There will be no shortage of local interest in the Three FAI International Awards next week, despite there being no actual ceremony in its 30th year, with players from Dundalk FC and Drogheda United among those in the running for gongs.
The awards, which usually takes place earlier in the year, were postponed due to Covid-19 and with social distancing protocols remaining in place, a decision was taken not to hold the award ceremony which is broadcast annually on RTE television.
The awards recognise the achievements of players across all spectrums of the international and domestic football scene. Dundalk FC duo Chris Shields and Sean Gannon have been named among three nominees – Shamrock Rovers’ Jack Byrne is the other – for SSE Airtricity League Player of the Year.
Shields is aiming to win the prize for the second straight year, having secured the award in 2019 after a stellar season as Dundalk reclaimed the league title – and won the FAI Cup – in 2018.
Earlier this year, Shields and Gannon were both among the nominees for the Soccer Writers Association Personality of the Year award, but both were pipped to the prize by boss Vinny Perth. Last season the Lilywhites secured both the league and league cup double, but lost the FAI Cup to Byrne’s Shamrock Rovers.
Drogheda United youngster Bermingham has been nominated in the Schools International Player of the Year. The 18-year-old from Duleek scored for the Republic of Ireland schools side in games against Australia, Scotland and Wales last year, whilst a student at St Marys Diocesan School in Drogheda.
He signed for Drogheda United in November of last year and came off the bench twice in the early part of the season, before it was disrupted by the Covid-19 lockdown. In his last appearance for the club, he came on only to receive two yellow cards and be sent off in a 0-1 defeat to Longford Town.