Thursday, May 11, 2023

THIS Friday evening in the Woodford Dolmen Hotel we will host the first Quarterly Sports Awards since before the Covid lockdown. Achievements during the months of January, February and March will be honoured on the night and you can see from the list of winners that the standard is incredibly high across a variety of sports.

Thoughts are already turning to the second quarter winners and if you would like to nominate somebody then please email the reasons to [email protected].




Borris Vocational School

At the end of January, the Borris Vocational School camogie team won the Leinster colleges junior camogie B final beating Presentation Wexford in New Ross. It was a battling performance but, but  with victories over Castlecomer CS and Mountrath CS the grounds for that victory were set before Christmas and into the New Year. It wasn’t all plain sailing as the Carlow side were brought back down to earth when Johnstown College won their round-robin clash.

That defeat focussed the team and they accounted for Gorey CS in the quarter-final. Banagher were seen off in the semi and then came the decider. It was tight. Roisin Joyce may have scored 1-3 and Abhainn Coady hit 0-3 but it was a total team effort as the South Carlow college won the provincial crown.

It was off to Castlemahon in County Limerick for an All-Ireland semi-final against Hazelwood College, Dromcollogher where Molly Kavanagh’s late goal saw Borris complete an amazing comeback. There were heroes all over the field that day. It was the ultimate team performance and one which the players will surely savour for the rest of their lives.

The dream of All-Ireland glory may have ended at the hands of an excellent Naomh Mhuire of Ennis in Abbeyleix  but it was a bloodied but unbowed Borris Vocational School team who headed back to County Carlow from Rathdowney that evening. The entire panel  did themselves, their school, their clubs and their wonderful coaches and teachers proud in an unforgettable year for camogie in Borris Vocational School.




Maria Dunne

Maria Dunne
Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

The Laurence O’Toole’s athlete, Maria Dunne (St Laurence O’Tooles AC) enjoyed spectacular success at the World Masters Indoors Athletics Championships in Torun when she won a silver medal in the over 45s 800 metres event. She was creating her own bit of history and it was steady as it goes when  she completed her heat in a time of 2.26.26. For the final she had to run almost five seconds faster to medal.

The decider was a tactical run race where she knew an Australian and American runner were likely to set the early pace. This is what transpired but Annette Quaid of the Leevale club took a decisive lead and was always destined for gold in a time of 2.17.55. It was a battle for the silver and bronze with Dunne edging out Evette Cordy (Australia) in a time of 2.21.84. Both Quaid and Dunne actually broke the existing Irish record for the event.

“It just shows the depth of talent when you go to these events is insane,” said Maria.

From Castlecomer originally, the Masters runner dabbled with athletics as a juvenile. Seven years ago, when she started bringing her son to the St Laurence O’Tooles club she got the urge to run herself.

“The rest is history,” she pointed out. “It has turned out well.”




Marty Kavanagh

Marty Kavanagh Photo:

When Marty Kavanagh took to the field for Carlow’s NHL 2A match against Down at Netwatch Cullen Park, history was beckoning. He needed four points to become Carlow’s highest ever senior intercounty scorer. He did it in style. His thirteen point point haul dually brought him  clear of his St Mullins clubman, Pat Coady.

When that game was over, the new record holder had scored 29 goals and 600 points (687 points) in 106 games  ahead of Coady who annexed 14-634 from 128 games. The St Mullins club, Red Liamy Walsh,  with 56 goals and 266 points (434) completes a clean sweep for St Mullins of the top three placings.

Going into the game that Sunday, the history maker  in waiting was not concentrating on breaking the record.

“I wasn’t really aware of it. Pat Coady texted me a few weeks ago. I knew then I wasn’t that far away but I didn’t look into it,” said Marty after the game.

Typically the St Mullins sharpshooter was only worried about the team and Carlow’s progress for the season.

“It is obviously a nice thing to have the record but we had a good day overall. The performance was good. It is obviously nice to do but at the moment we are determined to get a bit of silverware this year. That is the main objective and hopefully we can push on,” said the Carlow history maker.




Matthew Callinan Keenan

Matthew Callinan Keenan
Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

It is a discipline which hardly ever gets the attention other sporting events receive  but for this athlete, he gives as much if not more to the sport of pole vaulting. The reward for Matthew Callinan Keenan was gold in the pole vault in the National Indoor Championships which took place at the National Indoor Arena in Dublin in February.

The Carlow athlete was winning his third indoor title to go with an outdoor gold. His jump of 4.80 was too good for Michael Bowler of Enniscorthy who vaulted 4.65. The St Laurence O’Toole’s athlete has been capped three times at senior and twice at underage and is hoping to represent his country once again.

“It was really good. It equalled by personal best as I had been struggling to get back up to my best. I am really happy to be back up to where I am at my best,” he said.

Matthew is working in Dublin but comes home as often as possible.

“I am not really involved with a club. Just lucky the pole-vaulting community is so nice they allow me to train with them in the National Arena in Blanchardstown,” he explained.

