GAA All Star and GPA awards merger announced

Dessie Farrell and Christy Cooney
Dessie Farrell and Christy Cooney pictured at the announcement of the merger

The GAA All Star awards and the GPA awards are to merge this year, with the achievements of Ireland's outstanding footballers and hurlers recognised jointly for the first time.

The GAA, GPA All-Stars 2011, sponsored by Opel, will mark a new departure for both bodies.

The awards will be presented at a gala event in Dublin on 21 October.

This year's tour, involving the 2010 and 2011 hurling sections, will visit San Francisco in late November.

Commenting on the announcement GAA President Christy Cooney said: "This is a further indication of the ongoing co-operation with our players and I acknowledge the assistance of Dessie Farrell and his team in helping to bring us to this point."

"We will work to ensure that the All-Star awards remain amongst the most coveted in Irish sport."

GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell commented: "The announcement of a joint awards scheme was a logical step in the partnership between the GAA and the players' association and reflects the strengthening relationship between both bodies.

"While it was not feasible to keep two awards schemes in operation it was important for both organistaions that the integrity of the respective awards was appreciated under the new arrangement."

The new arrangement will see a committee of GAA journalists select the All-Star team.

Player of the Year and Player of the Month awards will be awarded by the intercounty playing group.

There will also be Player of the Year awards for the best player in the Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups for weaker hurling counties, and two Young Player of the Year awards.