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Defender Dunne picked as Ireland's best

Published: Monday 27 February 2012, 10.27CET
Aston Villa's Richard Dunne has been named as the Republic of Ireland's player of the year and was praised by national team captain Robbie Keane and club manager Alex McLeish.
by Aidan Fitzmaurice
from Dublin
Defender Dunne picked as Ireland's best
Richard Dunne (second right) proved crucial to Ireland's qualification ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 27 February 2012, 10.27CET

Defender Dunne picked as Ireland's best

Aston Villa's Richard Dunne has been named as the Republic of Ireland's player of the year and was praised by national team captain Robbie Keane and club manager Alex McLeish.

Richard Dunne's form with the Republic of Ireland, and especially his performance in the 0-0 draw away to Russia in the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifiers, been recongised with the defender named as the country's international player of the year on Sunday night.

Aston Villa FC centre-back Dunne was not in his home town of Dublin to collect his as he is convalescing at his club from a shoulder injury. "I saw the game in Russia where he was a one-man defence and he probably deserves the award for that performance alone," said Villa manager Alex McLeish as he presented the award to Dunne on behalf of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

Dunne said: "It was a great season with Ireland, a great night when we qualified against Estonia and hopefully that's a taste of what's to come in the summer."

Ireland captain Robbie Keane believes the defender will be missed in Wednesday’s friendly game against the Czech Republic but Keane, who played alongside Dunne for Villa during a spell on loan from LA Galaxy, believes Dunne will be fit again in time for the finals. "I'm sure Richard will be back in time, I hope he gets fit because he is a key player for us," said Keane.

Defender Darren O'Dea, on loan from Celtic FC to Leeds United AFC, was picked as the young player of the year while Darron Gibson's strike for the Republic at home to Wales was named goal of the year in a poll of TV viewers.

Last updated: 11/04/12 11.43CET

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