Eoin O’Callaghan, writing for The42.ie is the inaugural winner of the Investec 20×20 Media Award.
O’Callaghan’s winning article was published online on January 27th, 2019, entitled: “Football was her life – it was all she ever wanted to do’
He tells the story of ‘the revolutionary and unheralded Irish icon Anne O’Brien, the Dublin woman who became Ireland’s first ever professional footballer when she moved to France in the 1970s.
“Anne O’Brien was dubbed ‘the greatest footballer you’ve never heard of’,” said Anna Kessell, prominent journalist and Chair of the Investec 20×20 Awards judging panel.
“Eoin’s retelling of her story for 21st century readers seeks to redress that injustice, at the same time beautifully encapsulating why this women’s sports media prize is so vital – providing a platform to women’s sports stories that would otherwise be missed.”
It is a story of playing on the streets of Inchicore before being spotted and going to France, where she became the first player from Britain or Ireland to play at that level.
She became a legend in Italy where she won five national titles playing for four different teams and where she lived for most of her life.
There is in life a recency bias which suggests that every barrier being broken down today is being done so for the first time.
The reality is that we are all standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before and O’Callaghan’s piece is an evocative reminder of one such original role model.
“The Investec 20×20 Media Awards is all about championing women in sport and calling on all media to use their skills, bravery and diligence to support women in sport,” said Michael Cullen, CEO of Investec.
“Eoin O’Callaghan’s article on Anne O’Brien is representative of what the Investec 20×20 Media Awards are all about – changing perceptions of women in sport by celebrating and recognising outstanding contributions to journalism in Ireland, and celebrating the contribution of journalists from across the media spectrum.”
“The first Investec 20×20 Media Award is a fantastic female success story and very thought provoking – celebrating a female sports star that was recognised internationally but not nationally,” added Mary O Connor, CEO, Federation of Irish Sport.
Niall Kelly is pictured above accepting the award on behalf of Eoin O’Callaghan.
Image Credit: Morgan Treacy, Inpho.ie