Tom Caldwell, RC Helsing and Charles MacGowan Win 2019 Awards
The James Connolly Albany Rebels recognized individual players at their 2019 Annual General Meeting on Saturday at the Irish Hall in Albany. Midfielder Tom Caldwell was named Player of the Year, RC Helsing won Rookie of the Year and Charles MacGowan earned Most Improved Player.
Caldwell, who grew up in Killannin, Galway, brought the Rebels to a new level through his technical ability, physical play and knowledge of the game. He was a steady presence throughout the season.
At times when the team struggled, he became even more important because he pulled teammates along with willingness to do the dirty work in tackles. And he was nearly automatic when going for points.
“It is no coincidence that the Rebels had a very successful year after the addition of Tom," said Rebels coach Ryan Moloney. "The consistency of his on field performances as well as his high level of intensity both in trainings and in games brought our level of play to new heights. The job of coaching a team becomes much easier when you have a player like Tom to set an example."
Helsing was one of the big reasons the Rebels had such an outstanding season. He came to the team with natural speed and quickness but developed his ball skills and sense of the game. By the end of the season, he emerged as arguably the team’s best lockdown defender.
“RC was an amazing addition this year,” said Mark Adam. “By midway through the season, he was drawing the toughest assignments in games and he always got the job done. That allowed us to take away an opponent’s best offensive player before the match even started.”
Fullback Charles MacGowan developed into a steady defensive player for the Rebels this season. His tenacious defending and ball handling skills improved considerably from just a season ago, allowing him to appear in four of the team’s five full-sided matches.
"The thing that stands out the most about Charles is that he continually improves every part of his game," said Cillian Flavin. "He takes training seriously and it shows. His performances this year stood out when he played in our full, or half back lines. He won many 50/50 balls, and always attempts to get ahead of his man to win the ball on the run and transition the team from defence to attack. Charles thoroughly deserves this award."
Forward Tim Gerrish won Play of the Year for his game-winning goal against Calgary in the Montreal Tournament. The Rebels were down two points with less than a minute remaining, and a chance for the #1 seed in the group quickly vanishing. But Gerrish took the ball down the field on his own, being harassed the entire way, and scored a goal to give Albany a one-point victory. The Rebels went on to win the tournament championship.
Congratulations to all of the Rebels award winners!
The Rebels continue indoor winter training on Saturday, November 23 from 11 a.m. to Noon at the Sage College Armory in Albany. New players are always welcome.