Richie Towell named ‘Personality of the Year’ at SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland Awards
Richie Towell was tonight revealed as the winner of the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers' of Ireland 'Personality of the Year' Award.
Dubliner Towell, 24, enjoyed a remarkable 2015. His 29 goals over the course of a magnificent season helped Dundalk achieve an historic SSE Airtricity League and FAI Cup double, with the club securing back to back Premier Division titles for the first time.
The attack-minded midfielder earned a move to Championship club Brighton & Hove Albion on the back of his consistently outstanding performances. He is expected to make his debut for his new club in the coming weeks.
Towell headed a six-man shortlist for the 'Personality' award and the winner was announced at Dublin's Conrad Hotel tonight, in front of Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and his assistant, Roy Keane.
Such was the imprint that Dundalk made on the year that Stephen Kenny, the club's manager, and another Lilywhites midfielder Daryl Horgan were the nearest challengers to Towell.
For Kenny, who won the 'Personality' award for the first time last year, the title triumph was his third as a manager.
Also in the running were Shane Keegan, the Wexford Youths manager who guided the club to the First Division title - and promotion - for the first time, Cork City manager John Caulfield and Shamrock Rovers' exciting talent Brandon Miele.
Meanwhile Gary Rogers completed another double for Dundalk after picking up the 'Goalkeeper of the Year' award at the banquet.
The 34-year-old joined the Oriel Park club from Sligo Rovers ahead of last season and the well-travelled netminder picked up his second league winner's medal and third FAI Cup winner's medal in another successful campaign. He recorded 15 clean sheets in the push for league success - and didn't concede a goal in the final three rounds of the FAI Cup.
Rogers, who hails from Navan, edged a close vote ahead of last year's award winner, the clean sheet expert Mark McNulty of Cork City, and Micheal Schlingermann, whose excellent performances gave Drogheda United hope of staying in the top flight until their last day heartbreak.
The Special Merit award went to Arthur Fitzsimons. Now 86, the Ringsend native played 26 times for the Republic of Ireland over a decade between the late 1940s and '50s.
Fitzsimons' club career included spells at Shelbourne, Middlesbrough, Mansfield Town and Drogheda United, while he also managed Drogheda, Shamrock Rovers and a representative League of Ireland XI.
The SWAI also made a presentation to Republic of Ireland legend Damien Duff - a special guest on the night - in recognition of an outstanding career in the game. Capped 100-times for his country, Duff announced his retirement earlier this month after a glittering career.