Annalise Murphy celebrates her European laser radial win last year

Rathfarnham Olympian Annalise Murphy made Irish sailing history last weekend when she won the most coveted award in Irish sailing, the Irish Sailing Association Sailor of the Year, for the third consecutive year.

The award, supported by MGM Boats, was presented at the ISA’s annual awards ball in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire before an audience of 270 members and supporters of Irish sailing from across the country.

The 23-year-old National Yacht Club member had a particularly successful 2013, claiming a number of podium finishes for gold at the Italian Olympic Week and then in Holland at the Delta Lloyd Regatta, before claiming bronze at Sail for Gold in Weymouth where she had contested so well in the 2012 Olympic Games.

Her biggest achievement of the year came on home waters when she secured the European Laser Radial championship title.

Murphy is currently training in Spain and was unable to accept the award in person but thanked her supporters by video link.

“I’m honoured to be awarded ISA Sailor of the Year. I had a really great year in 2013 which was capped off by winning the Laser Europeans which was pretty special. It was definitely a good way to start the 2016 cycle.

“I’d like to thank Providence Resources, our team sponsor, for believing in us and the Irish Sports Council who have supported me since I was a teenager. I’d also like to thank the ISA and my coach Rory Fitzpatrick in particular as well as my family. Without their support I wouldn’t be able to do this.“

Speaking to GazetteSport from Spain, Murphy said: “I am delighted to win the award – this is the third year in a row that I have won and I am really delighted with the support from the sailing community.

“2013 was a great year for me and now I am focusing on the 2014 season and in particular the Olympic qualifier in Santander in September where I hope to qualify the country for Rio 2016 and then focus on my training in Rio for 2015 and 2016.”

Speaking after the awards were made, ISA performance director James O’Callaghan said: “”It’s great to see Annalise’s achievements acknowledged by the sailing community. I know the support she receives from her club and Ireland’s sailing population in general really means a lot to her. Her focus now will be qualifiication for Rio 2016 at the world championships in Spain.”