Nina Carberry was today crowned The Irish Times/Irish Sports Council ‘Sportswoman of the Year 2011.
The 25 year old from Ratoath, Co. Meath was presented with her award by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, at an awards ceremony in Dublin. Following an outstanding year for Irish women in sport, Nina was among 14 sports stars nominated for the 2011 title.
Ireland’s most renowned and respected lady golfer Mary McKenna was also awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her valued contribution to the world of golf.
Nina won her Sportswoman of the Month award in April for her flawless performance in the Irish Grand National where she became only the second female jockey to win the race. It is hoped that her strong performance this year will inspire more women to enter the professional horse racing arena.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, said: “Irish sportswomen have excelled both nationally and internationally in a range of sports. Today we have recognised Irish women from horseracing and canoeing to golfing and rugby. Their success is a result of commitment and dedication to their sport and their training.
Their exploits on the field will help motivate thousands of girls and young women to continue to excel in sport, giving us a new generation of Irish sportswomen to be proud of.
To the ladies celebrated here today I would say: Ireland needs you as sports heroes. We share in your continued success and are looking forward to watching your careers soar even higher. ”
Speaking after her win, Nina said: “I’m honoured to be named the Sportswoman of the Year, especially given the fantastic year that it’s been for all Irish sportswomen. All the women whose achievements were celebrated this year, including Katie Taylor, Leona and Lisa Maguire, Fionnuala Britton and Madeline Perry, have contributed to gaining much needed recognition for females in sports. I would like to congratulate all of the other finalists on their amazing successes that have brought us all here today.”
Commenting on behalf of the Awards sponsor, Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of The Irish Sports Council said: “When Irish sports do well in the international arena it benefits all of us, bringing positive recognition for the country, an improved reputation and a boost to morale. It is women like Nina Carberry, Katie Taylor and Fionnuala Britton with her stunning gold success at the European Cross Country Championships, as well as their coaching teams that bring these benefits to Ireland.
Fionnuala along with the Murphys, swimmer Gráinne and sailor Annalise have all qualified for next year’s Olympic Games in London. The Irish Sports Council is proud to be part of an awards that recognises this valuable contribution. Congratulations to Nina who has had a very successful year.”
Mary McKenna, who was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, has captained the Irish golf team on four occasions, the joint Great Britain-Ireland team twice in the Curtis Cup against America and four times in the Vagliano Cup against Continental Europe. She has been active in Irish golf since that age of 14 and in 2006 was awarded an honorary MBE for her contribution to the sport in Ireland and Britain.
Other high achievers commended at the awards included Katie Taylor, following her fourth successive title at the European Union championships in Poland in June; high jumper Deirdre Ryan who secured her place in the 2012 Olympic Games this August and squash star Madeline Perry who seeded in the top three after her Singapore Master’s title this summer.
The winner is decided by a judging panel, which is represented by individuals from The Irish Times, RTÉ, and the Evening Herald.
Do YOU agree with the judges’ verdict? If so tell us why? If not who should have received the award in YOUR opinion and why?