NUI Galway announced the recipients of the 2013 Sports Awards at a special ceremony last night (Thursday, 21 March). The awards recognise sporting performance, leadership and participation, as well as those that contribute to the running and development of the NUI Galway Sports Clubs.
This year’s individual award winners include Des Leonard who won his second World Junior Kickboxing title this year and Darren Wallace who set a new Irish University record in Archery this year. Darren was also part of the NUI Galway Archery team which dominated the Irish Varsity scene this year and who are in receipt of one of the team awards.
The Tom Tuohy memorial award remembers one of Ireland’s greatest ever rowing coaches who contributed to the NUI Galway boat club for 30 years. The award recognises outstanding achievement in the past year by an individual or crew and this year goes to Robert O’Callaghan who was part of the Senior 8 that won the National title last summer.
Kathy Hynes, Development Office, Sports Clubs and Participation, NUI Galway said: “Each year NUI Galway recognises the outstanding contribution of student athletes across many diverse sporting disciplines for their achievements in sport. This year’s awards ceremony extended to reflect not only the achievements of students in terms of performance sport but also the contribution of the clubs to campus life and the importance of participation in sport and exercise. Five such awards were awarded to reflect this important contribution to university life.”
The Table Tennis Club and Surf Club were joint winners of the ‘Leadership Alumni Award’,a dedicated leadership programme for all Club Captains and committee members. The programme is a partnership between the University’s Sports Clubs and Galway Alumni Office. The ‘Club Captain’s Award’, which recognises the enormous contribution of individual students to the successful running of sports clubs, was presented to Gráinne Conway.
‘Most Improved Sports Club Recognition’ was awarded to the Ladies Soccer club, under the direction of team Captain Rosa Shine, who, with her committee, raised the profile of their club through increasing student numbers, evaluating training methods and providing a strong foundation for their future success.
Sporting life on campus is not just for the elite performers and this is reflected in the ‘Outstanding Recreational Participation Award’ which this year was awarded “Fresh N Cool” a group of young men who have participated in the indoor Futsal leagues for the past three years. These individuals have been selected from several different teams for their participation within the Futsal league, their sense of fair play, camaraderie and the sense of community they provide to all students involved in the league.
The ‘Special Achievement Award’ recognises, over a period of time, the excellence of a club or club member. This year’s recipient was Hannah Smith who as Club Captain, committee member and team player raised the profile and success of Women’s rugby at a local and national level.
This is the 30th year of the awards and past winners include current Galway Hurling manager Anthony Cunningham, Irish Soccer International Meabh De Burca, Olympians, Éadaoin Ní Cheallaráin, Olive Loughnane, Paul Hession, Alan Martin and Cormac Folan, as well as a long list of All-Ireland winners and Internationals.
Gary Ryan, NUI Galway’s Development Officer for Elite Sport, said: “When you look at the list of the people who have won these awards over the years some of the most recognisable names in Irish Sport are amongst them. There are also dozens of former students who have contributed enormously to sport locally and nationally since then in a variety of different roles. It is striking to see how many past award winners are now involved in coaching and administration and reinforces how important the learning experience of being involved in University Clubs can be.”
2012 Sports Award Winners:
Archery: Darren Wallace from Portlaoise, Co. Laois
Ladies Soccer: Jennifer Byrne from Ballinsloe, Co. Galway
Cricket: Waqar Ul Hassan from Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo
Pool and Snooker: Stephen Darren Dempsey from Monaghan Town
Swimming, Lifesaving and Waterpolo: Kevin McGlade from Galway City
Hurling: Kevin Moynihan from Ennis, Co. Clare
Camogie: Orlaith Duggan from Clooney, Co. Clare
Men’s Gaelic Football: Ciaran McDonald from Aherlow, Co. Tipperary
Hockey: Síle Johnson from Bandon, Co. Cork
Tom Tuohy Award for Achievement in Rowing: Rob O’Callaghan from Galway City
Kickboxing: Des Leonard from Riverstown, Co. Sligo
Team Award - Archery Club
Team Award - Swimming and Lifesaving Team
Team Award - Mystics (Ladies Basketball)
Team Award - Volleyball Club
Most Improved Club: Ladies Soccer Club
Outstanding Recreation Participation Award: Futsal winners "Fresh N Cool"
Club Captains Award: Surf Club - Captain Gráinne Conway from Westport, Co. Mayo
Special Achievement Award: Hannah Smith from Ennis, Co. Clare, past Captain and now secretary of Women’s Rugby Club
Leadership Alumni Award: Joint winners – Table Tennis Club and Surf Club