World Para-Swimming Allianz European Championships recognised as Sporting Event of the Year – Irish Sports Industry Awards

 Orreco awarded ‘best sports business’ and Uppercut awarded ‘best new sports business’
 Garrett Fitzgerald, Munster Rugby Honoured with Outstanding Contribution Award
 Other winners include the 20×20 campaign and SoftCo’s sponsorship of Hockey Ireland

Last night (Monday, 15 April) saw the fourth annual Irish Sports Industry Awards take place in the Crown Plaza, Blanchardstown.

The sports industry in Ireland supports 40,000 jobs, stimulates €1.9 billion in household spending and generates €1 billion in tourism receipts each year. The award ceremony, hosted by the Federation of Irish Sport, seeks to recognise and reward excellence in the sporting industry, while simultaneously highlighting the contribution sport makes to the Irish economy, both directly and indirectly.

The World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships was recognised as ‘Sporting Event of the Year’. The week-long event held in the National Aquatic Centre brought over 500 athletes from 40 countries to Dublin. This was the fifth ever hosting of the competition and its first time being hosted in Ireland. It saw a total of 548 medals awarded and 22 new World Records set, with Irish athletes taking home a gold silver and bronze medal.
Thriving business innovation
Irish sports tech company Orreco received the ‘Sports Business of the Year’ award and Gary Keegan’s high-performance consultancy, Uppercut received the ‘New Sports Business of the Year’ award. SoftCo’s sponsorship of the Irish Women’s Hockey Team, who reached the World Cup Final last August, was recognised as ‘Best Sponsorship’. 20×20, an all-inclusive movement to shift Ireland’s cultural perception of women’s sport, won the Sporting Innovation of the Year.

Munster Rugby Chief Executive Garrett Fitzgerald received the ‘Outstanding Contribution’ award in recognition of his leadership role in transforming Munster Rugby from newly-professionalised representative side to one of the most successful professional rugby franchises in Europe.

The Irish Times’ Mary Hannigan received the ‘Jimmy Magee Sports Journalist of the Year’ award and was recognised as ‘Sports Outlet of the Year’.

Award winners in full
A total of 14 award categories were recognised on the night. The full list of winners is as follows:

 Outstanding Contribution: Garrett Fitzgerald, CEO Munster Rugby
 Sports sponsorship of the year: SoftCo and Hockey Ireland
 Sporting Event of the Year: World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships
 Sporting innovation of the year: 20×20
 Sports business of the year: Orreco
 New Sports Business of the year: Uppercut
 Sports Media Outlet of the year:
 Jimmy Magee Sports Journalist of the year: Mary Hannigan, The Irish Times
 National Governing Body of the year: Cricket Ireland
 Local Sports Partnership Initiative of the year: Cork Local Sports Partnership for Staying Fit for the Future
 20×20 Award: Waterford Local Sports Partnership and FAI Soccer for Girls
 Inclusivity Award: GymAble by Gymnastics Ireland
 Programme to increase participation: Cork Local Sports Partnership Sports Schools Programme
 Social media: AIG

There was also a special recognition award presented to Sara McFadden in honour of her achievements as Ireland’s first visually impaired rally car navigator.

The Federation of Irish Sport is the representative body for 102 sporting organisations. It works on behalf of its members to create a greater awareness of the importance of sport across a wide number of areas including business, tourism, health, community, diversity and the economy.

Speaking at the awards, Mary O’Connor, CEO, Federation of Irish Sport, said: “It is a privilege to recognise and celebrate the incredible contributions made by individuals, businesses and Irish sporting associations to the continued vitality of the Irish sports industry and its impact on the wider Irish economy.

“The sports industry in Ireland supports 40,000 jobs, stimulates €1.9 billion in household spending and generates €1 billion in tourism receipts each year, not to mention the vast health, social and community benefits it delivers in Irish society on a weekly basis.

“Recognition nights like tonight are incredibly important in highlighting the significance of sport to Irish society and the economy.”