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Katie Taylor crowned Ireland's 'Sportswoman of the Year' 2012
by Michael O'Neill
December 24, 2012

(DEC  24) Katie Taylor has been crowned The Irish Times/Irish Sports Council ‘Sportswoman of the Year 2012’ for her exceptional sporting achievements throughout the year. Taylor was presented with her award by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny at an awards ceremony in Dublin. Following an outstanding year for Irish women in sport, Taylor was among 12 sports stars nominated for the 2012 title. One of Ireland’s most renowned and respected Irish Olympic athletes, Maeve Kyle was also awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her valued contribution to the world of Athletics.

The Bray–born lightweight boxer won the Sportswoman of the Month award in May after securing her fourth consecutive World title, beating Russian Southpaw Sofya Ochigava 11-7 in a tense technical final in Qinhuangdao, northern China. Taylor then represented Ireland in the London 2012 Olympic Games, famously bringing home the gold after an incredible performance.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, said: “Irish sportswomen have excelled both nationally and internationally. Today we recognise their enormous achievements in a range of sports - from boxing and swimming to sailing and rugby. Their success is a result of unstinting commitment, dedication, training and hard work. It is exactly these qualities which are essential to achieving success at the highest levels. Their achievements will help to motivate thousands of girls and young women to both participate and excel in sport. To the women honoured here today I say: congratulations on your success and thank you for the inspiration you provide to all of us. I also want to thank The Irish Times and the Irish Sports Council for their continued support for these awards.”

Speaking after her win, Taylor said: “I’m honoured and delighted to be named the Irish Times/Irish Sports Council Sportswoman of the Year. This has been an amazing year for me and for Irish women in sport and I would like to congratulate all the finalists in their respective fields who have excelled at major sporting events such as the 2012 London Olympics, the All Ireland Finals and The Grand National. The other finalists such as Bethany Firth, Katie Walsh, Annalise Murphy, Fionnuala Britton, Stephanie Meadow and Rena Buckley have all played a part in gaining much needed recognition for females in sports. It is wonderful to have an award like this as it recognizes Irish Sports women and the amazing achievements that have brought us all here today.”

Kevin O’Sullivan, Editor, The Irish Times said: “Throughout 2012, so many of our female sports stars have shown us their exceptional talent, strength and perseverance. The extraordinary women featured through the The Irish Times/Irish Sports Council Sportswomen awards serve as role models for every aspiring athlete. That truly deserves celebration. As a country, they have made us feel proud, of them and of ourselves as a country; so on behalf of us I would like to thank them and wish them all the best in their future sporting endeavours.”

Commenting on behalf of the Awards sponsor, Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of The Irish Sports Council said: “When Irish sports do well in the international arena it benefits all of us, bringing positive recognition for the country, an improved reputation and a boost to morale. It is with women like Bethany Firth, Annalise Murphy and Katie Taylor, with her stunning gold success at the London Olympics 2012, as well as their coaching teams that bring these benefits to Ireland. The Irish Sports Council is proud to be part of awards that recognize these achievements across a wide number of sports including Equestrian, Rugby, Hockey, Golfing, Camogie, Football and Athletics. Congratulations to Katie Taylor and all the finalists for giving us a great year for Irish Women in Sport.”

Irish Olympic athlete and hockey player Maeve Kyle was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1956, Maeve competed in the 100m and 200m in the Melbourne Olympics and subsequently in the Rome Olympics (1960) and Tokyo Olympics (1964) where she reached the semi-finals of both the 400m and 800m. Maeve also took bronze in the 400m at the 1966 European Indoor Athletics Championships in Dortmund. She has had a very successful career in Hockey, gaining 58 Irish caps as well as representing three of the four Irish provinces (Leinster, Munster and Ulster) at different stages of her career. She was named in the World All Star team in 1953 and 1959.

Established in 2004, the aim of the Sportswoman of the Year awards is to recognize the abilities and achievements of women in Irish sports. The awards run over a 12 month period, with the judges selecting a winner each month for her ability to excel at sport. From the 12 monthly winners, the overall Sportswoman of the Year is selected and announced in December.

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