Sporting Achievements Celebrated at HER Sport Awards
Ireland’s top athletes came together to celebrate an outstanding year for Irish sport in 2023 at the HER Sport Awards, in University College Dublin on Saturday evening.
Cycling Ireland was delighted to have athletes nominated in three categories for the high-competitive awards.
Lara Gillespie was nominated for the Young Athlete of the Year. Gillespie has followed up from her exceptional form in 2023 with a strong start to 2024. She picked up three fourth place finishes at the 2024 UEC Track European Championships last week.
Katie-George Dunlevy and Linda Kelly were nominated for the Team of the Year. 2023 saw Dunlevy and Kelly dominate around the world, picking up World Championship titles and consecutive World Cup victories.
Annalise Murphy was nominated for the Personality of the Year. Murphy transitioned from her international sailing career to success on the bike. She is a top domestic rider on the road and track. In 2023 she recorded several top results, including winning the Scratch Race at the Dublin Track International and the Individual Pursuit at the Senior National Track Championship.
Winners on the night included Katie McCabe who won Athlete of the Year, sponsored by Braeburn Coffee. Accepting the award on her behalf was her father Gary, who, when asked to comment on Katie’s success, smiled and said “Yeah, she’s good.”
Speaking about watching his daughter lead the Irish team out at the World Cup, he added; “For me it was unbelievable, I cried so much. It’s something you can’t describe.”
The Community Award, sponsored by Energia, went to Carmel Grealy for her outstanding work within Community Games for the past 50 years. Coming on stage to accept the award Grealy spoke about the importance of grassroots organisations within sport, the changes she has seen within Community Games and the importance of equality and inclusion.
Team of the Year, sponsored by Sky, went to the Irish Rugby Seven’s Team, who within hours of winning the award claimed Ireland’s first ever gold medal, competing at the inaugural HSBC SVNS in Perth. Ireland triumphed over hosts and current SVNS leaders Australia 19-14. The team now have their sights firmly set on the Paris Olympic Games.
A story that captured the hearts of the nation last year. Sarah Lavin’s ability to turn personal tragedy into record-breaking success on the track, saw her crowned Personality of the Year, sponsored by Aya.
Ellen Walshe won Young Athlete of Year, sponsored by WHOOP. The Irish swimmer is aiming for her second Olympic Games. Upon accepting her award she spoke of the challenges of training during the COVID-19 pandemic, her time in America and how much she enjoys inspiring younger athletes.
A panel discussion between founder of HER Sport Niamh Tallon, sports broadcaster Shebahn Aherne and former Kerry footballer and women in sport ally, Paul Galvin, looked at the role of women in sports media and challenges they face as well as a range of related topics.
The evening concluded with induction of Fiona Coghlan into the HER Sport Hall of Fame. The former Irish Rugby captain played an integral part in Ireland’s Six Nations Grand Slam victory in 2013 and the historic World Cup victory over New Zealand. Coughlan continues to inspire young athletes. She is a leading advocate for women in sport and is looking forward to giving back to the sport.