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It was a fitting celebration of an unbelievable season!

November 7, 2018

The d Hotel was the venue last night for the 2012 Player of the Year awards and over 200 Drogheda United supporters turned out to show their appreciation to Mick Cooke, the players and the back room staff for their success.

Soccer pundit and veteran League of Ireland manager Damien Richardson was guest compere for the evening and opened proceedings by saying that when he was asked to compere this event at the start of the season, his concern was that it was unlikely to be a pleasant task and he wondered what he would be able to say about a club that was likely to be relegated. He said it was a particular pleasure therefore to be here to congratulate the club on its success this season.

He gave a glowing introduction to Vincent Hoey, Club President, who welcomed everyone and said that although specific players would be honoured tonight, it was clear that the success of this season was very much a team effort and that every one of the players deserved to be honoured for the football they played, not just through skill but from the heart. He went on to say indeed it was not only the players that contributed to this fine season but a lot of people in the background, people such as Club Chairman Jim Agnew and many others. He said it was a wonderful team effort in every sense and that he couldn’t be happier.

John Delaney was next to take to the podium and warmly congratulated Mick Cooke, Jim Agnew and the club generally for a season that everyone should be very proud of. He said that the club’s success this year on a meagre budget was a tremendous achievement, especially when one considered how far it had come in the past two years. He said that although his own club was Waterford United, he held a special fondness for Drogheda United and respect for people such as Vincent Hoey who had dedicated a life time to protecting it and, more recently, Jim Agnew who stepped into the hot seat at a difficult time. He said that every year the FAI present a life time achievement award to someone who has given extraordinary services to football and he said he was delighted to announce that in 2013 Vincent Hoey would be honoured with this award. He finished by pledging his continuing support of the club.

Chairman Jim Agnew was introduced next by Damien Richardson as someone who had assumed the role of Chairman at a difficult time and who had steered the club to this season’s success. Jim spoke about how proud he was to be involved but reminded everyone that he was merely the front man for a wonderful and wide group of people whom he could not name individually simply because there were so many and he did not wish to leave anyone out. He mentioned the board of management and staff, the numerous volunteers who run the bingo, the lotto and other events, the match day crew, the players and Mick Cooke and Robbie Horgan who had exceeded all expectations this season by leading the squad that won the EA Sports Cup and came 2nd in the League. Jim said that although he did not wish to name any specific people, there were just two that he needed to mention - Ray Coyle of Hunky Dorys for investing in the club and sticking with it through some dark days and Phelim McCloskey for giving the club the best training facility in the League in Mosney. He acknowledged the extraordinary support of both of these individuals.

Damien Richardson then paid tribute to first team manager Mick Cooke in the very warmest terms. He said that Mick had performed miracles this season and that in his view Mick was the manager of the year and Drogheda United the team of the year. He said that he was delighted to be able to announce that Mick had been nominated for the RTE manager of the year award alongside such luminaries of sport as Jim McGuinness of Donegal GAA and others.

Mick was the final speaker of the night and he thanked the players for their commitment and spirit. He also thanked his backroom staff, whom he described as the best in the League. He said that while he had been very happy in Monaghan, he had always had a special affection for Drogheda United where he played as a 20 year old. He said that everyone talks about the men in football but he wanted to single out one woman. He said that these days women spend a fortune on cosmetic surgery trying to look good and stay young but that they could all take a leaf of out this woman’s book. He said that when he was a 20 year old she was involved in the club and that it was one of his greatest pleasures to return to Drogheda two years ago and see Bridie Kerr still involved and still looking after everyone with a cup of tea and slice of apple tart. Finally, he thanked another group of women, the wives and partners of the players and back room staff, who support them and allow them to spend so much time away from home for training and games.

Damien Richardson then asked Vincent Hoey to present the Player of the Year awards and the following were honoured:

Supporters Player of the Year: Gavin Brennan
Goal of the Year: Eric Foley (for Bray v Drogheda United)
Club Player of the Year: Derek Prendergast

Derek Prendergast is currently in the US and his father accepted the award on his behalf saying that Derek was delighted to be honoured and also delighted to have already signed for the club for next season. He encouraged all the players to follow suit and said that if Mick Cooke had not yet spoken to any, they should tell him to hurry up.

Congratulations to Derek Prendergast, Gavin Brennan and Eric Foley on their awards and to everyone who helped to make 2012 one of the most successful seasons in Drogheda United history.

Many thanks to the d Hotel for sponsoring tonight’s event and to Anglo Printers for sponsoring the event programme.

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