The James Connolly Albany Rebels celebrated a successful season at their end of year party Friday evening at the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Albany. The Board of Directors each gave a report to recap the year and individual awards were handed out.
Mark Adam was named Player of the Year, Connor Stark won Rookie of the Year and Paul Acosta earned Most Improved Player.
“There were many worthy contenders for Player of the Year,” coach Cillian Flavin said,” so winning the accolade this year really means a lot. Mark stood out for his ability to influence games. When the team needed someone most Mark was there, with a score, or a tough tackle, or a lung bursting run to relieve his defence when they were under pressure. It is this leadership quality that makes Mark stand out and makes him so deserving of the 2016 Player of the Year Award.”
Stark was one of many important new additions to the team this season. He brought energy, a strong skill set and a healthy attitude from the very first training.
“Connor is a direct runner with pace to burn and physicality to match,” Flavin said. “He is equally at home in the half back, half forward, or midfield lines and his competitive nature adds an intensity to the team that makes us much more threatening to the opposition. Connor can only get better, which we very much look forward to seeing.”
Acosta has been with the Rebels for a number of years and has always been a key member of the team. He made the switch to full-back this year and really anchored the defense.
“Paul winning the Most Improved Player Award this year in no way diminishes his prior contributions but it is indicative of the key role he has played in our games this year,” Flavin said. “Paul rescued us on so many occasions this year with fantastic last ditch tackling that prevented goals and points that proved crucial in some close games. Paul has an uncanny knack for intercepting a ball played to an attacker and immediately putting us on the front foot. It brings comfort to know that he is one of the last lines of defence.”
The Rebels begin indoor winter training on Friday, November 18 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Afrim’s Sports in Colonie. New players are always welcome.