THE Footballer of the Year Award, the oldest and most distinguished award in English soccer was presented for the first time in 1948 to Stanley Matthews.
Eight years later the Cork Schoolboys’ League inaugurated their own award when the Motor Traders Association presented them with an almost exact replica of the English trophy and, borrowing the Football Writers Association's concept, awarded it annually to the boy whose all-round performance attained the highest standard in ability, integrity and sportsmanship.
Now the Overall Cork Schoolboy Player of the Year Award’ is the longest surviving and one of most prestigious in the underage game in Ireland.
Two years later, 1958, Noel helped Tramore win the FAI Youths Cup before embarking on a magnificent elongated career with Cork Hibs and several other LOI clubs.
In 1957 those summoned with the nomination lumped for Tony O’Brien who helped Glasheen win the U16 Cup and league double and picked up an FAI Youth Cup before the previous recipient did by helping all-conquering Glasheen win every trophy contested for with an astonishing record which read: played 38, won 38, scored 154 goals, and conceded just 15.
In 1964, Wembley won the U15 Evans National Cup and, as with Mattie Brett, the statuette the year after (1965) went to Paddy Shortt, a player from the successful team who was destined for a brilliant career. Contenders again included four internationals Peter Cox (captain of Ireland v England), Tommy Garry, Blondie Carroll, and Gerry Hurley while the brilliant Barry McGann’s involvement with rugby ruled him out.
The application of the tried and trusted criteria of ability, integrity, and sportsmanship resulted in Jack Cooke, Leonard Gould and co declaring no ‘Footballer of the Year’ in 1969 and 1970.It might come as a surprise to the thousands of players and administrators in the league that the clear ut winner in 1971 was a boy, Eddie Doyle, who then was a classy full-back and is currently the CSL secretary.
A special mention here for Damien Martin (Rockmount) who was the choice in 1988 ahead of teammates Paul McCarthy (Brighton) and Roy Keane (Ireland).
1n 1993 Mark O’Riordan became Avondale’s first international and their first Player of the Year in 1995. Never to be forgotten is 1998 the season Ireland won the televised EUFA U16 International Championship; it was a red-letter year for Cork, as three boys Liam Miller, David Warren, and David Madden were members of the winning squad, the latter providing Tramore with its first POY in 24 years.
The very promising John Kavanagh was honoured in 2011; his injury-interrupted a career saw him move from Cork City to Harps, Waterford and Cobh.
Noel O’Mahony, Tramore. Won FAI Cup and League medals with Cork Hibs, player and manager.
Tony O’Brien, Glasheen. FAI Youths Cup 57, Man of Match for Hibs in FAI Cup final 1960.
Michael Ahern, South End. Played with Cork Celtic, and Tramore Athletic.
Mattie Brett, Tower. Played with Cork Celtic and Tramore.
Barry Long, Tramore. Universities international and played senior with Tramore.
John Dennehy, South End. Remained with South End.
Ken O’Riordan, Crofton. Played with UCC. Former secretary Munster Senior League.
1Paul McCarthy, Blackrock. Starred with Ringmahon in the MSL/Brooklodge manager.
Paddy Shortt, Wembley. Irish U21 International. FAI Cup and League medals. Limerick/Cork Celtic/Cobh Ramblers.
Ted Healy, Tower. One of the great junior players. FAI Junior Cup runner-up St Mary’s.
Robin Turnbull, Leeside. Blackrock/Leeside/Tramore, briefly with Cork Celtic.
Matt O’Donovan, Everton. Cork Hibs 1971-75. European campaigns, Greenmount.
Eddie Doyle, Glasheen. UCC Collingwood Cup 1973, Lakewood FC, management Cork Schoolboys League.
Aidan O’Mahony, Rockmount. Captained Rockmount’s first-ever schoolboy winning team.
Ger Keane, Crofton. Continued with Crofton and Tramore Athletic.
Barry Neiland, Tramore. Played for Cork City in National League.
Willie Hennessy, Wilton. Continued with Wilton.
Christy White, Crofton. Long service with Crofton and then Ballincollig.
