to a first county minor ‘A’ football title earlier this year and also played an influential part in Waterford’s three games in the Munster Minor Football Championship. He was also one of Clashmore better players in the senior football championship in what was a poor year at adult level for the club, being relegated to the intermediate ranks.
Club of the Year went to the all-conquering Ballygunner following their triple crown of county final wins at Senior, Minor and Under-21, as well as reaching the Munster Club Final where they were unlucky to go under to Cork champions Newtownshandrum.
The only club that could realistically have challenged the Gunners for the accolade were Dungarvan who went from almost being relegated in 2008 to become intermediate champions in 2009 and also had a very good year at juvenile level this past year.
The Special Achievement Award in recent years has been won by the junior hurling county champions and 2009 was no different as it went to Tourin/Glen Rovers on winning the junior hurling county final.
John O’Donnell from the Ardmore club won the Jack Furlong award which is an accolade to honour those that have given a lifetime of service to the GAA within the county.
The awards will be presented at a special function which will take place early in 2010.