The short list of nominees for the 2011 Canon Hayes National Sports Awards in the categories of local and county Awards were announced at a reception at Ballykisteen Hotel on Monday.
In attendance at the event were category nominees and supporters along with sponsor representatives, Mayor of Tipperary, Cllr. Jacqui Finnan and Chairman of South Tipperary County Council, Cllr. Michael Fitzgerald.
In announcing the short list of nominees, Chairman of the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre Martin Quinn, thanked all those who had submitted nominations and he also thanked the judging panels for their deliberations to date. He said that the awards were now in their 16th year and that they were regarded as being a true barometer of the sporting year. Martin also thanked the award sponsors; TASK Community Care (National), Irish Public Bodies Mutual Insurances Ltd. (County) and Ballykisteen Hotel & Golf Resort (Outstanding Achievement) and he also thanked South Tipperary Sports Partnership for their sponsorship of the Volunteer in Sport Award. The award winners will be announced on the night of Saturday November 26th at a gala dinner and awards ceremony at Ballykisteen Hotel and Golf Resort. Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport, Mr. Alan Kelly, T.D., will present the awards on the night. Tickets for the black tie event are priced at €50 each and can be reserved by calling the Canon Hayes Sports Centre on 065-52022.
The three short listed nominees in the category of Local Award are as follows:
Anne Kinane Creamer and Jo Kinahan, both members of Tipperary Golf Club, won the All Ireland Irish Mail Fourball Trophy in September of this year. On their way to achieving this prestigious trophy the ladies beat Ballykisteen, Limerick Golf Club (Ballyclough), Mitchelstown, Kilkenny, Kenmare, Mount Bellew, The Island (Dublin) and finally Edenderry. They were also on the Tipperary Golf Club Team which was narrowly beaten in the Midlands Final of the Diageo Mixed Foursomes Competition.
Pat O’Connell, a member of the Tipperary Light Car & Motorcycle Club, has risen to the top of his discipline nationally and was crowned the 2010 Petro Systems National Forestry Champion last year. After being runner-up in 2009 he came out and won the first three rounds of the championship in 2010 and followed this up with third placings in the next two rounds, which was sufficient to see him take the national title with two rounds to spare.
The Tipperary based Special Olympics Clubs had the distinction of representing Tipperary and Munster on Team Ireland at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens. Having earlier excelled at the S.O. Ireland Games, they went on to represent their club and country with pride, passion and sporting excellence and as part of the Irish Squad in Athens they brought home 4 bronze medals, 2 fourth places and a sixth placing.
The the short listed nominees in the category of County Award are as follows:
Cashel R.F.C. has a very strong rugby tradition and has enjoyed great success at under age and junior levels in recent years with 2009 being a particularly successful one for the club, when it won an unprecedented nine cups. Investment in their teams and their facilities has paid rich dividends for the club with many players returning from various clubs throughout the AIL leagues to play with a side that is now competing in the Ulster Bank League. This is a challenge that is not daunting Cashel in any way as they have moved to first in Division 2B following a 51-3 win over Boyne on Saturday last. Currently they are the 2011 Munster Junior League Champions, Junior Cup Winners, Glesson League Champions, Webb Cup Winners and Munster League Cup Winners. They also hold the title of Munster Junior Club of the Year for 2011 and you would not bet against them winning the province’s Senior Club of the Year award in the not too distant future.
St. Michael’s A.F.C., Tipperary, had a very successful season 2010/2011. They entered five competitions at the start of the season and won three; the inaugural John Delaney Cup which is competed for between North and South Tipperary; they defeated Clonmel Celtic to win the Tipperary Cup and their third trophy of the season came when they defeated Carrick Utd in the Munster Junior Cuip Final. This was their sixth provincial title and is a record that they hold with Fairview Rangers. They also qualified for their second FAI Junior Cup Final in succession but unfortunately were defeated by Pike Rovers. Three of their players represented Ireland in the Regions Cup which was held in Portugal; James Walsh, Paul Breen and Chris Higgins, with James setting a new record this year for representing his country at Junior and Amateur level.
The Tipperary Minor Football Team became All-Ireland champions this year for the first time since 1934 following a dramatic victory over Dublin in a thrilling final. After a brilliant start in which they scored 1-1 in the first two minutes, Tipperary trailed until the closing stages of the game when Colman Kennedy smashed home a 57th minute goal that effectively won them the title and the Tom Markham Cup for the first time in 77 years. The Premier boys played some fantastic football this season and claimed the scalps of Kerry, Cork, Meath and Roscommon en route to the final. The fantastic fighting spirit and steel of the team came to the fore on several ocassions throughout the year and their victory over favourties Dublin in the All-Ireland Final rounded off a fantastic year for the team and management and for the continued progress and development of football in Tipperary.
The short listed nominees in the other categories will be announced next week and will include those in contention for the national and outstanding achievement awards along with the recipient of the Mick Doyle Golden Memory Award and those nominated for the Volunteer in Sport Award.
The awards event on Saturday November 26th will be attend by representatives of many national bodies and organisations including The Irish Sports Council, The Olympic Council of Ireland, The Federation of Irish Sports, The Paralympic Council of Ireland, Special Olympics Ireland, Athletics Ireland and the F.A.I. Many of the leading names in Irish sport are also expected to attend the glittering awards ceremony.