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UCD's Collie O'Neill and Gary O'Neill win First Division Manager and Player of the Year at PFAI Awards

Sun, Nov 11 2018

O'Neill looks set to stay on for UCD's first season back at the top level. Credit: Eoin Smith (ETPhotos)

UCD manager Collie O’Neill has been named PFAI First Division Manager of the Year, while captain Gary O’Neill took the division’s Player of the Year award.

The two O’Neills, who aren’t related, were central to the Students’ successful campaign which saw them promoted as champions and narrowly miss out on an FAI Cup with defeat to Dundalk.

Drogheda native Collie O’Neill took the reins at UCD in 2014 following the Students’ relegation from the top tier and has overseen promotion challenges in each year since.

In 2015, he led the club into the Europa League qualifying rounds after they won the Fair Play award, where they upset the odds to beat professional Luxembourgian side F91 Dudelange on away goals.

Tralee native Gary O’Neill joined College at the beginning of that 2015 season after spending time in the UK with Hereford United.

O’Neill played in all four European games that season, against Dudelange and Slovan Bratislava, and was nominated for Player of the Year as joint top scorer the following season.

He scored ten goals in the league as UCD finally made their way back to the top level as champions.

The 23-year-old looks set to remain at Belfield for their first season back at Premier Division level after re-enrolling in the college.