The third annual National Athletics Awards nominations were announced recently by Athletics Ireland. The awards, in association with Woodie’s DIY and Tipperary Crystal will honour Ireland’s most successful athletes, coaches, clubs and officials, and Waterford figures prominently among the nominees.
This year has been very exciting and memorable for Irish Athletics with Olive Loughnane winning Silver at the World Championships and Mary Cullen and Derval O’Rourke taking Bronze at the European Indoor Championships.
The National Athletics Awards will take place on the 14th of November and will be a celebration of these successes and many others than the Athletics Ireland has enjoyed during the year. The achievements of clubs and coaches will also be recognised.
The Outstanding Official and Lifetime Achievement Awards also importantly honours those individuals who have provided years of voluntary work to athletics. The categories up for decision are: Track Athlete of the Year, Field Athlete of the Year, Cross Country/Road Athlete of the Year, Race Walker of the Year, Club of the Year, Outstanding Official, Coach of the Year, Emerging/Junior Athlete of the Year, Master Athlete of the Year, Outstanding Performance of the Year, Lifetime Achievement and the Hall of Fame Award.
The Track Athlete of the Year will be a hotly contested category with Mary Cullen (North Silgo AC), David Gillick (Dundrum South Dublin AC), Derval O’Rourke (Leevale AC) and Paul Hession (Athenry AC) all shortlisted.
The Cross Country/Road Athlete of the Year Award shortlist is Andrew Ledwith (Fr Murphy’s AC), Mary Cullen (North Sligo AC), Maria Mc Cambridge (Letterkenny AC) and Martin Fagan (Mullingar Harriers AC).
The Race Walker of the Year award will be decided between Robert Heffernan (Togher AC), Jamie Costin (West Waterford AC), Olive Loughnane (Loughrea AC) and Colin Griffin (Ballinamore AC).
Four of the country’s brightest talents are in the running for Emerging/Junior Athlete of the Year. These are Ciara Mageean (City of Lisburn AC), Niamh Whelan (Ferrybank AC), Colin Quirke (Crusaders AC) and Kourosh Foroughi (Star of the Sea AC).
The award winners are selected by a panel of highly-respected athletics experts with a wide knowledge and understanding of all disciplines of the sport.
Athletics clubs, athletes and officials from across the country have submitted nominations for their Coach of the Year and Club of the Year which has resulted in a short-list of worthy recipients.
The Club of the Year nominations are: Clonliffe Harriers AC, Ferrybank AC, Raheny Shamrock AC and Leevale AC. Coach of the Year nominations are Eddie Mc Donagh (Dundrum South Dublin AC), Sean & Terry Cahill (Cushinstown AC), Brid Golden (Ferrybank AC) and Eamonn Christie (Beechmount AC).
Kelly Proper Ferrybank is among the Field Athlete of Year nominees.
The Performance of the Year Award will be decided by a panel of Ireland’s top athletics journalists. Each of the award winners will receive a Tipperary Crystal trophy. The 2009 National Athletics Awards will take place on Saturday, 14th of November in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry.
A limited number of tickets are still available for the black tie event, priced at €100, and can be purchased on-line at www.athleticsireland.ie or by telephone + 353 (0)1 8869933.