BY KIERAN McCARTHY
LISHEEN’S Olympic heroes Gary and Paul O’Donovan were crowned 2016 Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Stars of the Year on Saturday night.
The Skibbereen Rowing Club stars won the prestigious local sports award at a gala banquet in the Celtic Ross Hotel that celebrated the top local sportspeople in West Cork.
Guest of honour, former Ireland and Lions rugby star Paul Wallace announced the Olympic silver medallists as winners in recognition of their heroics in 2016 that saw them win Olympic silver in Rio and European gold in Germany, while Paul won world gold in Rotterdam.
'This is a special one to win. These awards have honoured us since we were youngsters so it's nice to come back every year. Some years we don't even get a monthly award because there is such talent in West Cork so to win the overall award now means a lot,' Paul said.
Gary and Paul become the third and fourth Skibbereen rowers to win the Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Stars of the Year award, following in the footsteps of Eugene Coakley and Timmy Harnedy (2003 and ’05).
Also on the night, the 2016 West Cork Sports Star Hall of Fame entrant was announced, and it was Dominic Casey of Skibbereen Rowing Club who was honoured for his contribution to the local, national and international rowing scene in a career that has spanned 40 years.
Team of the Year Carbery Rangers, Club of the Year Bandon GAA and Youth Sports Star Darragh McElhinney were also honoured.
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