Grand National Champion Katie Walsh ‘saddles up’ to win Sportswoman of the Month
Dublin, Wednesday, 9th May, 2012 – Top lady jockey, Katie Walsh, has today been named The Irish Times / Irish Sports Council ‘Sportswoman of the Month’ for April, following her remarkable third place finish in this year’s Grand National which was the highest ever finish by a woman jockey.
The Kildare-born jockey made her debut in the race aboard Seabass, trained by Ted Walsh, her father, and made the Aintree records books, beating off competition from Nina Carberry by becoming the most successful lady jockey to ride in the history of the Grand National.
Commenting on her third place finish in the race, Walsh said, “It was just absolutely fantastic, an unbelievable experience I’ll never, ever forget. I love looking back on the race on my own, on the overused Sky+ button, just re-living it all. It was a special day. It was a dream come true for me just to get a ride in the race, but to be placed at the end was fantastic.”
This is the 27 year old’s second time to win a Sportswoman award and she will battle it out against the other monthly winners including cross country runner, Fionnuala Britton, show jumper, Jessica Kurten, rugby player, Fiona Coghlan and hockey player, Audrey O’Flynn in December 2012 for the overall Sportswoman of the Year title.
Established in 2004, the aim of the Sportswoman of the Year awards is to recognise the abilities and achievements of women in Irish sports. The awards run over a 12 month period, with the judges selecting a winner each month for her ability to excel at sport. From the 12 monthly winners, the overall Sportswoman of the Year is selected and announced in December. The winner is decided by a judging panel, which is represented by individuals from The Irish Times, RTÉ, and the Evening Herald.
(This year’s awards cover December 2011 to November 2012)
Fionnuala Britton (Athletics)
The Wicklow runner emulated Catherina McKiernan’s 1994 European Cross Country Championship success by winning gold in Slovenia, a year after suffering the disappointment of finishing just outside the medals.
Jessica Kürten (Equestrian)
After a difficult year, when she lost her most experienced horses following a dispute with their owner, and having dropped out of the top 100 in the world rankings, Kürten bounced back with her first major Grand Prix victory in 12 months, winning a nine horse jump-off in Amsterdam.
Fiona Coghlan (Rugby)
Coghlan earned this title after showing her strength and commitment as captain to the Irish team, who are now looking set to finish third in the final Six Nations Championship, for a fourth year in-a-row.
Audrey O’Flynn (Hockey)
The Cork-born hockey player and her team narrowly missed out to Belgium in reaching the London Olympics after they were defeated 4-1 by Belgium in the qualifier final, conceding three goals in seven first-half minutes. Ireland’s Audrey O’Flynn finished the top scorer at the tournament.