An athlete who became a viral video sensation, a basketballer who wins this award for a fourth year in a row and representatives from the worlds of soccer, rugby and hockey will also be honoured at the event, organised in association with the River Lee Hotel and Bank of Ireland.
Phil Healy (HDip in Applied Technology), whose intervarsity championship 4x400m relay run is undoubtedly the most-watched performance by any athlete sporting the skull and crossbones, gets recognised after a year which saw her become an online star.
After the video of her anchor-leg comeback “from the depths of hell” was featured on IrishExaminer.com, the race was viewed millions of times. The Bandon athlete backed up that victory with a series of international wins and personal bests, which saw her compete in the European Indoor and Outdoor Athletics Championships.
Adrian O’Sullivan (Masters in Public Health) wins this award for a fourth time after his best season yet for the UCC Demons. The 23-year-old basketballer won the MVP award at the 2016 intervarsities and is a member of the Ireland senior squad.
O’Sullivan captained his college team this year, as did Tipperary hurler Breen (MSC Food Business I) and Cork footballers Doireann O’Sullivan (Sports Studies & Physical Education IV) and Ian Maguire (Masters in Accounting).
Breen won Munster, All-Ireland and Railway Cup medals last year, with his goal-scoring exploits catching the eye for both college and county. The Ballina midfielder’s goal in the Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-final helped UCC into the last-four and, while his five points from play weren’t enough to seal a final spot, he was awarded a Fitzgibbon Cup All-Star. Doireann O’Sullivan also excelled while coming up just short of O’Connor Cup honours this year. She scored all of UCC’s eight points and won player of the match in their final loss to UL.
It was a rare taste of defeat for O’Sullivan, who scored three game-clinching points as Cork pipped Dublin to the All-Ireland title last September. That was her fifth All-Ireland win in five attempts, while she made it a three-in-a-row of Cork and Munster club titles with Mourneabbey later in the year.
Their fellow award-winner Maguire recovered from a bulging disc in his back to play a full part in Cork’s run to the fourth-round of the Qualifiers last year. The St Finbarr’s midfielder contributed a goal and assist as UCC scored two goals in the space of ten seconds in the Sigerson Cup semi-final, which they ultimately lost by a point.
Orla Cronin (Biological Sciences III) wins an award for her camogie exploits, after a year in which Cork and UCC were beaten finalists. Already a two-time All-Ireland winner with Cork, the Enniskeane forward added an Ashbourne Cup All-Star to her collection this spring.
UCC’s Collingwood Cup success is acknowledged with awards for Waterford striker Daniel Pender (Biological & Chemical Sciences III) and Cobh centre-back Sean McLoughlin (BIS II).
Pender was top goalscorer in that campaign, including game-winning goals in the quarter-final, semi-final and final, where his 94th-minute header clinched the cup. McLoughlin was named the Player of the Tournament for his role and was a member of the Ireland Amateur squad.
That duo teamed up to defeat Avondale United at the weekend, a result which extends UCC’s lead on top of the Munster Senior League Premier Division.
Rugby star Robert O’Donovan (BIS II) is honoured for playing every game for UCC’s All-Ireland League team, who are fifth in Division 1B. He’s also a member of the Munster A and Development squads.
After a year in which UCC ladies’ hockey team won the Munster Senior League, Emma Barber (Sports Studies & Physical Education II) wins an individual award. The Ireland U21 panellist and UCC club PRO is preparing for the Irish Hockey League play-offs.
The realities of their commitment to high-performance mean that three award-winners will miss tonight’s ceremony, with Healy and Doireann O’Sullivan away for warm weather training, while McLoughlin is attending a trial in the UK.
Phil Healy (Athletics); Adrian O’Sullivan (Basketball); Orla Cronin (Camogie); Ian Maguire (Gaelic football); Emma Barber (Hockey); Michael Breen (Hurling); Doireann O’Sullivan (Ladies football); Robert O’Donovan (Rugby); Sean McLoughlin, Daniel Pender (Soccer).