Four Dublin stars honoured at Sportswoman of the Year Awards – Soccer team receives Outstanding Achievement Award

by Gazette Reporter
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Four Dublin sports stars were among those honoured at The Irish Times / Sport Ireland Sportswoman Awards which took place in the Shelbourne Hotel just before Christmas.

This is the 19th year of the awards and the four Dublin sportswomen who were recipients of monthly awards included swimmer Ellen Walshe, sprinter Rhasidat Adeleke, boxer Kellie Harrington and cricketer Gaby Lewis.

Ellen Walsh kicked off what was an amazing 12 month for Irish sportswomen by winning the award for December 2021. At just 20 years of age the Templeogue swimmer became only the second Irish swimmer to medal at the World Championships and the first to do so in an Olympic event.

Walsh took silver in the 400m Individual Medley in Abu Dhabi, breaking five Irish records in the process, including the oldest, Michelle Smith’s 1994 400m Individual Medley.

Rhasidat Adeleke with Noel O’Reilly, Sports Editor, Irish Times and Una May, CEO Sport Ireland at the Sportswoman Of The Year Awards. #ITSportswoman#Women In SportIRE.
Photo: Julien Behal Photography

Rhasidat Adeleke won the award for June after she became the first Irish woman to win an NCAA sprint title, triumphing in the 4x100m with the University of Texas.  A couple of months later she finished fifth in the 400m at the European Championships, her first ever senior international final. It was an outstanding year for the 20 year old Tallaght athlete who is the Irish record holder in the 60, 100, 200, 300 and 400 metres.

Boxer Kellie Harrington recovered from the disappointment of missing May’s World Championships through injury by showing her class once again at the European championships in Montenegro. Her unanimous victory in the 60kg final completing an illustrious set of gold medals: Olympic, World and European. She received the award for the month of October along with the Ireland soccer goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan. Courtney who is based in the US was unable to attend the ceremony and her prize was accepted on her behalf  by teammate Diane Caldwell.

And the year ended as it began with success for a Dublin sportswoman. This time it was cricketer Gaby Lewis who scored 69 runs off 54 deliveries in the opening match of Ireland’s series away to Pakistan and then finished up with 71 off 46 to  help secure an historic 2-1 win. This was the first Irish team to beat a Test-playing nation in a T20 away series with the 21-year-old Lewis being named the player of the series.

Ireland women’s soccer team honoured with Outstanding Achievement Award

There was further silverware on hand for some of the capital’s leading soccer stars as this year’s Outstanding Achievement Award went to the Ireland women’s soccer team who qualified for the World Cup for the first time after beating Scotland 1-0 in a playoff in Hampden Park in Glasgow.

A penalty save by Courtney Brosnan and a second half goal by substitute Amber Barrett of Turbine Potsdam secured a memorable victory for the ‘Girls in Green’ and booked their ticket to the World Cup in Australia / New Zealand.

Barrett whose grandparents were born and bred in Creeslough and who spent a lot of time in the village growing up, dedicated the goal to the ten people who died following an explosion at a petrol station in the village just four days earlier.

The Glasgow win was the culmination of a long qualifying campaign which featured two wins over group second seeds Finland, a 1-1 draw away to world number two side Sweden and an away win over Slovakia.

Led ably by Katie McCabe the campaign featured strong contributions by players like Diane Caldwell, Abbie Larkin, Áine O’Gorman and Saoirse Noonan who were on hand to receive the trophy on behalf of the team from Irish legend Olivia O’Toole, who was capped over 130 times for her country, the most appearances for the Irish national team of any player male or female.

Vera Pauw’s team, who have been drawn in Group B alongside Australia, Canada and Nigeria will travel to their Brisbane base determined to make more history.

Ellen Walshe with Noel O’Reilly, Sports Editor, Irish Times and Una May, CEO Sport Ireland at the Sportswoman Of The Year Awards. #ITSportswoman#Women In SportIRE.
Photo: Julien Behal Photography

Overall Sportswoman of the Year Winner

Boxer Amy Broadhurst, the first Irish female boxer to take gold at the World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games was crowned The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year for 2022 at the gala lunch.

In what was a fantastic year for boxing, Broadhurst became only the second Irish fighter to land the three titles – Michael Conlan being the only other to achieve the feat. For good measure the 25-year-old Dundalk woman was named ‘Boxer of the Tournament’ at the Europeans.

Broadhurst is a close friend of Katie Taylor, and the Bray boxer invited her to Connecticut to spar with her in the run-up to Taylor’s fight against Amanda Serrano. Those couple of weeks clearly proved to be highly useful for both with Broadhurst claiming that she learnt a lot from Taylor who she described as ‘a big role model’ and ‘the best female boxer ever.’ While Broadhurst, who was recently named best light welter weight boxer in the world, will no doubt be looking to turn professional at some point, for now she says her eyes are firmly set on the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Des Cahill and Kellie Harrington at the Sportswoman Of The Year Awards. #ITSportswoman#Women In SportIRE. Photo: Julien Behal Photography

Paying tribute to all the 2022 winners, Sports Editor of The Irish Times Noel O’Reilly said women’s sport this year has been momentous on both the national and international stages.

“Yet again the bar has been pushed ever higher with inspirational performances and achievements across the board. A huge congratulations to all the monthly winners, sportswomen whose stories continue to show the next generation that nothing is impossible. They are heroes of Irish life, examples to our daughters and sons and a credit to their families, coaches, partners, and friends.”

Other monthly award winners included athlete Ciara Mageean, golfer Leona Maguire, para rower Katie O’Brien and boxer Lisa O’Rourke

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said:

“This has been an excellent year for Irish sport, and it is important to recognise and celebrate the success of our many sportswomen across such a broad range of sports during the year. Their dedication and commitment to their sport and their determination to succeed is so inspiring and is such an example for young girls all over the country. I want to congratulate all of this year’s award recipients and acknowledge their enormous contribution to Irish sport.”   

Dr Una May, CEO of Sport Ireland, paid tribute to all the award winners.

‘Over the past year we have witnessed some remarkable successes in a wide range of sports with our athletes making history and breaking records on a regular basis. Sport Ireland are a proud partner of The Irish Times to mark their achievements. I would like to congratulate all of today’s award winners and thank them for being such fine ambassadors for both their sport and their country.’

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