Curtain rises on The Echo 2016 Sports Awards

By Stephen Leonard

THE ECHO 2016 Amateur Sports Awards were launched in the Green Isle Hotel on Tuesday.

Run in conjunction with the Green Isle and The South Dublin County Sports Partnership (SDCSP), this awards initiative is now entering its eighth year.

This initiative has served to highlight a huge amount of great achievements across a wide spectrum of amateur sports in our locality.

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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 special gala night in the Green Isle Hotel in December.

Tallaght’s Jack Woolley was crowned The Echo Amateur Sports Star of 2015 following a phenomenal run that saw him climb to 14th place in the World Taekwondo rankings.

The 17-year-old barely missed out on Olympic qualification, but has already ignited his quest to make the cut for Tokyo 2020 after recently winning silver in the US Open and gold in Canada.

Among the other past winners of the ‘Sports Star of the Year title were former Ireland international hockey player Stephen Butler, 2010 Irish Tarmac Rally champion Gareth Mac Hale, Ireland 400m runner Brian Gregan, National record-breaking swimmer Brendan Hyland, ex-European Rallycross champion Derek Tohill and Republic of Ireland women’s soccer star Katie McCabe.

Capturing their first ever Leinster Senior Club Football Championship crown, Ballyboden St Enda’s were declared The Echo 2015 Team of the Year.

And their adventure has not ended either as, only last Saturday, they booked their place in the All-Ireland decider against Castlebar after beating Clonmel Commercials in extra time when they met in the semi finals in Portloaise.

While the Firhouse Road club has twice scooped the ‘Club of the Year’ honours at The Echo Sports Awards, last year marked the first time they landed the ‘Team of the Year’ prize and, in doing so, they joined the likes of Crumlin United, St Mary’s Rugby Football Club, St Francis FC Ladies, Peamount United Ladies, DSD Athletic Club and Terenure College RFC.

While these awards seek to shine a spotlight on the achievements of local competitors and teams in their respective fields, the initiative also aims to recognise 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. 

Commenting on the Hotel’s involvement with the Sports Awards, Laura McAllister “As head of Marketing for The Green Isle Hotel, said “ I am delighted to be involved with The Echo and the Amateur Sports Awards again this year.

“I look forward to meeting all finalists here in The Green Isle Hotel next December for the Awards Ceremony”.

Thos McDermott of The SDCSP echoed these sentiments saying “ The quality of our local community sports teams and individuals continues on performing at the highest level and continues to bring pride and achievement to their area and the county.

“We look forward to recognising the talent and achievement that is there across many sports and at the end of a year, that has again started off so promisingly, to also recognise coaches, volunteers and leading lights in local sport.

“Together they lay a foundation for healthy communities in South Dublin County and that, more so even than medals and trophies won, is cause to celebrate”.

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