All Star hurler Padraic Maher, the Tipperary team that won the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship and the Cashel rugby club, whose first team earned senior status and qualified for the All-Ireland League, are among those honoured by the Tipperary United Sports Panel in its selection of the Annerville Award winners for 2011.
They are joined in the list of award winners by Irish international hockey goalkeeper Pamela Smithwick, St. Michael’s Irish junior soccer player Paul Breen and three Clonmel boxers - Jack Connolly, Shauna O’Keeffe and Shannon Power- who each won Irish titles and fought in the world championships.
The Knocknagow Award, which each year is presented to a sportsperson of the past, has been awarded to a handballer for the first time. He’s Connie Cleere from Nenagh, who won All-Ireland titles at minor, junior and senior level in a career that stretched from the late 1950s to the 1970s.
One of Ireland’s top-class middle distance runners, Sean Tobin, has been chosen for the Athletics award after an outstanding year that saw him win the All-Ireland Boys U-17 cross-country title. He followed that up by winning the 3,000 metres at the AAI Games, which earned him the qualifying time for both the European and World Youth Track and Field Championships in Turkey.
Talented Carrick-on-Suir cyclist Michael O’Loughlin will collect back-to-back Annerville awards after another tremendous year in which he won a total of 22 races, including the All-Ireland Time Trial Championship, which he won by 25 seconds.
Ballina handballer Fergal Collins has also been chosen for his second successive award – and his fourth in total – after completing an All-Ireland double in the U-21 Singles 40 x 20 and 60 x 30.
Pride of place in Tipperary’s GAA year went to the Tipperary Minor Footballers that won the Munster and All-Ireland Championships and it comes as no surprise that the team has won the Gaelic Football award.
There’s a double success for the team as manager David Power has been selected for the Sean Lyons Sports Executive Award.
The footballers weren’t the only Tipperary team to win an All-Ireland Minor championship, as the county camogie team did likewise by winning the A title for the first time.
And in Ladies Football the county U-14s followed suit by winning the All-Ireland championship, also for the first time, when they beat Roscommon in the final.
Tipperary didn’t manage to retain their All-Ireland Senior Hurling title but the performances of defender Padraic Maher illuminated the championship in a year in which he was nominated for the Hurler of the Year award.
Classy centre back Paul Breen consolidated his place in the Irish amateur soccer squad that qualified for the UEFA Regions Cup for the first time and he also helped his club St. Michael’s win the Munster Junior Cup, as well as reaching another FAI Junior Cup Final.
Nenagh hockey player Pamela Smithwick is an established member of the Irish squad that will be aiming for qualification for next year’s Olympics in London.
Meanwhile, Cashel rugby club swept the boards during the year, winning no fewer than five Munster trophies, the highlight of which was the Junior 1 League, which earned them promotion to the All-Ireland League.
The awards, which are sponsored by Bulmers, will be presented to the Tipperary sports stars of the year at the Panel’s annual function, which will be held at Hotel Minella, Clonmel on Saturday night, January 28th.
The full list of award winners is
Athletics – Sean Tobin, Clonmel
Boxing – Jack Connolly, Shauna O’Keeffe and Shannon Power, Clonmel Club
Camogie – Tipperary Minor team
Cycling – Michael O’Loughlin, Carrick-on-Suir
Gaelic Football – Tipperary Minor team
Handball – Fergal Collins, Ballina
Hockey – Pamela Smithwick, Nenagh
Hurling – Padraic Maher, Thurles Sarsfields
Ladies Football – Tipperary U-14 team
Rugby – Cashel club
Sean Lyons Sports Executive Award – David Power, Kilsheelan
Soccer – Paul Breen, St. Michael’s
Knocknagow Award – Connie Cleere, Nenagh