This year saw another successful Sports Awards Ceremony. We sent Sports Editor Mark Higgins down there to get the scoop…
The Aula Maxima was the setting for the 30th annual NUI Galway Sports Awards on the evening of Thursday 21 March.
The sports awards are held to recognise the achievements of NUI Galway’s elite athletes across a wide spectrum of college sports.
The awards honour the finest athlete from each of the college’s sports clubs, nominated by club members themselves. Previous winners include current Galway hurling manager
Anthony Cunningham, amongst many others.
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 awards were hosted by former Olympic runner and current Head of Elite Sports Development Gary Ryan. Mr Ryan welcomed the night’s recipients and their parents, paying tribute to their dedication and commitment to their chosen sport.
Speaking about the awards, he 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.”
The Individual Awards were presented by Dr Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience. Eleven individuals were recognised with awards, in sports as diverse as Gaelic football, kickboxing, ladies soccer and archery.
The Team Awards were then presented to the club teams which have excelled over the past year. These went to the archery club and the swimming and lifesaving team.
The Vision Awards are given to recognise clubs which have shown outstanding promise of moving forward successfully in the coming years. These were awarded to the women’s volleyball club and the ladies’ basketball team, the NUIG Mystics.
The ladies soccer club scooped the Most Improved Club award after their excellent year, before the Recreation and Participation Award was presented to the futsal team, ‘The Fresh and Cool’.
The Alumni Leadership Award was jointly won by the table-tennis and surf clubs. Surf club captain Grainne Conway received the Club Captain Award, before the final award of the night, the Special Achievement Award, went to Hannah Smith of the women’s rugby club.
Mr Ryan concluded the ceremony by again thanking the recipients and their families for their efforts, and wishing them well, in both sporting and academic terms, for the coming year.
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