Pictured receiving the Westmeath Examiner/Mullingar Park Hotel’s Sports Star of the Year award from Westmeath Examiner editor Eilish Ryan, was Kilucan, Raharney and Westmeath star Paul Greville.
For the fourth consecutive year, the main ballroom of the Mullingar Park Hotel was packed to the rafters, for one of the most prestigious off-the-field events in the Westmeath sporting calendar.
And as the curtain fell on the 2010 Mullingar Park Hotel/Westmeath Examiner Sports Stars of the Year Gala Awards Night on Friday last, yet another sportsman took his place among the pantheon of local sporting greats, who have left this annual event with the top gong.
Raharney and Westmeath football and hurling star Paul Greville was a popular winner of this year’s Sports Star of the Year Award, joining Martin Fagan, Brendan Murtagh and John Joe Nevin on the roll of honour.
“I’m privileged to be among such names,” Paul said, after his second trip to the stage, announcing that it was his ambition to win a Leinster football title with Westmeath in 2011.
It was a big night for GAA stars. As well as winning the chief prize of the night, Paul landed the Sports Star of the Month Award for June. His brother, Johnny - who led Raharney to senior hurling glory in Westmeath, and remarkable progress in the Leinster senior club championship - scooped the October award.
St. Loman’s, Mullingar footballer John Heslin, now part of a rejuvenated, young Westmeath senior football team, picked up the Young Sports Star of the Year Award, as well as the gong for March.
Westmeath football legend Mick Carley was deservedly inducted into the Hall of Fame, while Pat O’Brien and his troops from Westmeath’s All-Ireland winning Minor ‘B’ hurling team (September) picked up the Readers’ Choice award, as voted by readers of the WestmeathExaminer.ie. Aonghus Clarke, a member of that team, won the January award.
But it wasn’t just a night for the footballers and hurlers of this world. Tribute was paid to excellence in a wealth of other sports, such as pitch and putt, handball, golf, athletics, tennis and rugby.
There were also monthly awards for Kilbeggan Pitch and Putt Club (February), talented handballer Aoife McCarthy (April), Mullingar golfer and Tullamore Junior Scratch Cup winner David Tynan (May), Ireland and UCD athlete, Mullingar’s Stephen Colvert (August), Towns Cup champions Mullingar Tennis Club (November) and huge Mullingar rugby prospect, Conor Gilsenan, who recently captained the Irish Under 20 talent squad against England (December).
The July award which went to Mullingar ironmen, Gerry Duffy and Ken Whitelaw, was special in that the effort for which they were commended – last year’s unprecedented 32 Marathons event – was pursued solely for the benefit of Irish charities.
In the most fitting of introductions, the recipients were led into the ballroom by a piper, the sound matched only by the fury of rapturous applause.
Compère for the night, 2fm sports presenter Robbie Irwin, carried out his duties in his own eloquent and witty style. He had difficult shoes to fill - deputising for the host of previous years, RTÉ’s Colm Murray, who was unavoidably absent due to his ongoing battle with illness. Robbie paid tribute to Colm first with some kind words, then by asking for a toast for the event’s original compere and ultimately, by turning out a top-drawer performance as MC.
The event was officially opened by Frank Mulrennan (Director of Operations, Celtic Media Group), who praised the contribution made by the staff and management of both the Westmeath Examiner and the Mullingar Park Hotel to the 2011 awards. He also thanked Gráinne Harte-Kennedy of Harte Communications, and Bernard Flynn of Mullingar Crystal, the company behind the terrific array of trophies presented to the winners.
Speaking before the presentation ceremony, Josephine Hughes, proprietor of the Mullingar Park Hotel, congratulated the award winners.
“It’s a pleasure to lend the name of the Mullingar Park Hotel to this celebration of sporting excellence in 2010,” Ms. Hughes said, paying “special tribute” to Gerry Duffy and Ken Whitelaw, on receiving their award for their “mammoth task for charity”.
“Thank you for all the pleasure you give us throughout these difficult economic times. You are all winners, all of you,” she told the recipients.
Westmeath Examiner editor Eilís Ryan described the awards night as “one of the most important elements of the Westmeath Examiner’s annual activities”.
She praised Deputy Editor/Sports Editor, John FitzSimons, journalist Gerry Buckley and the judging committee for their “fantastic choices” for 2010.
“The Westmeath Examiner’s commitment to sport in Westmeath has always been very strong, and will continue to be strong into the future,” Ms. Ryan concluded.
|Message:||MySQL Query fail: SELECT * FROM vue_pdf_advert_site INNER JOIN vue_pdf_advert ON vue_pdf_advert.pdf_advert_id = vue_pdf_advert_site.pdf_advert_id WHERE site_id = 78 AND pdf_advert_valid = 1 AND pdf_advert_deleted = 0 AND pdf_advert_category_id = 1 AND pdf_advert_start <= '2013-05-22 13:09:03' AND pdf_advert_end >= '2013-05-22 13:09:03' AND () ORDER BY RAND() LIMIT 6|
|MySQL Error:||You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near ') ORDER BY RAND() LIMIT 6' at line 5|
|Date:||Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 1:09:04 PM|