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Derry City striker Eamon Zayed was named as the PFAI’s Player of the Year on Saturday night in Dublin at a gala dinner organized by the Irish professional footballers’ association. He was chosen by his fellow League of Ireland professionals.


It is a remarkable story: in January this year Eamon Zayed was still looking for a club. He joined Team PFAI and participated in the FIFPro Winter Tournament in Oslo. Several weeks after the FIFPro Winter Tournament the player of the Libyan national team signed a contract with Derry City.


Almost a year later, Zayed lifted the most coveted of the players’ awards after a season in which he scored 22 league goals for Derry City and helped the Candystripes to yet another League Cup success.


Zayed thanked his club manager Stephen Kenny for the positive impact he has had on his career and expressed the hope that he will be able to cement his place in the Libya squad at a friendly tournament next month in the Middle East ahead of the African Cup of Nations in the new year. ‘I wasn’t able to go the last time I was called up’, said the 28-year-old, ‘but I’m hoping to make a good impression this time and I’d love to go to the Nations Cup.’


Enda Stevens picked up the Young Player Award after another hugely successful season at Shamrock Rovers and ahead of his upcoming move to Aston Villa in January next year.


Richard Dunne (Aston Villa) won the International Player Award while The Best Player of the First Division Award went to Cork City’s Graham Cummins for the second year in succession.


PFAI AWARDS winners: 
Player of the year
Eamon Zayed (Derry City)


Young player of the year
Enda Stevens (Shamrock Rovers)


First Division player of the year
Graham Cummins (Cork City)


Irish overseas player of the year
Richard Dunne (Aston Villa)


Referee of the year
Neil Doyle


PFAI Merit Award
Fran Ray (from Dublin District Schoolboys League)



International goal keeping coach Alan Kelly hands over the award to Eamon Zayed




(With Irish Times)