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Cycling Ireland Awards Night

17/11/2014
Cycling Ireland Awards Night

Cycling Ireland Awards Night Dinner

 

Last Saturday Night saw flocks of cyclists from all across Ireland attend the Cycling Ireland Awards Dinner in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry. Sports stars, cycling enthusiasts and special guests were in attendance for the annual celebration of cycling in Ireland, at the end of what has been another phenomenal year for the sport. This year saw international achievements along with growth and development in every facet of the sport, and the Awards Night was a great opportunity to celebrate the highlights of the year. Special guests in attendance included Sean Kelly, Martyn Irvine, Ryan Mullen and Eoghan Clifford, who provided interesting insights to their cycling exploits this year.

  


This year the Awards Dinner adopted a new format, focusing on showcasing the various disciplines and highlighting 2014 achievements, along with looking to the future, steered by MC Declan Quigley. First up to welcome the guests was Cycling Ireland President Denis Toomey, who summarised the extent of growth and success the sport has achieved this year, placing it as one of the top international medal contributors to sport in Ireland.


The evening was deemed the perfect setting to launch the new Cycling Ireland strategy, which was presented by Kieran Mulvey, chairman of the Irish Sports Council. The strategy was put together by W2 Consulting following extensive consultation with Cycling Ireland Members, Cycling Ireland Commissions and various other interest groups and sponsors. This will shape the road the sport takes over the next four years. Mulvey spoke encouragingly and positively about the growth in cycling, both in terms of participation and performance, and expressed a strong support for the building of an indoor Velodrome at the Abbotstown Sports Campus, a project that has entered the planning stage.

 

Throughout the evening the room of over 200 guests enjoyed highlights of the cycling year, courtesy of Black Umbrella Photography, and the national medallists were honoured following each video. One of the key areas on which Cycling Ireland has been focusing, and an area that has been highlighted as being a key area for further development over the next number of years is youth cycling. After a short video clip Martin O’Loughlin, team manager of the Talent Team 2020, spoke about the pathway that is in place in youth cycling, and how the juniors this year are reaping the rewards of this pathway, which from a performance side bodes extremely well for the future.

  


BMX double World Masters Champion, Kelvin Batey, who was presented with a trophy for his outstanding results by Shaun Ogle, from Sport NI. Batey spoke about his plans to return to Elite BMX racing this season with an aim of qualifying for the Rio Olympics, while the BMX Commission spoke about their plans for increasing the number of tracks nationwide.


The Offroad scene has enjoyed an exciting season, with one of the highlights being the bronze medal that Downhill racer Jacob Dickson won in the Junior World Championships. Dickson spoke about this experience and goals, while junior cyclo cross specialist James Curry described the training camp that he attended in Aigle this summer. Another highlight of the year was the hosting of the European MTB Marathon Championships in Ballyhoura this summer, thanks to biking.ie. Niall Davis spoke about the successful event, and also discussed the Emerald Enduro, an even bigger MTB event that will be gracing the Irish soils next May, this will be round 2 of the World Enduro Series, a fast growing section of the sport that has engaged and excited mountain bikers across the country.

  

Road racing has enjoyed another fantastic season, with our professional riders representing us proudly on the international stage. One of the highlights has been Ryan Mullen’s silver medal in the Time Trial at the World Championships in September. Mullen was pipped for gold, and spoke positively about his plans for the future.  Fiona Meade was another rider who enjoyed a spectacular season. The Cork rider won the Points competition in An Post Rás na mBan, competing against fulltime professional riders, despite combining her training with a fulltime job. Meade went on to become National Champion a few weeks later. Women's National League winner Amy Brice was also presented with the trophy by Cycling Ireland's newest Board Member, Siobhan O'Connor. Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly then summed up the year of Irish performances, believing that there is a good pathway in Ireland now, and that should the riders choose to stick with the sport, some will have a long career ahead of them.


 

Track cycling has enjoyed another successful year, with the strength of the younger riders coming through. At the European Junior and U23 Track Championships this year Josie Knight, Mark Downey and Eoin Mullen won medals, with Martyn Irvine winning silver at the World Championships. Both Downey and Irvine spoke about their goals for 2015, the latter having just signed for a new team, Madison Genesis, a UK based team. Head Cycling Ireland Coach Brian Nugent also spoke about the successful pathway in the sport that exists today.  World Masters Champion Orla Hendron was also honoured for her outstanding success at the Velodrome in Manchester. Hendron is also the National Junior Women’s Coach, and was unable to attend the Awards as she was in Alkmaar coaching a group of young and developing riders, such is the depth of her dedication to the sport.


  

One of the most successful strands of the sport is Paracycling, with the highlight of the year being the double World Championship win of Paracycling debut rider, Eoghan Clifford. Clifford was presented an Outstanding Achievement Award for his world championship success by CEO of Paralympics Ireland, Liam Harbison. Tandem silver medal winners from the World Championships in Greenville, Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal were also present, with Dunlevy describing how close they were to winning gold in the road race. Declan Slevin, from the Paracycling Commission, described the progress that is being made on the development side of the sport, thanks to the Invacare Time Trial League and the open training days.

Next up was the Award for International Performance of the Year, as voted by the Irish cycling media. The vast range of votes across many of the top Irish riders shows the strength and depth of riders in Ireland today. However, the award went to Dan Martin, for his outstanding year end success in the Tour de Lombardie 2014. While Martin was not present on the night, he pre-recorded his acceptance speech, clearly happy with the honour.

 

With over 1000 people voting in the Membership Awards, the anticipation grew until the final awards of the night. Seven awards were voted upon, and for many of the categories the competition was tight at the top. Only 24 points separated the top four nominees in the Volunteer of the Year Award! This year the nominees were put forward by the various Cycling Ireland Commissions, and a new category was added, Coach of the Year. The coaching pathway is in a very healthy state, almost 600 people passed through coaching courses in 2014, pointing towards a very active and progressive cycling scene in Ireland. Olympic Council of Ireland President, Pat Hickey, presented the recipients with their Membership Awards. 

 

The results of the Membership Awards are as follows:

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR:


Hugh Byrne


CLUB OF THE YEAR

Lakeside Wheelers


LEISURE EVENT OF THE YEAR

An Post Tour de Burren


COMPETITIVE EVENT OF THE YEAR

European MTB Marathon Championships


DOMESTIC MALE RIDER OF THE YEAR

Eddie Dunbar


DOMESTIC FEMALE RIDER OF THE YEAR

Fiona Meade


COACH OF THE YEAR

Dan Curtin

 


INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
– as voted by the cycling media


Dan Martin

 


OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD


Eoghan Clifford - double UCI Paracycling World Champion.


Kelvin Batey – World Masters Champion in BMX


Orla Hendron – World Masters Champion in Track Cycling

 

Cycling Ireland would like to thank everyone who attended the Cycling Ireland Awards Dinner, from the riders and club members, to the national medallists and international riders. We would also like to thank all our sponsors and special guests for joining us in the celebration of cycling, and thank them for their continued support of the sport. 

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