The Tipperary Amateur Sports Stars of the Year will be presented with their Annerville Awards (sponsored by Bulmers) by the Tipperary United Sports Panel at the Panel's annual function at Hotel Minella, Clonmel on Saturday night, January 29th.
The Panel was founded in 1959 and this will be the 52nd presentation of its annual awards.
The members of the United Sports Panel are chairman, Liam O'Donnchu (Littleton); secretary, Seamus King (Cashel); treasurer, Ken Conway (Clonmel); and committee – Jimmy Cooney, Johnny O'Loughlin, Eamonn Wynne, Davy Hallinan, Richie Blanche and David Clancy (all Clonmel); Seamus McCarthy (Bansha) and James Holohan (Kilsheelan).
Tickets for Annerville Awards
Some tickets for the presentation of the Annerville Awards at Hotel Minella, Clonmel on Saturday night, January 29th, are still available from Ken Conway, treasurer of the Tipperary United Sports Panel. He may be contacted at 087-6784510.
Patsy Fitzgerald, Glengoole
One of the unsung heroes of Irish athletics is Patsy Fitzgerald from Glengoole. During a glittering career that spanned almost two decades the farmer from the townland of Poynstown won an incredible 34 All-Ireland medals and numerous county and provincial medals over the cross-country and track circuits.
He competed with two associations, the NACA(I) and the AAU, and represented his association on three occasions in international cross-country championships.
He began his career as a teenager when he ran away with the Tipperary novice cross-country championship, his first race, the start of an impressive trail that he was to blaze through Irish athletics.
That was 1946 and the young Fitzgerald was about to take the athletics scene by storm. He won the All-Ireland Junior Championship and captured his first Senior All-Ireland cross-country as a 17 year-old in Mount Merrion in Dublin, when he crossed the finishing line some 200 yards ahead of the next competitor.
The following year was no less successful, as he added to his burgeoning reputation by retaining the All-Ireland Senior and Junior events, as well as adding the All-Ireland U-18 championship to his haul of medals.
He also had his first taste of international competition in 1947 when he ran cross-country for Ireland at an event in Paris. In the next four years he had the honour of representing his country in Reading, Baldoyle in Dublin, Brussels, Newport in Wales and Glasgow.
By 1952 he had achieved a record when he won his fifth senior title in-a-row. He then crowned a glorious career when he captured the 10 mile national championship at Shelbourne Stadium, breaking the record for the distance.
Lar Corbett, Thurles Sarsfields
Lar Corbett scored 3-11 in Tipp's march to a second successive All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final and he was again at his predatory best in the final.
The Cats stood on the brink of history as they attempted to win an unprecedented fifth All-Ireland in-a-row but the Thurles Sarsfields player proved a deadly executioner, as he drove a stake through Kilkenny hearts to shatter their dreams.
He became the first man in 40 years to score a hat-trick of goals in the All-Ireland Final and pounced for the opener in the 10th minute to send his team on their way to a famous victory. John Tennyson's hurley, thrown in desperation in a fruitless attempt to stop him in his tracks, couldn't distract him from burying the second early in the second half, after he collected a sumptuous pass from Noel McGrath and raced clear from the evaporating Kilkenny cover.
He stylishly slammed home the third in additional time, displaying a deftness of touch and amazing skill as Tipp rammed home their superiority to give an epic contest the finale it deserved.
Hours after the final whistle sounded he was named man of the match and that opened the floodgates on an impressive collection of awards.
Before the year was out he had won the Texaco Award, the Vodafone/GAA Hurler of the Year Award, his second All-Star and the GPA Award, before being chosen for his second successive Annerville Award.
Lar put the seal on a never-to-be-forgotten year when he helped Thurles Sarsfields retain the County Senior Hurling Championship, as they comfortably overcame Clonoulty/Rossmore in the final.
Evan Lynch, Clonmel AC
In the past 12 months Evan Lynch has made a name for himself on the national and international front as a race walker of excellence.
He won the Boys U-16 2 kilometres walk at the national championships in Tullamore in a time of 13 minutes and 56 seconds, which was just one of the many records that he set during the year.
He also set a new record when winning the Munster Championships in Castleisland, shaving 17 seconds off the old record held by his father and coach Frank Lynch.
Evan was selected to represent Ireland in the Isle of Man HSBC Games and won the 3 kilometres Open Race in a personal best performance of 13.55.
He also won the National Schools Championship in Tullamore, taking the boys junior walk event in a schools record time that topped the old record by 3 seconds.
