End of Season Awards The Panthers squad traded their game day suits for the more conventional (in most cases) suits and ties as they headed to the Crown Plaza Blanchardstown for the Annual Awards Night.
Unit Awards.Football teams are divided into some units naturally, Offence & Defence, but the Panthers is comprised of a number of smaller units also. Each with their own specific goal on any given play. While some very fine glass trophies were provided to the winners of the prestigious MVP awards, the Unit Leaders of the Panthers decided to reward the guys most deserving in a slightly different way. The Skill Positions (Quarterbacks, Running Backs & Wide Receivers) unit acknowledged the work of first-year standout, Sean Devlin. The nineteen-year-old Devlin hauled in 7 touchdown passes in his inaugural season. [caption id="attachment_766" align="alignnone" width="600"] Devlin with Skill Unit Leader QB Tosan Memudaughan[/caption] The Offensive Line paid tribute to Offensive Guard, Graham Collins. There are no stats for Offensive Linemen, except to say he kicked ass. [caption id="attachment_772" align="alignnone" width="600"] Collins with OLine Unit Leader Finn Connaughton[/caption] The Defensive Front, comprising of the Defensive Line and Linebackers, made it a double for the Devlin family bestowing the title on Sean’s brother, Brian Devlin. [caption id="attachment_774" align="alignnone" width="600"] Brian Devlin with Front Unit Leader Niall Burke.[/caption] The the last unit to grant a belt was the Defensive Backs. Safety Paul Kelly was the easy choice for his drive and commitment and excellent attitude. [caption id="attachment_776" align="alignnone" width="600"] Kelly with DBs Unit Leader Eoghan Whelan[/caption]
MVP AwardsThe most prestigious awards granted for the outstanding contributions made by individuals throughout the year on the field.
First-Year Player of the YearNearly half of the Panthers Squad in 2017 was made up of players in their first year. To come into a new sport, learn it and excel at the very highest level in Ireland exceeds all expectations of a first-year player. Picking up his second award of the night, in a 2017 class stocked with talent, Brian Devlin exceeded all expectations from the moment he walked through the door. [caption id="attachment_778" align="alignnone" width="600"] Devlin with Assistant Head Coach Andy Healy[/caption]
Special Team MVPSpecial Teams Athletes come from all over the team. The demands of Special Teams are as varied as the athletes themselves. Great football players however always find ways to be great. One of the best talents on the Panthers and in the country, Mick Duncan, kicked and punted his way to Special Teams MVP in 2017. [caption id="attachment_779" align="alignnone" width="600"] Duncan with Head Coach Mack[/caption]
Offensive MVPAt the Panthers, everything starts with the offensive line. They lead the warm-ups, they’re first out of the dressing rooms and set the tone for all we do. Seeking no praise, making special requests and, on a lot of teams, are often overlooked. Not so with the Panthers, for as the fortunes Offensive Line go so too do the fortunes of the Panthers. It’s hard to get them to accept praise as an individual, so strong is the unit mentality but when you have one of the best, it’s no surprise when he proves it. Shane Roberts wasn’t able to attend on the night and his award was accepted by his OLine brothers but he earned every bit of it. [caption id="attachment_780" align="alignnone" width="446"] Roberts in action in 2017.[/caption]
Defensive MVPOne of the toughest run defences in the country in 2017, the Defensive Front really were one of the premier units. They found themselves amongst the awards frequently on the night and through the year. A veteran of multiple teams and countries, Stephen Connor brought a wealth of experience and his considerable talents to the Panthers in 2017. [caption id="attachment_781" align="alignnone" width="600"] Connor with Defensive Coordinator Coach Sully.[/caption]
Captains AwardOur Club Captain, David Martin, granted an award to the individual he believed embodied every element of what it is to be a Panther. Not solely about performance, which wasn’t lacking, this was about the very idea of what we look for in a teammate and a leader on and off the field. Finn Connaughton has been such a great influence at the club this year and his contribution has been above and beyond. [caption id="attachment_782" align="alignnone" width="600"] Club Captain David Martin and Finn Connaughton[/caption]
Most Valuable PlayerIn a year of very strong performances, it was exceptionally difficult to single out one guy. There were many in the running for this award that didn’t pick up another. The competition was fierce for the Panthers this year. Coach Mack during his presentation speech quoted Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer.
Leadership is not a difference maker, it is the difference maker.That was true of how this award was selected and of the Athlete who earned it. A leader, a difference maker, Defensive Tackle Niall Burke. [caption id="attachment_783" align="alignnone" width="600"] Coach Mack and MVP Niall Burke.[/caption] The preparation for 2018 is well underway. The Panthers are always on the lookout for more difference makers.]]>