Martin Shaw, Passage. Cork Celtic 1978-79, Passage FC and Passage GAA.
Louis Walsh, Kilreen. GAA with the Barrs and stayed with Kilreen. England for a period. Kilreen coaching.
Derek Lloyd, Springfield. Emigrated to Holland.
Dave Twomey, St Mary’s. Played in the Munster Senior League with St Mary’s.
John O’Sullivan, Rockmount. Continued with Rockmount and later assisted various clubs. Coached Mayfield.
Paul Bowdren, Casement. Youth international, Cork City, coach Cork City.
Graham Quinn, Wilton. Universities international, Collingwood win 1990, College Corinthians, and Kinsale.
Donal Desmond, Midleton. Irish schoolboy cap 1984. Remained with Midleton.
Vincent Hegarty, Ballincollig. U15 and youth international. Later Ballincollig seniors.
Ger Long, St Mary’s. U16 international. Cobh Ramblers, Casement Celtic, Greenmount Rangers/ Casement.
Damian Martin, Rockmount. Several underage caps. Cobh Ramblers, Rockmount. Intermediate Cup medal.
Ken Healy, Wilton. U16 International. Finalists 1990 in U17 and U18 FAI Cups.
Alan McCarthy, Casement Celtic. UCC/ Glencairn / Wilton.
Norman Forsythe, Mayfield. Continued with Mayfield.
John Murphy, St Mary’s. 35 Irish underage caps. Aston Villa. Player and assistant manager Cobh Ramblers/St Mary’s.
Kieran O’Shea, Rockmount. Cobh Ramblers, Rockmount and Castleview. Intermediate Cup medal with Rockmount.
Wayne Murray, Glasheen. Continued in Munster Senior League with Glasheen.
Mark O’Riordan, Avondale. Avondale’s first international. Senior with Avondale.
Jonathan Deasy, Ringmahon. Senior with Ringmahon.
Damien Byrne, Leeds. Continued with Leeds. Joined Fire Service.
David Madden, Tramore. European U16 Championship with Ireland.
Ken Coleman, Leeds. Youth and schoolboy international. Wolves/Waterford/Cobh Ramblers, Blarney, Leeds.
Kevin Murray, Leeds. Cork City/Cobh/Waterford/ Cork City/Midleton.
Dave O’Sullivan, Ballincollig. Schoolboy international. Cork City U21/Cobh Ramblers
Ray Lally, Kilreen Celtic. Ireland U15 and U17. Corinthians/Cork City/Cobh Ramblers/Avondale United/Midleton. Now fitness instructor.
Karl Caulfield, Kilreen Celtic. Cork City U21/Cobh Ramblers/Avondale United, four Intermediate Cups/Corinthians.
David Clancy, Fermoy. Captain Cork City youths, City U21.
Darren O’Connor, Lakewood. Schoolboy international, Colchester, USA, Cork City, Recruiting Director with Colchester.
Richard O’Donovan, Corinthians. Corinthians.
Steven Bruton: Cobh Ramblers. Cobh Ramblers.
John Forrest, Corinthians, Cobh Ramblers, managing Ramblers U15s.
John Egan, Greenwood. Irish International, now with Sheff Utd in Premier League.
Matthew Gledhill, Corinthians. Portsmouth, Boston, Sligo, Cork City and Midleton.
John Kavanagh, Ringmahon. Cork City/Finn Harps/Waterford United/ Cobh.
Craig Donnellan, Corinthians Cork City/Cobh/Corinthians.
George Gill, Springfield. Cork City, went to USA.
John Buttimer, Wilton United. Won Collingwood and MSL Championship with UCC.
Thomas O’Donovan, Rockmount. Cork City U17 and currently UCC.
Beineon O’Brien Whitmarsh, Corinthians. Cobh Ramblers and now with Cork City.
Oran Daly, Greenwood. Cork City U17 and U19. With City 2020.
Unis Kargbo, Ringmahon. Currently with Cork City first team.
Ian Drinan, Carrigaline. Playing MSL with Carrigaline.