He represented Munster proudly in the Tailteann Games and won his event comfortably. His performance there led to him being chosen to represent Ireland in a schools international in Glasgow in July. He won the boys 3 kilometres walk and recorded a new personal best, as well as claiming an international title.
If all of that wasn't enough, he won further gold medals in the East Munster Schools championship, the Munster Schools, the County Club championships and the Munster U-20 Indoors, as well as silver in the Munster U-20 Outdoors.
He was also invited to participate in the Senior Men's 3 kilometres walk at the Cork City Sports in the company of senior Olympians, when the fastest 3 kilometres in the world in 2010 was performed by Luke Adams of Australia.
Elaine Fitzgerald, Glengoole and Neptune RC, Dublin
Last September Elaine Fitzgerald called time on a rowing career that spanned 12 years and she had the satisfaction of bowing out at the top, having enjoyed her most successful season ever.
Her partnership with Claire Ludlow from Belfast proved a winning one and last season they were unbeaten in Ireland in the Women's Senior Pairs.
The Women's Henley Regatta in Junewas the scene of their memorable success in the Elite Lightweight Pairs. This was the first time for a Neptune crew to claim victory in a women's event at the prestigious Henley event.
Elaine and Claire were then selected to row for Ireland in the lightweight pair at The Home Internationals held in Cork in July, and they beat Scotland by 2 feet in a thrilling race.
The Irish Rowing Championships were held in September and they put the icing on the cake by winning theWomen's Senior Pair Championship, Neptune's 150th in total.
All of that success was ample reward for Elaine's dedication to rowing. Her commitment saw her train an average eight times a week from September to July for each of the last 12 years in a career that started with the Star Club in Bedford, England, and took her to Carlow Rowing Club for a year before a seven-year stint with the Neptune Club in Dublin, where she really made a name for herself.
Clonmel High School
Clonmel High School had one of the greatest days in their proud sporting history in Portarlington in April when they won their first All-Ireland Gaelic Football Championship, beating St. Attracta's from Tubbercurry in the All-Ireland Colleges Senior B Football Final.
They were pushed all the way by the Connacht champions, who led by 4 points during the first half. The Sligo team were still ahead as a pulsating contest entered the final quarter. But the only goal of the game, scored by Liam Boland, swung the the game in Clonmel's favour and they held out for a narrow but deserved victory.
The All-Ireland crown was the final step on a long road travelled by the team and their coaches Tony Gleeson and Chris Allen. They had started training the previous September and plotted a course through the County and Munster Championships before their voyage ended in All-Ireland glory.
A fantastic year for Gaelic Football in the High School was crowned by the U-16 and a half team, who won the Munster A, Fruen Cup Final when they beat St. Brendan's of Killarney in the final.
Wayne Fitzgerald, Carrick United
Wayne Fitzgerald's talent was deservedly recognised on the national stage when he was named Junior International Player of the Year at the FAI's annual awards ceremony in August.
Wayne had also been nominated the previous season and he was chosen ahead of some of the country's top players.
The FAI award was a fitting reward for another consistent season, the highlight of which was the Munster Junior Cup that Carrick United regained when they beat Clonmel Town 2-0 in the final, after extra time, in Cahir.
The game was delicately poised in the second period of extra time, with United 1-0 ahead, when Wayne made a penetrating run from his own half and picked out Glen Keane, who scored the insurance goal, as the Carrick team repeated their 2004 success over Clonmel Town.
He also helped Carrick regain the Waterford Premier League crown – their eighth in 11 years - and the team suffered only one defeat in the 2009/10 season, when they lost to St. Michael's in the FAI Junior Cup.
Wayne was also proud to wear his country's green shirt and was one of four Carrick United players included in the Irish squad that took part in an International Quadrangular Tournament hosted by the Northern Ireland FA last spring.
His participation in that tournament brought his Irish junior caps total to 13.
Aisling N Cheallaigb
15 year-old Clonmel swimmer Aisling ni Cheallaig made significant progress in the pool in the past 12 months.
As a member of the Clonmel club's Elite squad she secured a place in the Munster Senior Squad and in April represented the province at an event in Cardiff, winning gold in the 100 metres front crawl.
Then in August she again struck gold, this time in the 50 metres backstroke at the National Community Games in Athlone. This was a significant achievement, as she became the first Tipperary swimmer to win Community Games gold in 14 years and was the only swimmer from the county to do so in 2010.
As a Junior swimmer she qualified for all the national senior competitions and overall proved a prolific competitor, swimming in twelve galas with great success.
