When he first won this award back in 2006, it was primarily his scoring prowess that caught the eye. Now, several years later, he still kicks great scores, but he has matured into a more complete footballer. He always seems to have time on the ball, he is unselfish with possession and his passing off either hand or foot is sublime. Operating primarily from midfield this year he could exert a greater influence on games and exhibited his ability to be in the right place at the right time on numerous occasions. His outstanding scoring-form throughout the championship is evidenced by the fact that he was far and away the leading marksman in the county, with a grand total of four goals and forty-six points. This feat is more notable considering Clann did not progress beyond the quarter-final stage.
Our award-winner has also given great service to his county, representing Roscommon at all grades right up to senior level. There have been many highlights in his playing-career for both club and county: he played a leading role when Clann na nGael’s under-14s won an All-Ireland Féile title in Carlow in 2002; his outstanding displays in the drawn and replayed finals were instrumental in Roscommon achieving minor all-Ireland glory in 2006, an occasion when his clubmate David Flynn was presented with the Tom Markham Cup; his great scoring tally of ten points, and particularly his vital late pointed free, contributed in no small way to Roscommon’s winning the senior Connacht championship in 2010; his goal midway through the second-half was the decisive score in Clann’s defeat of Padraig Pearses in 2015, helping the club to win its first senior county title in 19 years. It is hard to believe, citing all these great moments of a long and illustrious career, that our award-recipient is still only 28 and, as such, bears a lot of our hopes for future success for our flagship team.
Off the pitch our winner is a gentleman, generous with his time, especially when asked to engage with the club’s underage teams. He is always willing to coach teams or present medals, and the esteem he is held in ensures that he exerts a very positive influence on all our under-age players.
Our Player of the Year was presented with this award for the second time at last year’s dinner-dance. Members present that night will remember the great source of pride this was to his father, our great friend and clubman, Donal Shine Senior. Donal was then bravely battling serious illness and sadly passed away a brief few months later. We can be in no doubt that he is looking down with fondness on our gathering tonight and joining with his family and all Clann na nGael supporters in taking pride in the great performances that ensured that our Player of the Year for 2017 is: