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Barr takes top gong at 2016 Irish Life Health National Athletics Awards


Thomas Barr crowned Athlete of the Year at the 2016 Irish Life Health National Athletics Awards

Thomas Barr (Ferrybank) was named as the Athlete of the Year at the Irish Life Health National Athletics Awards which took place on Wednesday 30th of November in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry.

Barr grabbed the country’s attention with his sparkling performances at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro which culminated in an agonising, but magnificent, fourth place finish in the 400m Hurdles in a world class time of 47.97 seconds.

Barr came out on top ahead of Robert Heffernan (Togher) for the top gong who won the Endurance Athlete of the Year award with his excellent 6th in the 50km Race Walk at the Olympics. Athletics Ireland were also delighted to acknowledge the retrospective rewarding of his Olympic bronze medal from London 2012 and Olive Loughnane's world gold medal from Berlin 2009.

Marcus O’Sullivan was inducted into the Hall of Fame for 2016. His long list of achievements includes:  three gold medals at the World Indoor Championships over 1500m in 1987 (Indianapolis), 1989 (Budapest) and 1993 (Toronto); third all-time with total sub-4 minute miles, at 101; 1500m silver at the 1985 European Athletics Indoor Championships; qualified for four Olympic Games in 1984, 1988, 1992, and 1996, at both 800 metres and 1500 metres. He reached the 1500 metre final at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

He set an indoor 1500 metres world record of 3:35.4 on 10 February 1989, and won the prestigious Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games six times (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, and 1996).

His personal best for the mile, which was set indoors in 1988, is 3:50.94. His personal best for the 1500 metres, which was set outdoors in 1996, is 3:33.61.

O'Sullivan, along with Ray Flynn, Eamonn Coghlan, and Frank O'Mara established the still standing world record in the 4 x 1 mile relay, when they combined in Dublin on August 17, 1985 to run 15:49.08.

He is currently the head coach of Villanova and recently coached his 16th national champion Patrick Tiernan to the NCAA Cross Country title.

While the National Athletics Awards is a celebration of the many successes of our international and national it also commemorates the association’s exceptional volunteer base. Liam Hennessy was named as the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient – the pinnacle volunteer award. Michael O’Hart won the Outstanding Official of the Year.

It was an historic year in Irish athletics with Georgina Drumm becoming the first female President – also the first in Europe.  

President Drumm recalled a great year including Phil Healy’s (Bandon) magnificent ‘from the depths of hell’ relay performance that went viral all around the world. Today also marks the 60th anniversary to the day of Ronnie Delany’s Olympic 1500m gold medal winning performance.   

“Our talented and dedicated athletes gave us great performances and an athletics year to remember. The list is long including Ciara Mageean, Thomas Barr, Robert Heffernan, Fionnuala Mc Cormack, Mark English and of course Phil Healy’s inspirational performance at the University Championships.

“The National Awards gives Athletics Ireland the opportunity to formally acknowledge our coaches officials and clubs for their enormous contribution to the success of our sport.

“We wish all our athletes success at the forthcoming European Cross Country Championships.

“With a long list of Major International Events planned for 2017 we look forward to another great year of Athletics.”

Award Winners

Athlete of the Year: Thomas Barr (Ferrybank)

Hall of Fame: Marcus O’Sullivan

Lifetime service to Athletics: Liam Hennessy

Official of the year: Michael O’Hart

U20 Athlete: Adam King (Iveragh)

U23 Athlete: Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (DSD)

Endurance: Robert Heffernan (Togher)

Track & Field: Thomas Barr (Ferrybank)

Inspirational Performance: Phil Healy (Bandon)

Performance Club: Clonliffe Harriers

Development Club: Cushinstown AC

Team of the Year: Women’s Senior Team European Cross Country Championships

Service to Coaching: Donie Walsh (Leevale)

European Athletics award for coaching: Hayley and Drew Harrison

Mountain Runner: M35 Team Mountain Running World Champions

Master Athlete: Brian Lynch

Ultra Athlete: Eoin Keith (Sportsworld)

University Athlete: Michelle Finn (Leevale/UL)

Tailteann Schools Award: Michaela Walsh (SMP Swinford)

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