DARACH Honan is the first winner of the Bord Gáis Energy Breaking Through Player-of-the-Year award. The Clonlara clubman was picked from a shortlist that included his clubmate John Conlon and Newmarket’s Colin Ryan, along with Joe Canning (Galway) and Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan and John Mulhall.
Honan was selected as the outstanding player of the 2009 U-21 hurling championship, following the role he played in helping Clare to their first ever All-Ireland title at U-21 level. It was a historic victory for Clare and, despite having only just emerged from the county’s minor set-up last year, Honan put in two man-of-the-match-winning performances against Waterford in the Munster final and in the thrilling semi-final encounter with Galway.
Ger Cunningham, Bord Gáis sponsorship manager and member of the selection panel said, “Darach has emerged from this year’s U-21 championship as one of the top talents for the future. He has all the attributes, skill, strength and determination to succeed at senior level. I firmly believe he has a long and successful hurling career ahead of him. This is the first Bord Gáis Energy Breaking Through Player-of-the-Year award to be presented and it will in time I hope become a recognised indicator of future talent in the game of hurling.”
On receiving the award, Darach paid tribute to his team-mates and to the coaching and management team.
“I am delighted to have been selected for this award, which caps a hugely memorable year. To be recognised at this level is very special. I hope now we can build and develop on our success and look forward to doing so in 2010.”
The selection panel was completed by RTÉ’s Marty Morrissey, Micheál Ó Domhnaill of TG4 and the GAA’s sponsorship manager, Paul Dermody.