BY KIERAN McCARTHY
THREE West Cork martial artists took home big prizes at the Cork Martial Arts Promotions (CMAP) awards ceremony last Saturday night in the Gresham Metropole Hotel.
2015 West Cork Sports Star of the Year Lily de la Cour (West Cork Kickboxing Club) was named 2015/16 CMAP Senior Female Competitor of the Year – it’s the second year in a row that the Bantry world senior champion has won this accolade.
Niamh Looney (Muskerry Judo Sambo Club) won the 2015/16 CMAP Junior Female Competitor of the Year award, and Dylan O’Callaghan (Bandon Taekwon-Do Academy) is the 2015/16 CMAP Junior Boy Competitor of the Year award winner.
‘Lily received the award last year, and she’s back again,’ said CMAP Director Leonard Coughlan of de la Cour, who won a senior WAKO World Kickboxing Championship title (-50kg category) for the first time last December.
‘I’d say that was unbelievable, but then I know Lily well enough not to underestimate her – she truly is a champion. She said she wanted to come back and win again, and to do so she planned to win the senior All-Ireland championships, and get on to the senior Irish team, and to win a medal at the WAKO championships, and she did it.’
The awards night was a special occasion for Dylan O’Callaghan, who won the Junior Boy Competitor of the Year award. He was a blackbelt at age 15 and won four gold medals in the last year.
His mother Jane commented: ‘He’s doing Taekwon-Do with 11 years, he lives and breathes it, goes to the club three times a week, as well as his own training at home – he’s at it all the time, and has won a lot of competitions. It’s good to get this award. He deserves this achievement after all the work he’s put in.’
The annual CMAP awards honoured 14 Cork champions last weekend and the awards are the brainchild of Leonard Coughlan from Kinsale, who is the founder of CMAP and runs an academy of Tae Kwon Do schools, in Bandon and Mahon.
Among the special guests on the night were Ian Kingston (West Cork Kickboxing Club) who previously won the CMAP Hall of Fame award, and professional boxer Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan.