Jake walks away with LSL Award

by Jonny Stapleton
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Jonny Stapleton

Possibly for the first time in the history of Player of the Season gongs there was no argument or debate.

Jake Walker was the standout player of the most recent LSL Senior Sunday season, according to the amateur top-flight managers.

It seemed an easy choice for those tasked with making difficult decisions week in and week out as all those who answered the Dublin Gazette’s Player of the Season call highlighted the Crumlin front man as star of the Senior Sunday show.

Walker signed for Crumlin from St Patrick’s Athletic last summer and produced the kind of season that suggests it won’t be long until he returns to the League of Ireland.

The 21-year-old striker’s goals were a major part of Crumlin United’s league title win. He scored 22 league goals in 23 league games in his first-ever full senior season and found the net 26 times overall last term, and only for Crumlin’s poor cup form he could have broken the 30-goal mark. It was the kind of year that earned the goal-getter praise from managers across the division when we reached out to them to get their picks.

Bluebell manager for last season and a coach that knows all about playing up front at a higher level, Shane ‘Mario’ Dolan believes Walker is ‘too good for this level’, something echoed by Liffey Wanders’ boss Declan Hevey.

Wayside manager Ross Zambra said he was an easy choice, while former across-the-water pros Gary Howlett and Keith Foy were fans of Walker’s work.

28 May 2021; Gordon Walker of Cork City in action against Jake Hegarty of Cobh Ramblers during the SSE Airtricity League First Division match between Cobh Ramblers and Cork City at St Colman’s Park in Cobh, Cork. Photo by Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

We asked managers to pick a player not from their club, meaning Crumlin manager James Lee couldn’t choose his striker, so he went for Jack O’Connor of Maynooth University Town.

Considering he scored 20 plus goals, Gareth McCafferty also deserves a mention, while goal-scoring left back Leon Hayes, Sean Rodgers, Sam Simpson and Stephen Chambers were all names that came up in the discussion but there was only ever going to be one winner.  

Gary Howlett

(Killester Donny)

Player of the Season

“Jake Walker of Crumlin United for his goals and all round play.”

Killester Player of the Season

“Sean Rogers for his overall displays throughout the season, his attacking play and goals playing from a full-back position and topped off with an international call up.”

Ross Zambra (Wayside)

Player of the Season

“An easy one in my opinion. Jake Walker, Crumlin United. His first year in the league, scores all types of goals, I believe he got 26, only 21 years of age, a massive reason why Crumlin won the league. The standout player for me.”

Wayside Celtic Player of the Season

“Dean Mahon. After a tough start, he went from strength to strength. Making some terrific saves, almost single-handedly winning us points. We believe he is developing into one of the best keepers in the league.”

Shane Dolan (Bluebell)

Player of the Season

“Jake Walker from Crumlin, he’s the perfect all round No 9, too good for this level.”

Bluebell United Player of the Season

“Leon Hayes, our left-full. He was excellent all year and finished as our second highest scorer.”

James Lee (Crumlin Utd)

Player of the Season

“My choice would be Jack O’Connor from Maynooth, We played them three times this season and he scored in all three games. He is a top player on his day playing for a top team on their day.

Keith Foy (Kilnamanagh)

Player of the Season

“Jake Walker, for someone’s first season in the LSL top flight at such a young age to score 26 goals is a great achievement.”

Kilnamanagh Player of the Season

“Dean Clarke, he scored some unbelievable goals and important goals for us throughout the season.”

Declan Hevey

(Liffey Wanderers)

Player of the Season

“I thought Jake Walker of Crumlin was way too good for LSL football and was massive for them. He needs to be in the League of Ireland!”

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