Beginning in 1989, the now annual Football Association of Ireland (FAI) Awards night is a time to celebrate Ireland’s stand-out players across various underage categories. Over its lifespan this ceremony has recognised the achievements of players, both males and female, from U-15 level, all the way up to those who have represented the Republic of Ireland at senior level.
It’s interesting to note the regional distribution of awards over the previous 28 ceremonies. While this post only focuses on the distribution of awards given to males, a future post will examine the distribution of awards for females. In total data is collected for awards given over the last 28 ceremonies, for U-15, U-16, U-17, U-19, U-21, Young Senior International of the Year and Senior International of the Year. As certain awards were not awarded in 1989, a total of 135 separate players of the year awards have been given across the various categories. Figure 1 charts the share of awards by region of birth for those who won player of the year from U-15 to U-21.
The second graph charts the Regional Distribution of players who have won either the Young Senior or Senior Player of the Year award.
Perhaps these findings shouldn’t be all that surprising. For instance, Dublin is Ireland’s most populous region and arguably the area where football is most popular. Therefore, it would be fair to assume that Dublin would have the largest share of awards given out.
However, those of a sceptical nature may look at the distribution of awards and ask a number of questions. Firstly, how are winners of these awards chosen? A search online doesn’t provide any indication but one might assume that it is some kind of committee which chooses the winners of these awards. If this is the case, that a committee or a number of individuals provide input into this selection, it would be interesting to know the regional distribution of these decision makers. For instance, perhaps these decision makers are all based or are from Dublin, hence the large representation of the region in the figures above. Of course, it may just be the case that players born in Dublin are better at Football than others, a theory the Dublin Men and Ladies Gaelic Football teams might agree with.