Winners, seated, Debbie Torpey, Ellie Mai Gartland, Sanita Puspure Aoibheann O'Byrne, back Martin Quinn Chair Canon Hayes Sports awards, Darragh O'Donovan and Pat Ryan, Ger Browne. Photo: John Kelly
Over 200 guests and stars of track and field attended the 23rd annual Canon Hayes National Sports Awards Banquet on Saturday evening, hosted by Ballykisteen House Hotel near Tipperary town.
The Limerick Senior Hurling Team, World Rowing Champion Sanita Puspure, European Boxing Champion Ellie Mai Gartland, Tipperary U.21 Hurler Ger Browne and the Irish Women's Hockey Team were the big winners at the awards gala hosted by Canon Hayes Centre chairman Martin Quinn.
Mr Quinn paid tribute to all who had supported them over that period.
He said that they were a great celebration of sport on a local, county and national basis and that they were unique and the only one of their kind in the country.
“The awards were inaugurated in 1996 and over the years they have grown in importance and significance and are now rightfully regarded as being the most prestigious of their kind in the country,” said Mr Quinn.
There was a great air of celebration on the night with the presence of many of the country's top sportspeople, representatives from the Defence Forces, Gardai, local authorities, Olympic Council of Ireland, FAI Junior Council, Athletics Ireland, Army School of Equitation, and HSI Eventing.
The TASK National Award on the night went to the Limerick Senior Hurling Team, who received their Award from Billy Kennedy of the Olympic Council of Ireland. Midfielder Darragh O'Donovan and half forward Pat Ryan accepted the award on behalf of the Limerick Team. The other category nominees were the Irish Eventing World Silver Medal winning team who were represented by High Performance Chairman Don Hannigan and the Irish under age female track and field athletes who were medalists in the World and European.
Ciara Neville silver medalist in the U.20 4x100m relay and U.18 European gold medalist Rhasidat Adeleke were present to accept awards on the night.
The IPB County Award went to European Boxing Champion, Ellie Mai Gartland from Clonmel Boxing Club, ahead of the Presentation Secondary School, Thurles and the Tipperary U.21 Hurling Team.
The SIS Pitches Local Award went to U.21 Player of the Year, Ger Browne, from Knockavilla Donaskeigh GAA Club. Also in contention for this award was Junior International Shane Ryan from St. Michael's AFC and Tipperary Minor Hurling Captain, Johnny Ryan (Doe).
The GN Ballykisteen Hotel Outstanding Achievement Award went to World Rowing Champion, Sanita Puspure. Sanita spoke of her delight at winning the World Championships and her aim to win an Olympic Medal in Toyko 2020.
The Mick Doyle Golden Memory Award went to the Irish Women's Hockey Team, World Silver Medalists. Dynamic defender Yvonne O'Byrne from the Cork Harlequins Club was present to accept the award on behalf of the team and spoke of aspirations for the future to include Olympic success.
Debbie Torpey from Carrick Utd FC was the very popular winner of the Canon Hayes/Tipperary Sports Partnership Volunteer in Sport Award, receiving her Award from Isabel Cambie of the Tipperary Sports Partnership and Billy Kennedy, representing Olympic Council of Ireland. Debbie's work in the club and community and her pivotal role in the club's 'United against Suicide' awareness campaign was highlighted by Sports Centre Chairman, Martin Quinn, who was also host of the event.
Other nominees in this category included: Carmel Bradshaw, Ballina Camogie Club; Owen Doody, Cappawhite GAA club; Daniel Coffey, Galteemor kickboxing club; Noel O'Brien, Galtee Rovers Ladies Football Club; Aisling Hoey,Moycarkey Coolcroo Athletic Club, Mary Moroney, Silvermines Community Games; Liam Fleming, Siúl Eile Walking Group Clogheen; Eleanor McCahill, Tipperary Town Athletic Club; Joanne Duggan Tipperary Hockey Club; Martin Hehir, Tipperary Knights Basketball Club; Tom O'Donnell, West Tipperary Bord na nÓg.
It was a hugely successful 23rd Awards which brought a full house to the GN Ballykisteen Golf Hotel.