Wednesday, February 22, 2023

THIS week, The Nationalist is delighted to announce the winners of this year’s Carlow Sports Star Awards.

After an enforced absence due to COVID, the event will return with a bang on 31 March at the Dolmen Hotel. Brendan Hennessy will be the MC on the night and bring his usual mix of unrivalled local sports knowledge and craic to the event.

Davy Fitzgerald will be the special guest on the night. The current Waterford hurling manager is one of the great characters of Irish sport and is sure to make the night even more memorable.

Manager of the Waterford hurlers, Davy Fitzgerald will the Special Guest at this year’s Carlow Sports Star Awards
Photo: ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

“I’m delighted to announce this year’s winners for their performances during 2022,” said The Nationalist Sports Editor Ger McNally.

“As always, the standard within the county across a wide variety of sports has been extremely high and there were lengthy discussions with our selection committee before finalising this list. I’d like to thank that selection committee of PL Curran, Andrea Ellis, Kieran Lucas and Kieran Murphy for how seriously they take their role and the amount of time and consideration they put into their choices. These picks weren’t taken lightly and although sure they may spark debate, hopefully people agree with us that these are highly deserving of their awards.”

The winners see a mix of sports men and women who have shone at international, national and local level.

Unsurprisingly, horse racing features prominently among our winners. Willie Mullins continues to set the standard of the rest to follow within the National Hunt and takes the Horse Racing Award after another hugely successful year. 2022 was a hugely memorable year for the sport within the county and both Emmett Mullins and John ‘Shark’ Hanlon have been recognised for their efforts with an Outstanding Achievement Award after training the winner of the English and American Grand Nationals respectively.

The third of the three Outstanding Achievement Awards goes to New Oak Boys after their record breaking clean sweep of all four trophies within the Carlow League. Their star player during 2022, Dean Kelly, takes the Men’s Soccer award while another stand out season for Kylie Murphy with Wexford Youths earns her the Women’s Soccer Award.

On the GAA front, Conor Crowley takes the GAA Football Award after he carried his form with the county into his club jersey and was named man of the match in both Palatine’s county final win over Tinryland and the club’s first ever Leinster Championship win over St Patrick’s. Paul Doyle is named as the Hurling Award winner after yet another ultra consistent season with Carlow and St Mullins. Rachel Sawyer is the Ladies Football Award winner after being named on the TG4 Junior Team of the Championship for her performances with Carlow and then playing the role of joint-captain as Old Leighlin won the county title. Kate Nolan is recognised as the Camogie Award winner after starring for Carlow and then helping Myshall to a Leinster Final.

Dannah O’Brien could easily have been considered in the conversation for the Ladies GAA Award but it will be the Women’s Rugby award that she will be taking home after she became an Irish senior International during 2022 and is now considering as one of the brightest young rugby prospects in the country. Ed Byrne takes the Men’s Rugby Award after he was part of the Irish squad that claimed an historic series win in New Zealand, as well as playing to a continuously high standard for Leinster.

Athletics Award winner Molly Scott broke a 60m indoor Irish record during 2022, and also competed at the European Indoor Championships.

Darts winner Adam Dee is thought to be future star within his sport and once again proved his potential during 2022, while Billiards Award winner Annette Newman continues to dominate her sport.

Rowing Award winner Jack Keating joined an elite list of Irish rowers to have won twice at the Henley Royal Regatta.

Damien McGrane takes the Golf Award after winning his third Irish PGA Championship.

Also to be recognised on the night are Hall of Fame inductee Pat Walker, Setanta Award winner Sean Hanafin and Billy Delaney, who will receive the Service to Sport award.

Of course, there will also be the overall Sports Person of the Year award which will be named on the night. The people of Carlow will have the chance to help in picking that winner and further details will be released on that in the coming weeks.

This year we have joined with St Clare’s Hospitality-Food Kitchen as our charity partner and there will be a raffle on the night to help raise funds for this very worthy cause.

Overall, it promises to be a fantastic night and there will much more on all the winners on these pages in the coming weeks. If you want to join us on the night, tickets are now on sale and you can get more details on those from Breda McDonald at 086-8399110.




GAA FOOTBALL – Conor Crowley (Palatine and Carlow)

HURLING – Paul Doyle (St Mullins and Carlow)

LADIES FOOTBALL – Rachel Sawyer (Old Leighlin and Carlow)

CAMOGIE – Kate Nolan (Myshall and Carlow)

MENS SOCCER – Dean Kelly (New Oak Boys)

LADIES SOCCER – Kylie Murphy (Wexford Youths)

RUGBY – Ed Byrne (Leinster and Ireland)

LADIES RUGBY – Dannah O’Brien (Tullow, Old Belvedere and Ireland)

ATHLETICS – Molly Scott

GOLF – Damien McGrane

HORSE RACING – Wille Mullins

ROWING – Jack Keating

DARTS – Adam Dee

BILLIARDS – Annette Newman




SERVICE TO SPORT – Billy Delaney

SETANTA AWARD – Sean Hanafin

HALL OF FAME – Pat Walker

SPORTS PERSON OF THE YEAR – To be announced on the night


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