Golf Annerville award winner Donnacha Cleary with his proud parents Pat and Mary at the awards ceremony held in Clonmel last Saturday pictures: john d kelly
The stars of Tipperary sport, their families and friends attended a night of celebration to mark their achievements at a function held in Clonmel on Saturday night.
The United Sports Panel hosted a function to present the Annerville Awards for 2021 honouring the sports stars of the Premier County.
The prestigious Knocknagow Award was presented to Ann Carroll,a camogie star of the past.
The Jimmy Cooney Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Clonmel referee Billy O’Donoghue while Clonmel woman Rosemary Gaffney was presented with the Special Achievement Award after she represented Ireland at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
The Outstanding Achievement Award for 2020 was presented to the Tipperary senior football team while the 2020 Knocknagow Award was a posthumous award to the Tipperary senior football team that played on Bloody Sunday in 1920.
It was a very special night for the Loughmore/ Castleiney club with John McGrath taking both the hurling and gaelic football Annerville award while their fellow clubman Frankie McGrath was presented with the Sean Lyons Sports Executive Award.
The basketball award went to Gráinne Dwyer, who was part of the Ireland squad that reached the final of the FIBA Women’s European Championship for Small Countries in Nicosia, Cyprus in July.
The camogie award was won by Mary Ryan who donned the Tipperary senior jersey for an incredible 17th season. The former All-Star also enjoyed great success with her club Moneygall.
Rowing award winner Clonmel’s Daire Lynch put Tokyo Olympic gold medalists Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy and Rio silver medalist Gary O’Donovan in the shade when finishing ahead of all three rowers to win the senior men’s single scull national championship at the National Rowing Centre on Inniscarra Lake in Cork.
Caoimhe Perdue took the hockey award in a year in which her importance to the Irish junior (Under 21) team was underlined by her elevation to the role of joint captain.
Tipperary Town and Abbey CBS student Donnacha Cleary was crowned the Irish Under 16 Boys champion after winning a six-hole play-off at Cahir Park Golf Club and for his exploits he was awarded the golf Annerville award.
The motorsport award was won by Nicole Drought. When she gets behind the wheel of her car she races mostly against men, but that has proved no deterrent to Nicole Drought. In a two-hour race on the Silverstone Grand Prix track, which was the Hyundai car’s debut in the Britcar series, Nicole was the winner and was also awarded the prestigious Driver of The Day award, becoming the first Irish person to win the accolade.
The equestrian award went to Carlow’s Sam Watson who was a member of Ireland’s eventing team at the Tokyo Olympics, following in the illustrious footsteps of his father, Clonmel man John Watson, who was an Olympian at Seoul in 1988.
Fethard woman Dorothy Wall took the rugby award in a year in which she blossomed into one of the Irish senior team’s most important players. She showed tremendous leadership qualities and scored three tries in three Six Nations games.
Clonmel woman Aoife Hanrahan won the kayaking a award. She made history in Paris last October when winning Ireland’s first-ever women’s medal at the European Freestyle Kayak Championships, and claiming the huge honour of being the first Irish woman to stand on a podium at an International Canoe Federation event.
2021 was a busy year for Sean Tobin. Following on from his superb national road record over four miles in Clonmel in December of 2020, he began the New Year on the European indoor circuit. He established a new personal best in Metz , France and reached the final of the European indoor championships in Torum, Poland where he posted another personal best. He was the worthy recipient of the athletics award.
In a year during which Rachael Blackmore broke glass ceilings, another female jockey in Tipperary blazed her own trail in the sport and was named the winner of the Annerville horse racing award.
Liz Lalor’s victory on the David Christie-owned horse On The Sod at Moig South in County Limerick at the end of November saw her equal Helen Bryce-Smith’s all-time tally of 109 winners by a female jockey in point-to-point racing.
“Tipperary is a place where we should honour our sports stars because they do tend to be very good,” said Deputy Mayor of Clonmel Cllr John Fitzgerald.
He congratulated all of the winners on their achievements and on being named as an Annerville sports award winner.
He praised them all for their dedication and wished them all further success in the years ahead.
Speaking on behalf of sponsors Bulmers, Anthony Wall, who also accepted an award on behalf of his rugby star daughter Dorothy who could not be present, described the Annerville award winners as remarkable athletes.
He said the award granted to each winner was a reflection on not only the individuals concerned but also their respective sports.
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