Philip Mahony, Ballygunner’s teenage sensation, scooped the top award at the annual WLR FM / Granville Hotel GAA awards, which were held at the Granville hotel on Friday evening last.
Mahony, who received a standing ovation from the assembled throng, was a deserving winner of the award after a fantastic year for both club and county level.
At inter-county level, Philip proved an inspirational centre-back for the Waterford minor team which claimed the county’s first Munster title in 17 years when they saw off Tipperary last July.
He was also a member of the Under-21 team which saw off Tipperary before being eventually beaten narrowly by eventual All-Ireland champions Clare in the Munster final.
For the Gunners, Mahony was part of an historic trio including his brother Pauric and goalkeeper, Stephen O’Keeffe that claimed Minor, Under-21 and Senior medals in a tremendous year for the Gunners.
Such was the impact Philip made during 2009 that he saw off an illustrious list of nominees which included Waterford’s two All-Star recipients for 2009, John Mullane and Michael Walsh.
“I’m delighted to receive this,” said a clearly surprised Mahony when interviewed by MC Timmy Ryan, who proved an excellent compere throughout the evening.
When asked about his hopes for 2010, the young stopper commented: “Well, it would be great to have another good year with the club and it would be nice to go at least one match better with the Waterford Under-21s than last year. That’s what we’ll be aiming for anyway.”
The award itself was presented by former Cork manager, Donal O’Grady who entertained the 200-strong crowd for 30 minutes with humorous and quirky anecdotes from his time in the game.
In his address, O’Grady congratulated all the monthly award winners.
“It is a fantastic achievement to be nominated by your county people,” he said.
“I think it is a fantastic mix of young people and more established stars. I think it’s great for the youngsters to come to an awards night and rub shoulders with the top stars.”
He added that Waterford was lucky to have several top stars, particularly on the hurling teams where the county possesses players who are instantly recognisable throughout the country.
“Many of your players bring great character and great dash to the game. They are a great credit to their clubs, to their families and obviously to their county.”
See The Munster Express newspaper for full story and photos.