Inspirational Performance award given to a deserving winner

The most dramatic finish to a race we’ve ever seen has been named the Inspirational Performance of the year at the Irish Life Health National Athletics Awards, writes Stephen Barry.

Phil Healy’s anchor leg of the Women’s 4x400 metres relay at the Irish Intervarsity Track and Field Championships went viral around the world after being reported on BreakingNews.ie and gained further recognition from Athletics Ireland this evening.

“Our talented and dedicated athletes gave us great performances and an athletics year to remember,” said AI President Georgina Drumm.

“The list is long including Ciara Mageean, Thomas Barr, Robert Heffernan, Fionnuala Mc Cormack, Mark English and of course Phil Healy’s inspirational performance at the University Championships.”

Athlete of the Year Thomas Barr at the Irish Life Health National Athletics Awards 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry, Dublin. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Barr won the Athlete of the Year award for a second year in a row after his Personal-Best-smashing 47.97-second run in the 400m Hurdles Olympic final. That run earned him an agonising fourth place finish in Rio.

Rob Heffernan and Olive Loughnane both received belated medal upgrades this year after historical doping offences in their races, with Heffernan awarded Endurance Athlete of the Year for his 6th-place Olympic placing.

His fellow Corkonian Marcus O’Sullivan, a three-time World Indoor champion in the 1,500m, was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The full list of award winners is as follows:

  • Athlete of the Year: Thomas Barr (Ferrybank)
  • Hall of Fame: Marcus O’Sullivan
  • Lifetime service to Athletics: Liam Hennessy
  • Official of the year: Michael O’Hart
  • U20 Athlete: Adam King (Iveragh)
  • U23 Athlete: Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (DSD)
  • Endurance: Robert Heffernan (Togher)
  • Track & Field: Thomas Barr (Ferrybank)
  • Inspirational Performance: Phil Healy (Bandon)
  • Performance Club: Clonliffe Harriers
  • Development Club: Cushinstown AC
  • Team of the Year: Women’s Senior Team European Cross Country Championships
  • Service to Coaching: Donie Walsh (Leevale)
  • European Athletics award for coaching: Hayley and Drew Harrison
  • Mountain Runner: M35 Team Mountain Running World Champions
  • Master Athlete: Brian Lynch
  • Ultra Athlete: Eoin Keith (Sportsworld)
  • University Athlete: Michelle Finn (Leevale/UL)
  • Tailteann Schools Award: Michaela Walsh (SMP Swinford)

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