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Annalise Murphy was crowned the star of Irish sailing at an awards ceremony last night (2nd of March) in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. The 22 year old claimed the coveted prize for Sailing Achievement of the Year, supported by BHP Insurance, at the Irish Sailing Association’s prestigious Awards Ball in the Royal Marine Hotel. Murphy fought off stiff competition from Volvo Ocean Race winner Damian Foxall and her fellow Olympic team-mates Peter O’Leary and David Burrows to win the most sought-after award of the Irish sailing community for the second consecutive year. As she is currently competing at a regatta in Spain, Murphy was unable to accept the award in person but she thanked the association via video link. Speaking about her win Murphy remarked “It's a huge honour to win the Sailing Achievement of the Year. I had a great year last year in 2012. Unfortunately my last day in the Olympics didn't quite got to plan but that's why I'm here training again to try and change that in four years’ time“. Her mother Cathy MacAleavey accepted the award on her behalf from an Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and ISA President Niamh McCutcheon.

The ISA 7th Annual Awards Ball was attended by over 250 supporters from all corners of the Irish boating community while RTE’s Bryan Dobson acted as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. An Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, who was in attendance to present the awards, was joined by Olympic sailors Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern and Scott Flanigan and Paralympic sailors John Twomey and Ian Costello. An Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore commended “The Irish sailing community had a truly remarkable year in 2012 and I am delighted to have the opportunity tonight to congratulate individual sailors who, apart from their competitive achievements, have also been exceptional ambassadors for our country. I also want to pay tribute to all those, whose efforts behind the scenes led to the huge success of events, such as the final of the Volvo Ocean Race and the World Youth Sailing Championships, which entertained so many and showed our Country and its people at their best“.

The association awarded a total of seven awards and praised all 25 nominees for their achievements. Among the award recipients was 10-time Paralympian John Twomey. Twomey sailed at the London 2012 Paralympics marking his 10th consecutive Games, a record for any Irish Olympic or Paralympic athlete. Twomey was presented with the ISA President’s Award in recognition of his substantial contribution to sailing, not only by representing his country for the 10th time but for his efforts in developing sailing for people with disabilities. 

Following in the footsteps of the elite athletes are a generation of incredibly talented youth sailors. As they pave the way for our future Olympic successes, the ISA felt it was important to recognise the talents of young sailors across Ireland. The Youth Sailor of the Year award, supported by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, was bestowed to 16 year old Finn Lynch from Carlow. Lynch has risen through the ranks of the ISA Olympic Pathway Programme and the Laser Radial sailor had a tremendous season of competition in 2012. His truly outstanding moment was when he provided an emotional finale to the 2012 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships when he clinched a silver medal; the best ever result for an Irish sailor since the championship’s inception in 1971

New to this year’s awards is the collaboration between the ISA and Mitsubishi Motors for the ISA Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year Award. This award was taken home by the Royal St George Yacht Club having made its mark last year when it hosted 350  14-19 year old sailors from 63 nations for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships on Dublin Bay last July. The success of the mega-regatta was highly praised by the President of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Goran Petersson.     

Deservedly winning the Volunteer of the Year, supported by A Stitch in Time, award was Eoghan Lavelle who has spent the past 60 years volunteering for Scouting Ireland. Eoghan has been dedicated in promoting sailing and water activities to youth members and young and old leaders of Scouting Ireland for decades. At a recently presentation made to Eoghan on his 80 birthday it was estimated that over 6,000 members since 1966 have benefited from his selfless contribution.

The final two categories included Instructor of the Year, supported by Parasol Sun Care, and Training Centre of the Year, supported by Honda Marine, which were won by Claire Lambert from Dublin and The Oysterhaven Centre in Cork respectively. 

ISA President Niamh McCutcheon remarked “The ISA Awards Ball is the occasion for us to reminisce and celebrate 12 months of successes and also launch the new season in style. Last year was an incredibly successful year for Irish sailing. 11 sailors represented Ireland at both the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, dozens of medals were claimed at events around the world and we played host to such high profile events as the ISAF Youth Worlds, Volvo Ocean Race Finale and Tall Ships. As we reflect on the past 12 months I can’t help but feel immensely proud that I had the privilege to act as President of the ISA through what was undoubtedly one of the most exciting years for our sports”. 

As watersports enthusiasts, ISA members are aware of the tremendous work the RNLI do each and every day. In order to support their tireless work the event also held a collection in aid of the RNLI which raised over €1,000.

And the winners are:

ISA Sailing Achievement of the Year proudly supported by BHP Insurance
Annalise Murphy (2012 Olympic Sailor)

ISA President’s Award
John Twomey (2012 Paralympic Sailor)

ISA Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year proudly supported by Mitsubishi Motors
Royal St George Yacht Club 

ISA Youth Sailor of the Year proudly supported by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company
Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club, Co. Dublin)

ISA Volunteer of the Year proudly supported by A Stitch in Time
Eoghan Lavelle (Scouting Ireland)                            

ISA Instructor of the Year proudly supported by Parasol Sun Care
Claire Lambert (Lough Derg Yacht Club, Co. Tipperary)

ISA Training Centre of the Year proudly supported by Honda Marine
The Oysterhaven Centre (Co. Cork)
Posted in: ISA News
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