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Flynn scoops Cadbury top U21 award
31 May 2011
GAA Director General Padraic Duffy (left) and Shane Guest of Cadbury alongside 2011 Cadbury Hero of the Future Thomas Flynn
Galway footballer Thomas Flynn has been named as the 2011 Cadbury Hero of the Future at an awards ceremony in the Player's Lounge in Croke Park. Thomas has been honoured in recognition of his passion, excellence and commitment to the sport and was presented with his Cadbury Hero of the Future Award by Páraic Ó Dufaigh, Ard-Stiúrthóir, GAA and Shane Guest from Cadbury Ireland. Thomas was a key member of the Galway team which won the Cadbury GAA U21 Football All Ireland Championship against Cavan in Croke Park on May 1st.
Commenting on the Cadbury Hero of the Future Award last night Shane Guest, Cadbury Ireland said; "I am delighted to once again have this opportunity to recognise some of the most talented young footballers in the country, their passion, commitment and skill have illuminated this championship from start to finish and Cadbury is proud to continue the sponsorship of the Cadbury GAA U21 Football Championship. This year we continued the Cadbury Football Scholarships in eight universities around Ireland. We also focused on the grass roots of the game by helping the fans travel free, to as many games as possible on the Cadbury buses. There was a phenomenal turn out in Croke Park for the final with over 20,000 supporters attending - a massive increase on previous years. We look forward to continuing to support this sponsorship with innovative and engaging activation plans in the years to come".
Páraic Ó Dufaigh, Ard-Stiúrthóir, GAA said: "It is a privilege to be here once again and to be surrounded by so many wonderful young players and their families', it has been a fantastic championship with thrilling contests and excellent attendances throughout. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Cadbury for their continued support and congratulate them on their innovative sponsorship activation which has seen them bring the Cadbury GAA U21 Football Championship to the widest possible audience in the most engaging manner possible."
In total fourteen footballers were shortlisted as part of the 'Cadbury Hero of the Future' initiative which ran in tandem with the Championship to highlight the achievements of individuals for outstanding teamwork, passion and performance on the field. A Cadbury Hero of the Match award was presented to a player at each provincial semi-final, each provincial final and the national semi-finals with the last Cadbury Hero of the Match selected at the Cadbury GAA Football U21 All Ireland Final in Croke Park on May 1st 2011.
Thomas who plays for his club St. Mary's Athenry, was named as a Cadbury Hero of the Match for his performance against Cork in the All Ireland Semi Final. The judging panel which consisted of senior Kildare footballing legend Dermot Earley, former Dublin manager Paul Caffrey, TG4 journalist Michael O'Domhnaill and Kerry legend Darragh O'Se took into account the public vote cast on cadburygaau21.com but ultimately Thomas Flynn's heroic performances in both the semi-final against Cork and the final against Cavan edged the competition out in the end.
Speaking on behalf of all the Cadbury Hero of the Future judges Micheál O'Domhnaill said "Thomas was part of a very hard working Galway team. Thomas marked key players, including last year's Young Player of the Year and he did this in a low key but highly effective manner. He fielded the ball well and worked hard throughout the championship. I look forward to seeing Thomas perform at U21 level in the coming years and believe he is a worthy winner of the 2011 Cadbury Hero of the Future."
As the overall winner Thomas received a specially commissioned bronze award, and a cheque value of €1,000. In addition to this, Thomas's club, St Mary's Athenry, also received a grant of €1,000 as did the Galway County Board. This year Cadbury once again supplied each of the 14 Hero's of the Match a training kit for their club. Galway Manager Alan Mulholland was also presented with an award to mark Galway's achievement in winning the 2011 Cadbury GAA U21 Football Championship.
2011 Cadbury Heroes of the Match were:
2011 Cadbury Heroes of the Match: Mark Collins (Cork); Barry O'Driscoll (Cork); Paul Geaney (Kerry); Mark Hehir (Galway); Niall Kilroy (Roscommon); Tomas Fahy (Galway); Michael O'Regan (Wexford); Sean Gaule (Wexford); Conor Lynam (Westmeath); Christopher McGuinness (Monaghan); Barry Reilly (Cavan); Gearoid McKiernan (Cavan); Thomas Flynn (Galway); Jack Brady (Cavan).
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