Katie caps year with top RTÉ gong

As expected, Katie Taylor was last night named the RTÉ Sports Person of the Year for 2012.

The Olympic Gold medallist and World Champion beat off competition from the likes of Major-winning golfer Rory McIlroy and handcycling Paralympic double gold medallist Mark Rohan, having been selected by a panel of RTÉ Sport journalists and editorial staff.

2012 has been an amazing year for the Bray boxer, who won her fourth consecutive world title at the AIBA Women’s World Championships in China, before going on to win Olympic gold in the final of the 60kg competition at the ExCeL Arena in London in August.

Taylor, who will retain her amateur status in the hope of following up her success at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, beat Russian opponent Sofya Ochigava 10-8 in a memorable final and became the first Olympic female lightweight champion.

Her win was not only Ireland’s sole gold medal at the Games but represents Ireland’s first boxing gold medal since Michael Carruth won in Barcelona 20 years ago.

Just recently, Taylor was awarded the AIBA World Female Boxer of the Year title to cap a truly remarkable year.

After another hugely successful year with the Irish boxing team, Billy Walsh was named as the Sports Manager of the Year. The head coach with the IABA’s High Performance Unit headed up this country’s most successful Olympic Boxing team as they came home from London with a total of four medals.

As well as acknowledging this year’s sporting achievements, the RTÉ Sports Awards also paid tribute to one of Ireland’s sporting legends. Former Republic of Ireland soccer manager Jack Charlton was honoured with the RTÉ/Irish Sports Council Hall of Fame Award. During his 10-year reign as manager, the Republic of Ireland qualified for two World Cups, a European Championship and peaked at No 6 in the Fifa World rankings. Charlton was presented with his award by former Irish International Ray Houghton.

* During last night’s broadcast, RTÉ announced when commemorating deceased sporting heroes that Canon Michael O’Brien had passed away. This claim was made erroneously.

SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR NOMINEES WERE: Katie Taylor; Rory McIlroy, world No 1 golfer and US PGA champion; Mark Rohan, handcycling Paralympic double gold medallist; Karl Lacey, Donegal’s All-Ireland-winning centre-back and GAA GPA All Star and Footballer of the Year; Rob Kearney, Heineken Cup winner, ERC European Player of the Year and Guinness Rugby Writers’ Player of the Year; Jason Smyth, double gold medal-winning Paralympian and world record holder in the 100m and 200m; Henry Shefflin, All-Ireland winner and GAA GPA Hurler of the Year; Michael McKillop, double gold medal-winning Paralympian in the 500m and 800m; 19-year-old Joseph O’Brien, Irish champion racing jockey and winner of the Irish Derby, Epsom Derby and 2,000 Guineas; and Fionnuala Britton, European Cross Country champion and the first women to retain the title.

TEAM OF THE YEAR NOMINEES WERE: Leinster, three-time Heineken European Cup winners; Donegal, All-Ireland and Ulster SFC champions; Cork, All-Ireland Ladies’ SFC champions six out of last seven years; The Irish Paralympic team, winners of 16 medals at the Paralympics in London; Sligo Rovers, winners of Airtricity League Premier Division title for the first time in 35 years; Kilkenny, back-to-back All-Ireland SHC champions; Wexford, three-in-a-row All-Ireland camogie champions; The Irish Boxing Team who won a record four medals at the London 2012 Olympics; the Irish Women’s Cross Country Team.

SPORTS MANAGER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES WERE: Kilkenny’s Brian Cody; Wexford camogie manager JJ Doyle; Irish boxing’s Billy Walsh; Drogheda United manager Mick Cooke; Leinster coach Joe Schmidt; Donegal ’s Jim McGuinness; Eamonn Ryan, Cork ladies’ football manager.


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