BY KIERAN McCARTHY
HE may have won a world equestrian title in January but Brian Morrison admits being honoured by his own community with a Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star of the Month award is a very special feeling.
The talented 24-year-old Clonakilty man was selected as the monthly award winner for January following his sensational achievement earlier this year when he became the new Student Rider World Champion after winning gold at the AIEC World Finals held at Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre in Florida.
Morrison received his Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star at a special function held in the Celtic Ross Hotel recently, presented to him by Helen Wycherley, Celtic Ross Hotel, accompanied by Con Downing, editor of The Southern Star, Neil Grant, general manager of the Celtic Ross Hotel, as well as Paudie Palmer, c103.
Speaking to The Southern Star earlier this week from California, the West Cork man spoke of his pride at being chosen as the January winner of the popular local sports star awards scheme.
‘It is an absolute pleasure to be honoured by my community with this award,’ Morrison said.
‘More importantly, I think it’s great for equestrian sports to receive such recognition. Having competed in competitions at an international level, it is humbling to have the support of the local community.’
On his current plans, his diary is crammed at the moment: ‘I’m currently riding in California at one the largest circuits in the United States. From there, I head back to Ireland for a few days and then to Spain for the Sunshine Tour’.
Son to Declan and Niamh, and the youngest brother to Aoife (who lives in Australia) and Ciara (who lives in India), equestrian was a family affair in the Morrison household and it was inevitable that Brian would become involved in it in some form or another.
As it turns out, he excelled at both eventing and showjumping and it didn’t take long for his talents to be recognised. He competed in international events as a young rider in Belgium and the Czech Republic, but he missed out on the European juniors after his horse went lame two weeks before the competition.
Morrison is also a member of the Irish evening U25 high performance squad and late last year enjoyed great success in China when he was based there from October to December.
The Clonakilty man competed for Mr Li Zhenqiang, a showjumper who represented China in the Beijing Olympics and who owns the Camelot Riding Resort and Country Club in Guangdong in the south east of the country. Morrison helped Mr Li’s Camelot team win the National China League.
The January winner of the Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star awards works with Jean Gill and Corinne Hyde of Hyde Equine, based in Caherlag.
The West Cork Sports Star awards are run in conjunction with the Celtic Ross Hotel, The Southern Star and c103.
• To nominate someone you think is worthy of consideration for the Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star monthly award for February, just fill out the nomination form in the Southern Star