Dundalk on the double as league-winning boss lands top prize at prestigious LOI awards

DUNDALK BOSS VINNY Perth landed the top prize at the SSE Airtricity League/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland [SWAI] awards last night, while the Lilywhites celebrated a double success after Gary Rogers was named Goalkeeper of the Year.

After a season in which they made it back-to-back League of Ireland Premier Division crowns, Perth and Rogers scooped the two prestigious gongs at Dublin’s Clayton Hotel.

Vinny Perth accepting his award from SSE Airtricity marketing manager Leanne Sheill.

Source: Seb Daly/SPORTSFILE

43-year-old Perth took over at Oriel Park following Stephen Kenny’s move to the Ireland U21s, and ensured Dundalk’s success on these shores continued.

He saw off two of his own players, Seán Gannon and Chris Shields, to the Personality of the Year honour, while Shamrock Rovers and Ireland midfielder Jack Byrne finished second in the voting after a stellar year in which he helped end the Hoops’ long wait for FAI Cup glory.

Rovers’ boss Stephen Bradley, Bohs’ manager Keith Long were also nominated.

“This is a really special award,” Perth — also PFAI Manager of the Year — said afterwards. “I’ve been coming here a long time, usually carrying the trophy to the back of Stephen’s [Kenny] car.

“It’s an awkward one to win, you’re competing against your own players, you see the job Keith Long has done with Bohs and it’s great to see Stephen’s [Bradley] quality to shine through at a big club and win a trophy.

“It’s a real honour to get this award but I’m particularly proud of Chris (Shields) Sean (Gannon) who epitomise what we’re about.”

Gary Rogers, Goalkeeper of the Year.

Source: Seb Daly/SPORTSFILE

The Town’s number one Rogers capped a season to remember, domestically and in Europe, with the Goalkeeper of the Year award. Once again a huge leader for the champions, Rogers had the most clean sheets (27) in all competitions and now holds the record for European appearance by a League of Ireland player (45).

“Its a great way to start off the year,” he said. “You’ve got to enjoy these moments.

“I’m enjoying these great times at Dundalk. It’s been a really good period for the club and a purple patch with our success. I want to be part of contributing to that in the future.”

He beat Alan Mannus of Rovers and Bohemians star James Talbot to the prize.

Michelle O’Neill.

Source: Seb Daly/SPORTSFILE

Elsewhere, Wexford official Michelle O’Neill was honoured with the Liam Tuohy Special Merit Award.

O’Neill, who was on the whistle at the Women’s World Cup last summer, was assistant referee on the first female team to take charge of a major men’s European final in the Uefa Super Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea.

And Ireland and Celtic legend Packie Bonner was recognised with the International Achievement Award almost 30 years on from his penalty shootout heroics against Romania at Italia 90.

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