THIS week The Nationalist is proud to announce the winners of this year’s Co Carlow Sports Stars Awards.
Following an exhaustive selection process which encompassed four quarterly awards ceremonies, 15 category winners have been chosen ahead of the gala awards night at the Seven Oaks Hotel on Friday, 16 February.
“The calibre of award winner this year is exceptionally high, with brilliant performances in 2017 being honoured alongside the likes of the Setanta award and Service to Sport award winners who have given so much to their sport over many years,” said The Nationalist sports editor John Foley.
“Our voluntary selection committee of myself, Andrea Ellis, Patricia Lawler, Kieran Lucas, PL Curran and John Browne enjoyed much discussion about the merits of so many worthy candidates and we hope our choices are well-received.”
The final selection covers a wide range of sporting talent, including Leinster and Ireland rugby star Sean O’Brien who turned in a series of brilliant performances for the Lions in New Zealand last summer. International athlete Marcus Lawler is also recognised for a year in which, among many achievements, he became the third fastest man in the history of Irish athletics for the 100m. The Gaelic football award goes to Fenagh’s Sean Murphy who lit up the stage for the Carlow senior footballers during a championship run which gave the county so much joy in 2017.
Also included is champion horse trainer Willie Mullins who enjoyed another fantastic year as he clinched his 10th National Hunt Champion Trainer’s title.
Camogie is well represented with the Myshall team recognised for their brilliant All-Ireland intermediate club winning performance at Croke Park last February while their own Marian Doyle also takes the individual camogie award after a fine season for club and county.
The Setanta Award goes to Linda Kenny, long-time Carlow camogie secretary and now chairperson who has done so much for the development of the game over the years.
The rowing award goes to Cliodhna Nolan from Leighlinbridge who won Carlow Rowing Club’s first national title since 2011 and their first by a woman since 2001.
The ladies football award winner is Elaine Ware who starred for her county as Carlow won the Leinster junior football championship and for her club, Bennekerry-Tinryland, as they clinched their third senior title in a row.
The hurling award goes to Mount Leinster Rangers player Diarmuid Byrne who excelled during a year in which his club regained the Carlow senior championship and he was also a hugely influential player as Carlow once again won the Christy Ring Cup in June.
That victory by the Carlow hurlers is also recognised with an Outstanding Achievement award.
The night’s third Outstanding Achievement award will go to Tullow rugby club who won their very first Provincial Towns Cup in 2017 and the club’s women’s team followed it up with victory in the Paul Flood Cup making it a memorable year for the Black Gates crew.
The soccer award goes to Carlow town man Lee Salter who was the driving force in a year when his club, Crettyard United, retained The Nationalist Premier Division in the Carlow & District League while he also banged in the goals which drove the county team to the last eight of the Oscar Traynor Trophy.
The Service to Sport award goes to James O’Rourke who has done so much for the development of athletics in Carlow over the course of many years.
The Hall of Fame award goes to Vincent Harvey, one of the most recognisable names in Carlow Gaelic football circles who wore the colours of Éire Óg and Carlow with distinction for many years and also brought much success to many other clubs as a renowned trainer.
Just one award remains to be chosen, that of the overall Carlow Sports Person of the Year. The winner will be announced on the night of the awards following a public vote. Details on how to vote will be announced in the coming weeks.
Co Carlow Sports Stars 2017 Overall Winners
Hurling: Diarmuid Byrne
Rowing: Cliodhna Nolan
Camogie: Marian Doyle
Horse racing: Willie Mullins
Athletics: Marcus Lawler
Ladies Football: Elaine Ware
Soccer: Lee Salter
Gaelic Football: Sean Murphy
Rugby: Sean O’Brien
Service to Sport: James O’Rourke
Setanta Award: Linda Kenny
Outstanding Achievement: Carlow senior hurling team
Outstanding Achievement: Tullow Rugby Club
Outstanding Achievement: Myshall senior camogie team
Hall of Fame: Vincent Harvey
Carlow Sports Person of the Year 2017: to be announced on the night