Hugely respected veteran figures in sport and talented young people starting out on their careers received their Annerville Awards at a gala presentation dinner at Hotel Minella,Clonmel on Saturday,
The big achievers of 2012 in sport from Tipperary were honoured by the United Sports Panel who hosted the Annerville Awards.
The prestigious Knocknagow Award was presented to a great hero of yesteryear Larry Kiely, a centre forward on one of the greatest Tipperary senior hurling teams of all time and an International champion showjumper, a true legend of Tipperary sport.
The Tipperary sporting great said he was ‘so humbled’ to receive the award because so many ‘wonderful’ people had received in the years gone by.
Larry Kiely said he was very happy to join such a club and he was honoured to be named a Knocknagow w inner.
He had won many medals and awards throughout a glittering career but said this one was special as it encapsulated all his sporting life.
“Its probably the longest ever apprenticeship. I started playing for Tipp minors in 1957, so to get this award fifty five later is wonderful,” he said.
After accepting the award Larry Kiely said it was fantastic to see young people receive awards and he said every encouragement should be given to young people to take part in sport.
“It is so important that we have dedicated people willing to give up their time in all the different sports to ensure that young people get a chance to play sport.Its all about participation.It is so important for the development of children It teaches you how to discipline your self,it builds character and brings great friendships, it is so important,” he said.
Breeda Christie,a woman who has devoted her entire life to athletics in Tipperary Town, was the recipient of a new award introduced by the USP, the Lifetime Achievement Award and the man who guided Tipperary minor hurlers to All-Ireland glory in September, William Maher received the Sean Lyons Sports Executive Award.
The Awards have been in existence since 1959, previously called the ‘Cidona’ awards until 2007 when , following the sale of the Cidona brand by Bulmers, the awards were renamed the Annerville Awards.
Tributes to the award winners were led by the Mayor of Clonmel Cllr.Billy Shoer who said it was fitting that the people who had achieved the highest standards in their respective sports were honoured as were people who had dedicated their lives to the promotion of sport,those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to promote sport and get the very best out of athletes in a wide range of sporting endeavours.
The Clonmel mayor said the United Sports Panel had sat to adjudicate on sporting achievements in the county for the last fifty three years and their commitment and knowledge they had built up over the years was invaluable.
Cllr.Shoer paid tribute to the winners in the sports of athletics- Sean Tobin,hurling- Michael Cahill,football- Kevin Harney,rugby- Ed Leamy,soccer- Adrian Walsh,golf- Pat Murray, pitch and putt- Noel Joyce,snooker- Brendan O’Donoghue,boxing- Lee Kelly Calvin Boland and Nora Doyle,handball- Daniel Hayes Colin Ryan Jason English and hockey- Ursuline Secondary School and to the winners of the special awards, the Sean Lyons Sports Executive , LIfetime Achievement Award and the Special Achievement Award.
Chairman of the United Sports Panel Seamus McCarthy said he was honoured to host the evening and said the purpose of the USP was to recognise and promote amateur sport in Tipperary through the annual awards and the recognition that comes with election for an award.
The chairman said they welcomed Tipperary’s bravest and best from the Shannon to the Suir to the awards ceremony.
He told the large audience that he wards, for many years know as the ‘Cidona’ awards, have been running since the schemes inception in 1959 and was certainly the most enduring and prestigious in the county.
“Our recipients in the many different disciplines have experienced many great sporting moments and moments are all about drama - sometimes defeats, sometimes triumphs but essentially about people and in Tipperary we have sports people to stand comparison with anywhere in the country.
Sport particularly amateur sport brings out the true spirit of participation .We congratulate you all and thank you for representing Tipperary so positively throughout 2012,” the chairman told the recipients of the awards.
He described the winner of the Knocknagow Award as a super athlete who achieved greatness carrying the Blue and gold of Tipperary to All-Ireland success on arguably the greatest hurling team ever and the proudly wore of green of Ireland as a champion international show jumper.The chairman said the USP had decided to introduce a new honour to the awards that of Lifetime Achievement Award and he described Breeda Christie, as a peprso who exemplified the the tru e spirit of volunteerism as Breeda, a role model, a lleader and a lady” represented a lifetime of ‘giving’.
The occasion, he said, recognised special achievments in sport and he was delighted that Sheila Gregan , a whose achievements at the recent Transplant games were truly remarkable and the USP members were honoured to recognise the human spirit of generosity displayed by Sheila Gregan from Nenagh.
Mr. Bob Beadle, representing Bulmers, said he was greatly impressive by the line up of sporting stars.He admired them for their dedication and the sacrifices all of them had to make to achieve what they had at the very highest level of sport.He said the people beihind the scenes, the coaches and managers and volunteers=, behind the personal stories of all the award winners, deserved great praise for their dedication in helping y oung peoleparticipate in sport.
The USP is made up of Seamus McCarthy, Davy Hallinan, Seamus J King, Ken Conway,Liam O donchu, Jimmy cooney, Johnny O’Loughlin, Richie Blanche,Eamonn Wynne, Connie Carroll and Muiris Walsh.