Saturday, December 21, 2013

Irish Sportswoman of the Year

Former international racing driver Rosemary Smith who was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award and The Irish Times/Irish Sports Council ‘Sportswoman of the Year for 2013’ Fiona Coghlan at the Shelbourne Hotel. Photograph: Alan Betson  PIC Irish Times (link below) 
Fiona Coghlan, captain of the Irish rugby team has been named Irish Sports Council/ Irish Times SportsWoman of the Year.

It was great to see so many fantastic athletes listed for this title - she was picked from 12 monthly winners during the year, any of whom would have deserved the win! 

So why did she win? The Irish team took the Grand Slam title in February when they won the Six Nations tournament without losing a single match. 

This is a huge achievement in itself but when you think how hard women's rugby has had to struggle for recognition and support, it's a stand-out! I've been at a few of the Irish team's home-games and let's just say sometimes the crowed support wouldn't exactly fill the stands. Hopefully this will change now they've shown everyone what they can achieve. 

The whole team is in the running tonight for the Team of the Year awards from RTE, and manager Philip Doyle is up for manager of the year. 

But Sportswoman of the Year is a separate contest - done between the Irish Sports Council and The Irish Times. There is something very special about having these women recognised on their own. Johnny Watterson has a lovely interview with Coghlan here on the Irish Times website. 

But I loved, just loved this comment from the paper's Sports Editor at the end of that article: 

"Over the ten years of these awards, I have been struck by one particular thing, how unassuming the winners have been, whether Olympic champions or just monthly winners,” said Irish Times Sports Editor Malachy Logan. “They don’t carry the surly baggage of their male counterparts and what a refreshing change that is."

And so say all of us! 


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