Coach, Mick Hyland, from Carlow has nothing but praise for Matthew.

“He is so dedicated. He was a good hurler but he gave up other sports to concentrate on pole-vaulting. It is only a matter of time before he gets over that 5 metres.”




Tommy Payne

Tommy Payne Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile 

Carlow long-distance  athlete, Tommy Payne, needs no introduction. He has done it all for club and county but his success in the World Masters Athletics Championship in Torun, Poland in March matched any of his previous achievements.

Winning one medal is an achievement in itself  but his week started when he took individual silver in the 8km over 65s cross-country event and the team won gold.

A few days later, the Carlow athlete added a bronze in the over 65s Masters 10km road-race. It was an astonishing few days for the Carlow man who admitted he was in good shape in the lead up to the championships.

“I was preparing for it over the last few months. Things were ok,” he said on his return home.

He had ear-marked the venue for months and prepared accordingly.

“I knew since well before Christmas. Maybe last October I decided I was going. I did have a few niggles. Anthony (Star) Geoghegan was looking after me  so I was ok going over.”

He  now has his sights set on the  British and Irish cross country races for Scotland in  November.

“I will tip along during the summer without going mad and will build it up nearer the event,” he explained.





Peter Grogan

Peter Grogan scores for Ireland during the Under-18 Schools Cententary Shield International against England
Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

For any young footballer growing up around the country, the ultimate dream must be to pull on the green jersey and score against Ireland’s biggest rivals.

Crettyard youngster Peter Grogan lived that dream in March when he score against the English schools team in the Centenary Shield. It was quite the way in which to mark the honour of being made captain for the game. In all, Grogan played four games for the Irish schools team with the Carlow CBS student also scoring in the game against Wales.

Grogan also continues to make his name in the Under 19 National League with Bohemians and this is clearly a young player to keep an eye out for.




Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly
Photo: Mark McDermott

Very quickly, Carlow teenager Aoife Kelly has marked herself out as one of the outstanding young talents in Irish football. The former St Pats player made the move to Shamrock Rovers ahead of the new season and despite being one of the youngest players in a team of stars, she has quickly earned her place as the Hoops begin what they hope will be a sustained push for league glory.

Kelly has also starred for the Ireland Under 17 team. In February, she scored the only goal in a friendly win over Switzerland. That game was a warm up for the UEFA European WU17 Championship qualifiers in France. Kelly played in all three games as Ireland beat Kosovo, had a hugely memorable win over Italy and then pushed the hosts for over an hour until the heat and efforts of the week took their toll. Kelly is another whose career only appears to be heading in an upward trajectory.




Carlow Tennis Club

Just like most other sports the Covid pandemic brought an end to activities in Carlow Tennis Club but as restrictions were lifted the club adapted and has come back stronger than ever.

On the badminton front a number of club players, including Jake Nolan, Paddy Nolan, Ava Dowling, Aine Dowling were on the County Carlow team which won a Leinster under 19 club title.  Top squash player, Ciara Moloney,  annexed a national Masters titles and was appointed to captain the Irish ladies squash team in the European Championships.

On the tennis courts the club won a Leinster division 1 title with Yvonne Collier, Nikola Freislerova, Michael Hyland and Paul Quinn emerging as worthy winners when beating Wexford 4-0 in the decider.

The club is a hive of activity with the numbers at all ages playing tennis  is rising all the time which is having a positive knock-on effect for both squash and badminton.




Donagh Murphy

Donagh Murphy

Running out at Croke Park is the dream of every young hurler but it is not the place to be after losing a big final. Donagh Murphy endured that last year with his school St Kieran’s of Kilkenny when they were beaten by Ardscoil Rís. When Murphy and co arrived back in Croke Park for this year’s final against Presentation College, Athenry they were determined that there would be no mistakes this around.

So it proved, with Murphy among the goals as they won 3-13 to 0-12. The Mount Leinster Rangers clubman struck for the second goal with a brilliant. Murphy is somebody who continues to catch the eye for his club and at underage level for his county, let’s hope we see plenty more of him scoring goals and lifting trophies at Croke Park into the future.




Amy Dooley

Amy Dooley
Photo: ©INPHO/Ben Whitley

Amy Dooley is not the kind of basketballer who immediately catches the eye. She doesn’t end matches with a huge tally of points and she is not the player who makes the headlines but you don’t need to tell Mark Scannell, her coach at The Address UCC Glanmire, about her qualities.

Indeed, such was the level of Dooley’s performances during Glanmire’s double winning season that Scannell ended the season bemused that Dooley has yet to receive a senior international call up.

Perhaps that is to come in the future but for now, Dooley can revel in a magnificent season as Glanmire won both the Super League and Women’s Champions Trophy.

Dooley is an incredible presence under the basket and is a rebound winning machine. She is the kind of player that every manager and team-mate loves as she does the unseen work that makes a tick. The Address UCC Glanmire have been the dominant team in Irish womens basketball over the past few years and Dooley’s importance for them is growing every year.


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