Swimming-star, Gráinne Murphy, was today crowned The Irish Times/Irish Sports Council ‘Sportswoman of the Year 2010’ for her exceptional achievements throughout the year. The 17-year old was presented with her award by Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin T.D. at an awards ceremony in Dublin. Following an outstanding year for Irish women in sport, Gráinne was among 14 other sports stars up for the 2010 title.
Gráinne won her Sportswoman of the Month award in August for her performance at the senior European Championships, where she reached three finals and broke an Irish record, twice, and came home with a silver medal for the 1,500 metres freestyle. Since then, Gráinne has continued to add to her growing accolades by winning two bronze medals in the 800 metre and 400 metre freestyle events at the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Eindhoven last month. In Eindhoven, Gráinne also broke Michelle De Bruin’s 15-year-old Irish record in the 200 metre individual medley heats, cutting 0.6 of a second of the 1995 time.
Speaking after her win, Gráinne said: “I’m delighted to be named the Sportswoman of the Year, especially given the fantastic year that it’s been for all Irish sportswomen. It was an honour to even be included as a finalist with women such as Derval O’Rourke, Katie Taylor, Madeline Perry and Katie Walsh. I would like to congratulate all of the other finalists on their amazing successes that have brought us all here today.”
At the awards lunch, Geraldine Kennedy, Editor, The Irish Times said: “2010 has been without question the best year for women’s sport since these awards were established in 2004 and we have seen some extraordinary achievements from a remarkable group of sportswomen. The best of Irish sporting talent has provided some of the sublime moments in 2010 that have gladdened the heart and lifted the nation’s spirits. And, as everyone here appreciates, never have those moments been more needed. I would like to sincerely congratulate each of the outstanding 14 finalists for their wonderful contribution to Irish sport in 2010.”
The Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin T.D. said: “Irish sportswomen have excelled both nationally and internationally in a range of sports. It is very uplifting to see how dedicated all of these exceptional sportswomen are to their training. They are an inspiration to us all and a great role model for other young women to participate in sport. I congratulate every one of the finalists for not only their outstanding performances in 2010 but also for devotion to their sports. I want to also pay tribute to your families and coaches who work so hard in the background for each and every one of you. Sport needs its heroes and its champions and we all share in the pride of your achievements this past year. I want to also thank The Irish Times for their continued support for these awards which recognise the abilities and achievements of women in Irish Sport.”
Commenting on behalf of the Awards sponsor, Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of The Irish Sports Council said: “The success of Irish sports in the international arena is so important for the country in terms of recognition and morale. It is the dedication and hard work of all of our athletes that put Ireland on the map in such a positive way. I would like to congratulate Gráinne who has had a fantastic year. I have no doubt that she will continue to thrive and have much more success in her swimming career.”