In the past few months Aisling has again qualified for the Munster Senior Squad, courtesy of an impressive time of I minute, 9.2 seconds for the 100 metres backstroke recorded at the National Short Course Championships held in Galway in November.
Aisling and another Clonmel swimmer, Neal Butler, who has also been chosen for Munster's best squad, are now preparing for some specialist training in the coming months as they attempt to reach the next level in the sport.
Burgess/Duharra senior team
Burgess/Duharra reached the Holy Grail in 2010 by winning the County Senior Championship for the first time.
The team lifted the cup at the conclusion of a gruelling campaign that saw them play 10 championship games in 9 weeks,which included a semi-final replay and extra time in the final.
They had already beaten champions Cashel in the league series but knew they would be a different proposition in the semi-final and so it proved, as Cashel came from 5 points down with 5 minutes remaining to snatch a draw.
The replay was equally close and Burgess/Duharra's prospects hung in the balance until the final moments when captain Eimear McDonnell, despite nursing a hand injury, drove a penalty to the net and added another point to give them a 2-points victory.
The win compensated for their defeat by Cashel in the previous year's final and set them up for a final showdown with Toomevara.
This proved another Titanic struggle, one that went to extra time, and Burgess/Duharra showed tremendous self-belief, character and determination to hold out against a fierce onslaught by Toomevara in the final five minutes to nail the victory.
Michael O'Loughlin, Dan Morrissey Carrick Wheelers
Michael O'Loughlin completed the sometimes difficult step-up from the U-12 grade to U-14 in fine style. So smooth was the transition that he ended the season as All-Ireland champion, showing his class to leave the opposition behind on the last lap of the road race for a deserved solo victory.
He also took home the cup for the best overall under 13 rider in the country and two bronze medals from the event in Co. Tyrone.
Michael was also successful at the National Community Games Finals in Athlone, becoming the first cyclist to win his event for the fourth year in-a-row. He won all eight hot spot sprints in the semi-final and repeated the feat in the final the following day, for the most impressive of his four wins.
In April the young Carrick cyclist produced a devastating sprint to win the Tommy Sheehan Memorial in Carrick-on-Suir. A fortnight later he competed in the Kanturk two-day race and gradually improved from a seventh place finish in the opening stage to finish second in the individual time trial and win the final stage to clinch the overall title.
He travelled as the youngest member of the Munster team to the Mayo Youth Tour over the August Bank Holiday weekend. In the biggest stage race for youth riders in Europe, he assumed the overall race leadership in the second stage and held onto the yellow jersey by countering all attacks in an exciting final criterium around the streets of Kiltimagh.
This victory ensured that he finished the weekend as the only Irish winner.
SEAN LYONS SPORTS EXECUTIVE AWARD
Tipperary Senior Hurling Management
According to Shane McGrath, only three people believed that Tipperary could bounce back and win the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship after they were humbled by Cork in the first round of the Munster Championship in May.
Tipp left Pairc Ui Chaoimh with their tails between their legs after a 10-points defeat and their prospects of reaching a second successive All-Ireland Final looked bleak, never mind regaining the McCarthy Cup for the county after 9 years.
However manager Liam Sheedy, coach Eamon O'Shea and selector Michael Ryan kept faith in their players, often in the face of harsh criticism both from within and outside the county.
As the campaign progressed Tipp gradually regained their rhythm and the management team steered the team through the qualifiers, beating Wexford and Offaly before edging out Galway in an exciting quarter-final.
A seven points semi-final victory over Waterford set up a re-match with all-conquering Kilkenny in the decider and Sheedy, O'Shea and Ryan played a pivotal role in the success, masterminding the defeat of a team going for five-in-a-row to claim Tipperary's 26th All-Ireland title with one of their most famous successes ever.
The journey that started in despair in Cork ended in a glorious triumph at Croke Park, thanks to the the incredible bond that had been forged between the management team and their players, as they shared the highs and lows of a memorable journey.
Less than five weeks after the McCarthy Cup had been reclaimed Liam Sheedy, Eamon O'Shea and Michael Ryan stepped down, but their relatively short and spectacular reign has left a rich legacy that will nurture Tipperary hurling well into the future.
Fergal Collins, Ballina
Fergal Collins from the Ballina club in North Tipperary once again enjoyed a very successful year, winning both the 40 x 20 and 60 x 30 U-21 All-Ireland Singles titles.
In April he travelled to Moycullen in Galway to take on the Connacht champion Stephen Cooney from Mayo. In a very closely contested final Fergal won by 21/17, 18/21, 21/16.
