Eddie and Seán Óg top bookies’ list for the year’s top honour

FINANCIAL guru Eddie Hobbs and All-Ireland hurling hero Seán Óg Ó hAilpín have been installed by the bookies as joint favourites to lift the title of Cork Person of the Year, at the annual awards ceremony which will be held in the Rochestown Park Hotel today.

Munster and Ireland fly-half Ronan O’Gara is tipped in third spot and the other nine monthly award winners are back the field.

However, sources close to the contest, which is now in its 13th year, have predicted a surprise could be on the cards.

Whoever wins will accept the award from guest of honour, President Mary McAleese and no will doubt be lauded for their achievement by master of ceremonies, Ryan Tubridy.

First up on stage, as last January’s winner, will be Ronan O’Gara, who last year picked up several Sports Star of the Year Awards, and was recently Rugby Writers’ of Ireland Player of the Year.

The February winner was Theo Dorgan, a renowned poet, RTÉ broadcaster, translator, educator and documentary scriptwriter. He is a board member of The Irish Academy of the Arts and The Arts Council.

Mary O’Connell, who has fostered a total of 113 children, was the March winner, having been nominated by Professor Tony Ryan.

The oldest monthly winner, at 84, is Jack Ryall. Through his work with The Munster Agricultural Society, National Ploughing Championships, point-to-point racing and his 50-year membership of Midleton Show, he continues to promote all that is culturally good in agriculture.

The May winner was Pat Murray, who is recognised as one of the world’s top theatrical designers. For nearly 50 years, his work has been applauded on the stages of London’s West End and New York’s Broadway.

Jim Corr, the June winner, is being honoured for his leadership of the Cork International Choral Festival and, despite all the funding problems, keeping it going for the past 23 years.

John Miller, who works in the Cork Vision Centre, is recognised for his unique contribution to cultural and urban tourism. His work involved introducing the new EU accession states to Cork in an innovative way.

Professor John A Murphy, UCC’s Emeritus Professor of Irish History, is being honoured for his contribution to scholarship and public life.

It was hardly any wonder that Sean Óg Ó hAilpín won the September award, especially as he captained his beloved Cork team that month to All-Ireland glory.

Eddie Hobbs, whose Rip-Off Ireland programme on RTÉ achieved huge viewing figures, was voted person of the month in October. His Show Me The Money programme was also acclaimed.

Kenny Hyland spent a lot of his time at national and secondary school collecting food for the homeless, which he delivered daily to Cork’s Simon Community.

Last, but not least, is Sr Patricia Donovan. Her work, particularly with the elderly, mostly happens at the resource centre which she set up at Patrick’s Hill.

The judges are Bishop John Buckley, Cork County manager Maurice Moloney, and Cork City manager Joe Gavin.

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