IT’S almost time for out the old and in with the new, as the 2016 sporting year draws to a close – but what a wonderful year of sport it has been here in West Cork.
On the local, national and international stages, born and bred West Corkonians have put their hometowns on the world map with terrific performances that will be regaled to future generations.
Simply put, it’s been West Cork’s greatest ever sporting year, from the O’Donovan brothers winning silver at the Olympics to Conor Hourihane captaining Barnsley to two Wembley wins and earning a Republic of Ireland call-up to Darren Sweetnam’s Munster emergence to the Harte brothers’ hockey heroics, etc., and that’s before we get to the GAA success from the past 12 months.
In these sports pages this week you’ll find a seven-page special on Carbery GAA’s seven county champions from the past season – the achievements of the Bantry and Kinsale ladies is captured in next week’s special sports review edition – and that got those involved in the Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star Awards thinking.
The gala awards night will be held on Saturday, January 21st, 2017, starting at 7pm, and tickets (€35 per person) are available to the public by contacting Emma in the Celtic Ross on 023-8848722. On the night the overall 2016 West Cork Sports Star will be unveiled while the Hall of Fame winner, Club of the Year and Youth Sports Star will all be honoured – more on these in the new year.
What’s more, after such an amazing year of sporting success, West Cork’s number one sports awards have decided to introduce a new award – the Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Team of the Year. This will honour, in the judging panel’s eyes, the outstanding local sports team of the year from 2016. These awards continue to grow and that’s in tandem with the incredible level of local sporting talent that fills these sports pages on a weekly basis.
So, come early January, the countdown to the Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star Awards will begin, and this new award will add to the occasion by recognising a superb local sporting team.
The last monthly award was presented on Tuesday evening in the Celtic Ross when Cork City FC boss John Caulfield, the Ballineen resident who has lived in West Cork 31 years and considers himself a proud West Cork man, accepted an award for guiding Cork City to the 2016 FAI Cup, the first time the club won this competition since 2007.
What made this award presentation even more special was the presence of two local Cork City fans, Denis O’Mahony and Pat Lacey, big fans of Caulfield, and their presence highlighted the power of these awards – West Cork locals celebrating the success of one of their own.
Here’s to 2017 and more of the same, please.
With next week’s edition a special sports review packed with fresh interviews with this year’s sporting heroes, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very happy Christmas and new year.
We’ll see you all back here in January. Take care.