The Echo lifts the curtain on Sports Awards 2020

By Stephen Leonard

THE ECHO, together with its partners, officially launched its 2020 Amateur Sports Awards in the Green Isle Hotel on Friday.

Winner of the ‘2019 Sports Star of the Year’ Award, Jack Woolley who has since qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games was on hand to help mark the start of this year’s competition, which is sponsored by the Green Isle, South Dublin County Sports Partnership and the South Dublin County Council together with new platinum sponsor Amazon Web Services (AWS).

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R) Stephen Leonard, Sports Editor, The Echo, Emma Kennedy, MD, The Echo, Brian Hora, Senior Executive Officer, SDCC's Community & Sports Department, Ireland international swimmer Brendan Hyland, Sharon Moylan, Sales Manager, Green Isle Hotel, Ireland international canoeist, Jenny Egan, William O’Connor, News Editor, The Echo, Thos McDermott, Co-ordinator, South Dublin County Sports Partnership. (Bottom L-R) South Dublin Taekwondo Olympian, Jack Woolley, Tallaght AC’s double European Youth Olympic Sprint gold medallist, Rhasidat Adeleke and Niamh Farrelly and Lauryn O’Callaghan of Women’s National League champions Peamount United.

The South Dublin Taekwondo star was joined, at the launch, by other past winners namely, Tallaght AC’s double European Youth Olympic gold medallist, Rhasidat Adeleke, Ireland’s top canoeist, Jenny Egan and another Olympic hopeful, Brendan Hyland, Tallaght and National Centre swimmer.

Representing Women’s National League champions and The Echo 2019 Team of the Year, Peamount United, were players Niamh Farrelly and Lauryn O’Callaghan.

Now entering its 12th year, this awards initiative goes some way to recognising the huge amount of achievements across a wide spectrum of amateur sport in our locality.

Each month both an individual competitor and team are nominated to go forward to ‘The Echo Sports Star’ and ‘Team of the Year’ Final, the winners of which will be announced at a special gala night in the Green Isle Hotel in December.

A tremendous season that featured gold in the Turkish and Australian Opens as well as the Pan Am Championship together with silver in the European Championship and US Open, saw Woolley declared The Echo 2019 Sports Star of the Year back in December.

It marked the second time that the Tallaght man lifted this accolade having previously won it, back in 2015.

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Bernard McCann, Guest Relations Manager, Green Isle Hotel, with Peamount United Women’s Team players Niamh Farrelly and Lauryn O’Callaghan, and Thos McDermott SDCSP

Egan, Hyland and Adeleke were also in amongst last year’s contenders along with the former’s brother Peter Egan, a World Masters Canoe Marathon champion, European Junior Boxing silver medallist Winnie Christina McDonagh, Ireland international athletes Joseph Ojewumi and Nadia Power, European Junior Kickboxing champion Jodie Browne, World MMA silver medallist Shauna Bannon, eight time World Masters Rowing gold medallist Denis Crowley and South Dublin Taekwondo’ emerging star, Emma Cahill.

Winning the Women’s National League crown and subsequently securing Champions League qualification, Peamount United were crowned The Echo Team of 2019.

Other clubs who have raised that very prize are, Templeogue Men’s Basketball Team, Crumlin United, St Mary’s Rugby Football Club, St Francis FC Ladies, DSD Athletic Club, Terenure College RFC, Ballyboden St Enda’s senior footballers and Glenanne Men’s Hockey team.

While these awards aspire to recognise the achievements of local competitors and teams in their respective fields, the initiative also aims to highlight the work of those behind the scenes.

Indeed the great sporting feats from local to international degree that are covered in the pages of The Echo can, in large part, be attributed to the efforts of volunteers and coaches, which can, so often, go unacknowledged.

For this reason, these awards also include categories for ‘Coach/ Manager of the Year’, ‘Sports Volunteer of the Year’, ‘Club Development of the Year’ as well as ‘Club of the Year’.

What’s more, the awards also recall the success of past sporting greats in our community by way of ‘The Echo Sports Hall of Fame’ Award.

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Emma Kennedy, MD, The Echo Newspaper (right) with 2020 Sports Awards representatives Thos McDermott, SDCSP, Sharon Moylan, Sales Manager, Green Isle Hotel and Brian Hora, Senior Executive Officer, SDCC's Community & Sports Department

‘The Echo Sports Challenge’ Award is presented in recognition of great achievements in disability sport, with Shamrock Rovers and Ireland Amputee footballer Stuart McEvoy and Blind Judo All-Ireland champion Paul Geoghegan accounting for the winners of this accolade since it was introduced in 2018.

Commenting on the Green Isle’s involvement with the Sports Awards, Sharon Moylan, Sales and Marketing Manager with the hotel said “The Green Isle Hotel have been sponsors of The Echo Sports Awards for six years now and we are proud to be part of this experience. 

“Our Sales team also host the monthly recognition awards and in doing so, this week alone I have had the honour of meeting in person with Rhasidat Adeleke, Jenny Egan, Brendan Hyland and Jack Woolley.

“This is a lovely privilege and also gives me the opportunity to personally meet and congratulate these rising young stars on their path heading towards their ultimate goals.

“The commitment and passion shown by these individuals as they strive to be the best they can be, is inspiring and the fact that we play a small part of this whole picture is very rewarding.

“Being involved and supporting the athletes alongside The Echo Newspaper is an important part of our joined commitment to the community.

“We look forward to watching on with fingers crossed and pride in our hearts for all these young stars. Watch this space!” she said.

Also looking forward to recognising more great work and achievements in local sport by way of these awards in 2019, South Dublin County Sports Partnership Co-ordinator Thos McDermott said “SDCSP sees sport as a great reflection of the community of South Dublin County.

“The achievements of our very talented amateur athletes and teams, be they male or female, able bodied or disabled, and the selfless contribution of the many talented coaches and volunteer administrators, serves to remind us of how proud we should be of our local community.”

“These awards have become a highlight of our annual sporting calendar and SDCSP is delighted to continue to be a partner to them” he added.

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