SP1S1Pic2 SP1S1Pic1
Park Hotel Supreme Sports Stars for 2015: Gary Hurley and Thomas Barr. See Sport 12 and 13 for Sean Byrne’s photos from a star-studded night.
The Silver Anniversary edition of the Park Hotel Sports Star Awards, held on Saturday night last, yielded joint winners in World University Games champion Thomas Barr and Walker Cup winner Gary Hurley.
For the first time in the Award scheme’s quarter century of recognising Waterford’s leading sportsmen and women, the adjudicating panel couldn’t separate the Ferrybank AC and West Waterford GC stars.
And, on the whole, most among the packed function room found themselves readily in agreement with the decision, which was announced by guest of honour John Giles.
With Thomas currently training in South Africa, parents Tom Senior and Martina proudly accepted the award on his behalf, while Gary, buoyed on by boisterous home support, was on hand to pick up his Supreme Sports Star Award.
“We’re thrilled for Thomas,” said Martina. “We’re very proud of him and this rounds off what’s been a terrific year for Thomas, winning the World University Games, competing in the Diamond League and making his qualifying time for the Olympic Games in Rio.”
Coach Brid Golden added: “I’m absolutely delighted for Thomas. He has put so much into his hurdling over the past few years and has developed with incredible pace and shown such great dedication to flourish, as he had, as a senior athlete and to become a Diamond League regular, something we’ve not had in Irish athletics for quite some time.”
Following in the footsteps of fellow club mate Seamus Power in taking the award, Gary Hurley said he was “over the moon” to receive such recognition on home soil.
“To have won three monthly awards was a thrill in itself, but to win the overall award is incredibly humbling. It was a great year, to be involved in a Walker Cup winning team, my last as an amateur, so if I’m ever back here, it’ll be for something I’ll have achieved as a professional.
“It’s a very special award; to be up on the same list as so many outstanding sportspeople from Waterford is a great honour, there’s nothing like being recognised at home, and I’m very thankful to the adjudicators for this and for everyone who has helped me to reach this point in my career: my family, my friends and everyone at West Waterford Golf Club.”
Guest of honour John Giles told MC Kieran O’Connor: “It’s a fantastic event, a credit to Pierce Flynn and everyone at the Park Hotel that they’ve kept this going for 25 years, and for me to have any sort of association with such a positive night and a celebration of sport is something I was delighted to be a part of.”
* See next week’s edition for an in-depth interview with Gary Hurley as he looks ahead to the 2016 Challenge Tour.