NUI Galway has announced the recipients of the 2012 Sports Awards which were presented by Brent Pope, rugby analyst with RTÉ, in the Aula Maxima in NUI Galway on Thursday, 29 March. The event is the highpoint of the University sporting year, and celebrates the achievements of NUI Galway sporting heroes during the past year.
The awards recognise sporting performance and participation as well as acknowledging students who have excelled in the leadership and co-ordination of their sports clubs.
The broad range and level of success of sports at NUI Galway is reflected through this year’s award winners. Sligo’s Des Leonard won a silver medal this year at the World Kickboxing Championships held in Dublin, while Jennifer Byrne was part of the successful Irish U19 Women’s Soccer team at their World Cup in Trinidad. Adam Caulfield led the NUI Galway Water polo team to Victory in the IUSWA national competition.
Kathy Hynes, Development Officer, Sport Clubs and Participation: “NUI Galway recognises the outstanding contribution of student athletes across many diverse sporting disciplines for their achievements in sport. Included in the awards ceremony is the recognition of the skills of self motivation, commitment and direction of a particular goal with the tenacity to maintain a consistent application of both behaviour and mind to further the clubs goals. The contribution of student clubs to campus life and the importance of participation in sport and exercise is rightfully recognised and celebrated through this award ceremony.”
This year the awards will also remember one of the great contributors to university life over the past 30 years, and the Tom Tuohy Memorial Award will be presented for achievement in rowing. Tom Tuohy was one of the country’s greatest ever rowing coaches, whose association with NUI Galway crews led them to remarkable victories over the years and to numerous national championship titles, International caps and Olympians. Tom had a profound influence on a huge number of people and for the first time this year the inaugural award recipients are the Men’s and Women’s novice crews who enjoyed much success at the National Championships in 2011.
Speaking of the special award, Gary Ryan, Development Officer for Elite Sports at NUI Galway, said: “Tom was a great coach, a great leader and a huge influence on rowing in this country and NUI Galway was extremely lucky to have benefitted from his expertise. It is only fitting that we remember his contribution and thank him and his family for all he did for the University and its students and staff over a long period of time.”
The NUI Galway Spots Awards also recognise the huge contribution students make to the running and development of their clubs and the opportunities for participation they give to others.
The recipient of Club Captain’s Award this year is Louise Riordan from the Ladies Hockey Club recognising the enormous contribution of an individual student to the successful running of sports clubs. As Intervarsity co-ordinator Louise was praised by President of the Irish Hockey Association as the best intervarsity she had ever attended. Louise’s leadership and project management skills have ensured that NUIG Hockey club is firmly on the map nationally.
This year’s Committee Person of the Year Award went to Christine Quinn from the Sub Aqua Club. Christine was awarded this inaugural award for her dedication to diving and improving the profile of the club through regional, national and international rankings.
The Archery Club took the honours for The Sport Leadership Award which is a partnership between University sports clubs, ALIVE, the University Alumni Office and Student Services. This award recognises the leadership qualities of students participating in sports clubs and the vital role it plays in developing and promoting sport in NUI Galway.
The awards have been in existence since 1983, and have proven to be hugely significant to the student body, past winners includ such leading names as Paul Hession and Olive Loughnane (Athletics) Eadoin Ní Challarain (kayaking) Alan Martin, Cormac Folan and James Wall (rowing) and former Irish Rugby captain Ciaran Fitzgerald.
2012 Sports Award Winners:
Archery: Darren Wallace from Co. Laois
Ladies Soccer: Jennifer Byrne from Athlone, Co Westmeath
Boxing: David Martin from Castlebar, Mayo
Gaelic Football: Deirdre Brennan from Claregalway, Co. Galway
Swimming, Kevin McGlade from Knocknacarra, Galway
Hurling: David Kenny from Belmont, Co Offaly
Rugby: Carol Staunton from Westport, Co Mayo
Waterpolo: Adam Caulfield from Taylors Hill, Galway
Gaelic Football: Robbie Kiely from Bandon, Co. Cork
Judo: Enda O’ Connor from Grattan Road, Galway
Mens Soccer: Ger Cheevers from Oranmore, Co Galway
Kickboxing: Des Leonard from Riverstown, Co Sligo
Team Award: Pool & Snooker ‘A’ team – Stephen Dempsey (Capt.), Seamus Keane, Stephen O’Sullivan, Neil Hennelly and Liam Cannon
Tom Tuohy Award for Achievement in Rowing: Men’s Novice and Women’s Novice Rowing Teams
Club Captains Award: Hockey Club Captain Louise Riordan, Blackrock, Cork City.
Committee Member Award: Christina Quinn, Sub Aqua Club from Tuam Road, Galway
Most Improved Club: Squash Club, Captain Shane Touhy, Galway
Special Achievement Award: Judo Club, Captain Jake Walsh and Vice Captain Sarah Dillon, Coach Colm O’ Riordan
Participation Award : Athletics Club Dee O’ Dwyer and Oisin O’Carroll
Recreation Award: Futsal winners “Darren & the B” A group of Arts, Science and Business students
Alumni Leadership Award: Archery Club
Alive Volunteering Award: Swim, Waterpolo and Lifesaving Club