He spent the summer in America and competed in many USHA tournaments, playing against some world class players. He returned for the 60 x 30 championships and in the All-Ireland final played in Talbot's Inch in Kilkenny in September he beat local man Ciaran Neary 21/13, 21/8.
Fergal also reached the U-21 Doubles final, partnered by clubman Declan Gleeson, but they were beaten in the final in Thurles by Ciaran Neary and Patrick Funchion from Kilkenny.
His success in the U-21 grade was notable, as he is again underage for this year's championships. The current holder for Feile Skills, his future looks very promising as he progresses towards the senior ranks.
Con Sheehan, Clonmel
Con Sheehan left no room for argument as to his heavyweight credentials when he captured his third Irish Senior Championship at the beginning of 2010.
The Clonmel boxer was hampered by a hand injury for part of the year but still managed to produce some remarkable performances.
One of those saw him beat the 2007 World senior champion and Beijing Olympic silver medallist Clemente Russo when he represented Ireland in an international contest against Italy in Dublin.
In another international, this time against the United States in Belfast, he defeated Golden Gloves champion Roberto Antonio Morban.
Con also won a silver medal in a senior multi-nations tournament in the Czech Republic, and during the year he represented his country on numerous other occasions and beat boxers from the Ukraine, China, Bulgaria and Armenia.
Thurles Ladies Golf
Champagne corks popped at Thurles Golf Club on a Sunday night in September after the club's Inter-Club ladies fourball team were crowned All-Ireland champions.
The team wrote a glorious chapter in the club's history, which stretched back 101 years, when they won the title after they emerged from a starting field of 220 clubs to win a first ladies championship for Thurles.
The team, managed by Joan Butler and Joan Purcell, had beaten Nenagh, Templemore, Carrick-on-Suir, Castletroy and Youghal to win the Southern Region pennant and a place in the All-Ireland semi-finals at Glasson Golf Club, near Athlone.
There they beat a team from Rockmount Golf Club, near Belfast, on the countback by one hole to qualify for the final the following day, where they faced Eastern Region champions, Milltown of Dublin.
The final produced an afternoon of thrilling golf and in a nail-biting finish Thurles secured the win on the 20th hole, where Fionnuala Corcoran sank the winning putt to the delight of her team mates, management and a large crowd of supporters.
Antonio McGrath, Ursuline School, Thurles and Harlequins, Cork
Young hockey player Antonia McGrath from Moycarkey enjoyed a great season on several fronts.
She played senior with Cork club Harlequins and was on the team that captured the provincial double, winning the Munster League and Cup.
Harlequins finished runners-up in the All-Ireland Hockey League and Antonia scored the winning goal in the semi-final.
She was the only Tipp girl selected on the Munster U-18 and Irish teams and was joint vice-captain of the U-16 Irish team that competed in a Eurohockey tournament in Barcelona in July.
She was also included in the U-17 Irish Olympic team that took part in the Youth Olympics in Singapore.
The 16 year-old was also on the U-18 Munster team that participated in an inter-provincial tournament in Dublin in October.
Elsewhere Antonia added to her medals collection when she played on the Ursuline Secondary School team from Thurles that won the Munster Schools Junior Hockey Cup. Her selection earlier this month on the Irish U-18 squad means she can look forward to another good year.
Sarah Corcoran, Thurles and Trinity College, Dublin
One of the best squash players in the country, Sarah Corcoran starred on both women's and men's teams during the year.
She was the number one seed and won all her matches for the Trinity College Ladies A team that won the Intervarsity Championship, beating the champions of the previous five years DCU.
She also lined out for Trinity's Men's B Intervarsity team as their number one as they finished third in their championship.
Trinity were also successful in the Leinster Ladies Division One League, lifting the title with Sarah Corcoran as their number two seed, the same number she occupied for the Trinity team in the Leinster Ladies Premier League.
Further success followed in Trinity's matches against UCD in the annual Colours tie and against the Oxford Ladies A team.
She also substituted as the number two and one in the Leinster Men's Division 5 and 6 Leagues throughout the year.
She made her mark at the national level too and was selected on the Irish Ladies Development Squad, along with professional players including world number five Madeleine Perry and world number 23 Aisling Blake.
Sarah has moved up from 12 to 9 in the latest Irish Senior Ladies rankings and is currently ranked number one in the Trinity Ladies rankings. She's now the number one seed as captain of the Trinity side that's competing in this season's Leinster Ladies Premier League.
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