Ring Honours Irish Athletes At National Athletics Awards
European Bronze Medalist Mark English (UCD AC) was named as the Athlete of the Year at the National Athletics Awards in association with GloHealth and Emerald Crystal which took place on Wednesday 26th of November in the Crown Plaza Hotel, Santry and was presented by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD.
On a stunning night of athletics in the Letzigrund Stadium Zurich, English claimed the bronze medal in the 800m final at the European Athletics Championships. The performance by the young 21 year old Donegal man was Ireland’s first ever medal in the 800m at any major outdoor championship.
Ring Honours Athletes
Speaking at the event Minister Ring said: ‘2014 has been another excellent year for Irish athletics with numerous distinguished performances from both established and up-and-coming athletes. There is no doubt that the support provided to athletes through Athletics Ireland’s High Performance system has helped athletes to deliver one of Ireland’s best performances at a European Athletics Championships. I would like to congratulate all the nominees and award winners and to wish them well for the future.’
“I am delighted that these awards also honour the people on the ground who help to make it all happen. I would like to applaud the selfless contribution that volunteers make to sport. Their considerable efforts and willingness to give of their own time is of immense benefit to the sport of athletics as well as the wider community.”
Roisin McGettigan was awarded her retrospective bronze medal at that event for the 1500m from the 2009 European Indoor Athletics Championships in Turin following the banning of the winner Anna Alminova of Russia due to a doping offense. McGettigan who had finished fourth in the championships will now enter the record books as the bronze medallists making it Ireland’s 21st European Indoor medal. Read more here
Frank Murphy of Clonliffe Harriers was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014; Murphy enjoyed multiple International success including winning a silver medal over 1500m at the 1969 European Athletics Championships in Athens. Read more here
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. Phil Conway was named as the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient the pinnacle volunteer award. Conway has played a very significant role in Irish Athletics as an athlete, coach, mentor, statistician, volunteer and organiser. Conway is above all a gentleman of our sport and the award is a fitting recognition for all those years of service. Read more here
President of Athletics Ireland Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin said: “We had plenty to celebrate this year with Irish athletes delivering one of Ireland’s best ever performances at European Athletics Championships in the Summer with Mark English bronze medal in the 800m being a highlight performance”.
He added: “It is right and fitting that we acknowledge the clubs and the volunteers who play a vital role in to the development of athletes in Ireland”
Thomas Barr (Ferrybank AC) won the Inspirational Performance of the Year on Irish Soil Award. The award was a new addition to the annual awards and was decided solely by the Irish Athletics Community via an online poll on the Athletics Ireland website. Barr performance in beating the reigning World Champion and setting a new stadium record of 48.94 at the Morton Games was deemed the most inspirational performance of the year on Irish soil for 2014.
The Endurance Athlete Award went to Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) –Britton had a consistent year of results including an eight place finish in the 10,000m and a tenth place finish in her debut in the marathon at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich.
Leevale Athletic Club was the worthy recipients of the Performance Club of the Year Award. Leevale is one of the powerhouses of Irish Athletics and the Cork Club enjoyed an exceptional run of success in 2014. The year began with victory for the Leevale men’s and women’s teams at the inaugural Indoor League held in Athlone. They continued their success with the men’s team claiming the outdoor league final. Their women’s team won the national road relay title and the men won the national 10k team title.
Development Club of the Year was awarded to Dunboyne AC having achieved exceptional growth and development across all their programs in 2014.
Michael Lane (Mullingar Harriers AC) was awarded the Outstanding Coach Award. Lane received the award based on the significant difference he has made to Race Walking in Ireland developing it into one of the most successful disciplines of Irish athletics. He has coached numerous athletes to European U23s, World Students, World Juniors, Euro Juniors and Schools Internationals competitions.
Junior Athlete of the Year
Junior Athlete of the Year was awarded to Karl Griffin (UCD AC) who reached new heights in 2014. A year in which he made the semi-final of the 800m at the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon, USA. Griffin also ran a personal best of 1.47.44 at the Morton Games which ranked him fifth in the European Junior rankings.
The Emerging Athlete of the Year Award was one of the most hotly contested Awards of the day with athletes of the calibre of Phil Healy (Bandon AC), Ciara Mageean (UCD AC), Sarah Lavin (UCD AC) and Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) all in the reckoning. McMahon scooped the award after enjoying a breakthrough year in 2014 which included lowering her personal best for the 400m Hurdles from 59.46 to 56.97 seconds. She also qualified for the semi-finals at the European Athletics Championships.
Team of the Year
The Irish Men’s 4x400m Team was presented with the Performance Team of the Year Award. The team excelled at the European Championships setting an Irish record of 3.03.57 in the heats and then going on to place fifth in the final in another new Irish record of 3.01.67.
Official & Master
The Official of the Award was presented to Tony Ennis of Fr Murphys AC who embodies the ethos of volunteerism, giving unselfishly his time and energies for the benefit of others.
The Master of the Year award was presented to Brian Lynch after claiming the gold medal in the 1,500m at the World Indoor Master Track and Field Championships in Budapest.
Mountain Runner & Ultra Runner
The Mountain Runner of the Year was awarded to Sarah McCormack (Clonliffe Harriers AC). McCormack enjoyed a spectacular year in 2014 including a win at the prestigious Snowdon International Race and she was also Ireland top finisher at the World and European Mountain Running Championships.
The Ultra Running Award was presented to John O’Regan (Le Cheile AC) for finishing first at the Energia 24 hour national championships in Belfast. He is also ranked 38th in the World rankings for 24 hour racing.
Schools & University
The Tailteann Schools’ Awards were awarded to Alannah Lally (Presentation Athenry) and Harry Purcell (Castleknock College). Maria O’Sullivan (Trinity College Dublin) and John Travers (Athlone IT) were the standout performers on the University athletics scene in 2014 and were duly recognised on the day for their achievements.