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Annalise Murphy made Irish sailing history last night when she won the most coveted and prestigious Irish sailing award – ISA Sailor of the Year – for the third consecutive year. The award, supported by MGM Boats, was presented at the ISA Awards Ball in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin before an audience of 270 members and supporters of Irish sailing from all corners of the country.

The 23 year old Rathfanham woman fought off stiff competition from two Corkonians to claim the sought-after award. Philip Bendon; Youth European Match Racing Champion and David Kenefick; Rookie Offshore Racing Champion both had incredibly successful seasons in 2013 but they couldn’t reign supreme against the might of the female star of Irish sailing. 

Murphy’s career to date has spanned numerous international titles and in 2013 she added four more medals to her trophy cabinet. Annalise kicked off the summer season with two Gold medals in as many weeks, first at the Italian Olympic Week and then in Holland at the Delta Lloyd Regatta. A month later she took Bronze at Sail for Gold in Weymouth, the home of her bitter Olympic disappointment only 12 months prior. Up next was the Laser Radial European Championship in September where the pressure was really on for Annalise to perform in her home waters of Dun Laoghaire. With all eyes on her, Annalise certainly didn't disappoint scooping the European title after six days of racing with a staggering 22 point lead.  

Annalise is currently training in Spain and was unable to accept the award in person but she thanked her supporters via video link. Speaking about her win Murphy remarked “I’m honoured to be awarded ISA Sailor of the Year. I had a really great year in 2013 which was capped off by winning the Laser Europeans which was pretty special. It was definitely a good way to start the 2016 cycle. I’d like to thank Providence Resources, our team sponsor, for believing in us and the Irish Sports Council who have supported me since I was a teenager. I’d also like to thank the ISA and my coach Rory Fitzpatrick in particular as well as my family. Without their support I wouldn’t be able to do this“. 

The Association awarded a total of six awards and praised all 21 winners and nominees for their achievements. Businessman, entrepreneur and Irish Dragon; Bobby Kerr acted as Master of Ceremonies for the evening which was attend by Chairman of the Irish Sports Council Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of the Royal Yachting Association Northern Ireland John Taggart as well as Providence Team IRL Olympic sailors Matt McGovern and James Espey and Paralympic sailors John Twomey, Ian Costello and Austin O’Carroll.

Following in the footsteps of the senior elite athletes are a generation of incredibly talented youth sailors. As they pave the way for our future Olympic successes, it was important to recognise the talents of 102 young sailors in the ISA Olympic Pathway Programme. The Youth Sailor of the Year award, supported by Quantum Sails Ireland, was bestowed to two young sailors; 17 year old Finn Lynch from Carlow and 15 year old Liam Glynn from Bangor, Co. Down. 

Both boys had put in tremendous performances last year making choosing between the two an impossible task for the judges. Liam became the first Irish sailor ever to win the Topper World Championship and Finn added another world medal to his trophy cabinet when he won the U21 Radial World Championship here in Dun Laoghaire. So for the first time in the history of this award there were two joint winners. 

It was Kinsale Yacht Club that scooped the ISA Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year award. Not only did the club host the incredibly successful major international regatta; the Disabled Sailing World Championships in August but its members rallied round to care for the survivors of the Tall Ship Astrid when she sunk off the Cork coast in July. 

There is no doubt that any sport could not exist without the hard work and dedication of a vast number of volunteers. Each year the ISA is proud to acknowledge these unsung heroes through the ISA Volunteer of the Year award, supported by Dublin Port. Deservedly winning the award last night was Geoff O’Donoghue who has spent the past five decades volunteering in the sport both nationally and for his home club Lough Derg Yacht Club in Co. Tipperary.  

The final two categories included Instructor of the Year, supported by Parasol Sun Care, and Training Centre of the Year, supported by MGM Boats, which were won by Graeme Grant from Howth Yacht Club and the Royal Cork Yacht Club respectively. 

As watersports enthusiasts, ISA members are acutely 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 almost €1,500.

And the winners are:

ISA Sailor of the Year proudly supported by MGM Boats
Annalise Murphy

ISA Youth Sailor of the Year proudly supported by Quantum Sails Ireland
Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club, Co. Dublin)
Liam Glynn (Ballyholme Yacht Club, Co. Down)

ISA Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year proudly supported by Mitsubishi Motors
Kinsale Yacht Club 

ISA Volunteer of the Year proudly supported by Dublin Port
Geoff O’Donoghue (Lough Derg Yacht Club, Co. Tipperary)                            

ISA Instructor of the Year proudly supported by Parasol Sun Care
Gareme Grant (Howth Yacht Club)

ISA Training Centre of the Year proudly supported by MGM Boats
Royal Cork Yacht Club

Posted in: ISA News
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