Gymnastics Ireland’s annual gala awards night took place on Saturday night in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dublin.
200 guests took to the red carpet for the JLT Gymnastics Ireland National Awards for a night that saw 29 recipients being honoured at this celebration of another hugely successful year for the sport of gymnastics in Ireland.
The award winners came from clubs through to international stars and professionals of the sports industry. These awards are an acknowledgement by Gymnastics Ireland of the success achieved and hard work put in by those making a special contribution throughout the year in the development of the sport in Ireland.
The categories were wide ranging and rewarded representatives from both the competitive and participation bases within Gymnastics Ireland. A few highlight winners of the night were Irish international star senior gymnast Rhys McClenaghan who was awarded ‘Gymnast of the Year’ for a second consecutive time after his 2018 Gold medals for Pommel-horse at the European Championships in Glasgow and at the World Cup in Mersin.
World Youth Olympic Games finalist Emma Slevin was awarded the ‘Rising Star’ of the year and senior gymnasts Andrew Smith and Adam Steele were awarded a special recognition award for their many achievements on the international scene.
Media professionals from the Sports Industry including RTE Deputy Head TV Sport, Cliona O’Leary; RTE Sports Broadcaster, Evanne Ní Chuilinn; Free-lance print and online sports journalist, Cliona Foley and Sunday Independent Sports Editor, John Greene, were also recognised for their support and continued coverage of gymnastics in 2018 with a Special Recognition Award.
MC on the night, Joanne Murphy from Tri Talking Sport, kept the guests entertained throughout, including Mary O’Connor CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport; Shane O’Connor, Athletes Commission Chair and Board member of the Olympic Federation of Ireland; Karen Coventry, Director of Sport, Special Olympics; Sinead Galvin from Galvin Sports Management and Roddy Guiney, chairman of public relations agency, Wilson Hartnell, and Chairman of the Federation of Irish Sport.
A special tribute was made in memory of gymnast Aoibhe O’Connor from Cork Acro gymnastics club who sadly passed away earlier this year. Aoibhe was one of the first gymnasts involved in the Gymnastics Ireland GymABLE programme when it was launched last year. Aoibhe’s involvement and contribution to the programme has left a positive impact on the gymnastics community and in her club, which will forever remain.
Here is the full list of award winners:
- Coach of the Year – Club: Flavius Koczi – Janz GC
- Unsung Hero: Vincent Diffley – Janz GC and Aisling Kenna – Old Bawn GC
- Non-Competitive Club of the Year: DP Gymnastics Club
- Display Club of the Year: Douglas GC
- Inclusive Club of the Year: Tie – Wexford GC and Coolmine GC
- Club Innovation Award: Arklow GC
- Competitive Club of the Year: Leader GC
- Gymnast of the Year: Rhys McClenaghan
- Rising Star: Emma Slevin
- Coach of the Year – International: Tie between Luke Carson – Rhys McClenaghan’s personal coach andSally Batley and Giacomo Camiciotti – Emma Slevin’s personal coaches
- Young Coach of the Year – National: Matthew O’Connor
- Club Governance Award: Excel GC
- Club Social & Digital Content Award: Phoenix GC
- Safe Club of the Year: Gorey GC
- Special Recognition Award: Mairead Kavanagh – Ireland’s first official elected to an international governing body as elected to the UEG Women’s Technical Committee
- Special Recognition Award: Lisa Boyle – for judge support for the Gymnastics Ireland events and performance programmes in 2018 for the Acrobatics discipline
- Special Recognition Award: Adam Steele – Finalist at 2018 FIG World Cup in Mersin
- Special Recognition Award: Andrew Smith – Finalist at 2018 FIG World Cup in Mersin
- Special Recognition Award: Aoibhe O’Connor – In memory of gymnast Aoibhe O’Connor who was an inspiration for everyone and whose involvement and contribution to the GymABLE programme has left a positive impact on the gymnastics community and in her club, which will forever remain.
- Special Recognition Award: Will Banthorpe – Adams Steele’s personal coach
- Special Recognition Award: Sergey Sizhanov – Andrew Smith’s personal coach
- Special Recognition Award: RTE’s Cliona O’Leary(Deputy Head TV Sport) and Evanne Ní Chuilinn (Sports Broadcaster)
- Special Recognition Award: Cliona Foley (free-lance print and online journalist)
- Special Recognition Award: John Greene (Sunday Independent Sports Editor)