Limerick’s Aaron Gillane has followed up his All-Star hurler of the year award with the Munster equivalent for 2023.
Gillane emulates his Patrickswell club-mate Diarmaid Byrnes who won overall and Munster hurler of the year accolades in 2022. Richie McCarthy, Seán Finn, Gearoid Hegarty and Kyle Hayes are among Limerick’s previous recipients of the award.
After their Munster Club Football Final victory on Sunday, Castlehaven of Cork have been named as Munster GAA Club of the Year. Other award winners confirmed include Clare’s Eoghan Gunning (Minor Hurler of the Year), Kerry’s Ben Murphy (Minor Footballer of the Year) while Karen Kennedy of Tipperary is the Munster Camogie player of the year.
The 2023 Munster GAA awards function will take place this Saturday in the Muckross Park Hotel Killarney.
Senior Hurler of the Year – Aaron Gillane (Limerick)
Aaron Gillane’s first tastes of hurling success were as a Harty Cup medal winner with Árdscoil Rís in 2014, a county senior medal with his beloved Patrickswell in 2016 and a Fitzgibbon Cup medal with Mary Immaculate College in early 2017.
After a brief minor intercounty career, the 2023 Hurlers of the Year’s big break came in 2017 when he featured with Limerick Seniors in the Allianz League campaign before making his Munster Championship debut in June. Later in 2017, he was a key member of the Limerick team that claimed Munster and All-Ireland Under 21 honours. The Patrickswell marksman scored seven points in the All-Ireland final as Limerick overcame Kilkenny 0-17 to 0-11.
Aaron Gillane had arrived on the intercounty stage, a stage he has strode with menace to opposing defenders as he evolved into one of the game’s finest ever marksmen.
Now six years later and five Munster and All-Ireland medals, three Allianz League medals and four All-Stars is testimony of the impact Aaron Gillane has made on the hurling landscape.
2023 was a memorable year for the man from Patrickswell, who is his youth toyed with the idea of a soccer career. This year he was at the peak of his powers when on the big stage and was a very popular winner of the Hurler of the Year accolade, the third from Patrickswell to receive it in as many years.
Aaron Gillane is a worthy recipient of Munster G.A.A. Senior Hurler of the Year 2023.
Munster Club of the Year – Castlehaven (Cork)
At the start of 2023 very, few people would have fancied Castlehaven to win the Munster Club title. The senior team set out at the beginning of the season hoping for a good run in the county championship. The team started slowly in the group stages but qualified to the knockout stages. They defeated Ballincollig & St. Finbarr’s to make the county final. The team was improving with every game but now they had a huge challenge playing Nemo Rangers in county final. After a titanic battle Castlehaven won the final by two points. This panel of players richly deserved that win as they have been knocking on the door for the last few years.
For the Munster campaign the club wanted to represent Cork with pride. In the first round they got over the line after a great game with Cratloe and played great football to beat Rathgormack in the semi-final. The final will be remembered for the weather conditions and the penalty shootout at the end. The final against an excellent Dingle team had everything. Full of passion & great scores and fine football played in tough conditions. The match could have gone either way, but Castlehaven prevailed after extra time and penalties.
It was heart breaking for Dingle but a mighty win for Castlehaven as they won their fourth Munster title, something the club takes great pride in.
Munster Camogie Player of the Year – Karen Kennedy (Tipperary)
Karen Kennedy plays with Thurles Sarsfields Camogie Club and has won Junior A and Intermediate County titles with them. She is the current Club Captain. Karen captained Tipperary to win Munster and All-Ireland titles at Under 16 and Minor level before graduating to the Senior panel.
Karen was a key player for the Tipperary Camogie team as they won the Munster Final in 2023, winning for the first time in 11 years. Tipperary subsequently qualified for the All-Ireland Semi-Final before losing out to Waterford. Karen was joint-captain in 2023 and was recently named as 2024 team captain.
Karen was honoured for her consistent performances in 2023 with her second Camogie All-Star award recently having been previously honoured in 2020.
Minor Hurler of the Year – Eoghan Gunning (Clare)
It’s been a truly memorable season for Broadford hurler, Eoghan Gunning. He delivered many outstanding performances when leading Clare to the Munster and All-Ireland Minor Championship titles, beating Cork in the Munster Final before accounting for a highly fancied Galway in the All-Ireland decider. There were great scenes of celebration in Broadford when he brought the All-Ireland minor trophy to the parish after Clare’s great win.
A secondary school student at Scariff Community College, he completed an excellent season on the playing fields when playing a key role in his club’s success in the Clare Under 21 B Championship in which they defeated Éire Óg, 0-14 to 1-10, in the final last month.
Having played at corner back for the Clare minors, he showed his versatility when lining out at centre forward for his club’s under 21 team which included his brother Mark at wing back. A member of a family steeped in the GAA, his grandfather, Mattie hurled at full back for club and county in the 50’s while his father played many times for his club.
Minor Footballer of the Year – Ben Murphy (Kerry)
This year was a very successful year for the Kerry Minor Footballers who demonstrated huge courage, skill and resilience this year under the management of Wayne Quillinan. Ben is of course being recognised for fantastic individual displays this year, where his work rate was always exemplary.
In every game, Ben produced powerful attacking runs from the backs or midfield and was on the end of many scores, or the contributory factor in top class finishes by his team mates. These charges up the pitch making huge ground for the Kerry attack became customary when Ben Murphy was playing and make Ben a fantastic role model for younger players. This is of course a hugely proud day for Ben, his family and of course his club Austin Stacks.