RTÉ has released the final shortlist of candidates for its Sports Person of the Year. The list was revealed yesterday on Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio One.
Darragh Maloney and Joanne Cantwell will present the RTÉ Sport Awards 2018 live on RTÉ One this coming Saturday 15th December at 9.20pm.
Along with the Sportsperson of the Year award the show will also see the Young Sportsperson of the Year, Team of the Year and Manager of the Year honoured as well as a new inductee to the RTÉ Sport Hall of Fame.
The shortlist of nominees for the RTÉ Sport Awards 2018 Sportsperson of the Year are in alphabetical order –
As the Dublin Ladies put together back-to-back All-Irelands for the first time in their history, captain Aherne led from the front, scoring 1-7 in their victory over Cork to lift the Brendan Martin Cup.
The Waterford athlete won a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles at the European Championship in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, becoming the first Irish male sprinter to win an outdoor European medal in the 84-year history of the event.
The Dublin midfielder was an integral part of the record equalling four-in-a-row All-Ireland winning team, the Raheny man excelled in 2018 and topped the year off by being named ‘Footballer of the Year’.
Dubliner Kellie Harrington won a gold medal in the lightweight division at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships following victory over Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee, becoming only the third Irish fighter to win a world amateur gold.
The 23-year-old won Ireland’s first gold medal at the European Para-Swimming Championships after a powerful performance in the 100m breaststroke final at the National Aquatic Centre, adding to her bronze in the women’s 200m individual medley a few days earlier.
The 22-year-old ‘Hurler of the Year’ was the standout player in one of the most memorable hurling championships of all time. The Patrickswell man played in all 18 games as Limerick gained promotion from Division 1B and ended a 45 year wait for Liam McCarthy.
The 19-year-old followed up his gold medal at the Commonwealth Games to become the first ever Irish gymnast to claim a European medal in gymnastics by winning gold on the pommel horse in Glasgow.
The hockey goalkeeper played a starring role with a string of excellent saves, as Ireland created history to reach the Women’s Hockey World Cup Final. McFerran was rewarded for her exploits by being named ‘Goalkeeper of the tournament’.
The 36-year-old rower took home gold for Ireland in the women’s single sculls at the World Rowing Championships in Bulgaria after a dominant display that saw her lead from start to finish.
The 39-year-old finished a stellar season as Cheltenham ‘Leading Jockey’ with four wins at the festival, triumphed at the Aintree Grand National with Tiger Roll and claimed his third Irish Jump Jockeys Championship.
The ‘World Rugby Player of the Year’ starred for Ireland as they won only their third ever Grand Slam, had a first Southern Hemisphere series win in over 39 years with victory over Australia, and ended the year with a first ever win against New Zealand on home soil. Whilst at club level he played a pivotal role in Leinster claiming an unprecedented European Champions Cup and Pro 14 double.
The fastest para-athlete in the world was breaking records again this summer as he claimed two golds at the World Para-Athletics European Championships in Berlin. The Derry sprinter set new championship records in the 100m & 200m to take his major championships gold medal tally to 18 and remain unbeaten at international level since 2005.
The Bray boxer continued her meteoric rise through the lightweight professional ranks by unifying her WBA lightweight title with the IBF belt with a 10th round stoppage of Victoria Bustos.
The absence of an individual hockey player from the long list raised some eyebrows though is a measure of the strength of the team collective among that group. Going head to head with the Irish Rugby team for the team of the year award is bound to be the main talking point on the night.
There will also be a keen sense of anticipation around the selection of Manager of the Year, the shortlist of which was also revealed yesterday.
The Dublin women’s football manager oversaw their first ever back-to-back All-Ireland success, having earlier in the year brought league glory to the county for the first time.
The ‘World Rowing Coach of the Year’ steered Paul and Gary O’Donovan to more success this year with World Championship gold and European silver in the lightweight double sculls.
The Irish Eventing team manager brought back a silver medal from the World Equestrian Games, the first time Ireland won a team medal at the Championships. Ireland’s performance secured qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Leinster head coach led his side to their first European Champions Cup since 2012, and then backed that up with an unprecedented double, winning the Guinness Pro14 two weeks later.
Having been crowned leading trainer at this year’s Cheltenham Festival with a record-equalling eight wins, the County Meath man added to his many successes when he went on to claim an Aintree and Irish Grand National double.
Having already guided the Dublin footballers through an unprecedented period of success, Gavin continued to lead their era of dominance with a record equalling four Sam Maguires in-a-row.
The Dundalk manager regained the League of Ireland title in style, with his team setting a new record of points and goals along the way. They finished the year as double winners with victory in the FAI Cup Final before he was appointed Republic of Ireland Under-21 manager and senior boss-in-waiting.
In only his second year in charge and in a season regarded as one of the most competitive of the modern era, John Kiely guided the Limerick hurlers to their first All-Ireland title in 45 years with a one-point win over Galway.
The Cork camogie manager led his team to back-to-back All-Ireland titles and their fourth in five years, whilst also leading the Cork intermediates to All-Ireland glory on the same day.
2018 saw the Ireland head coach secure only a third ever Grand Slam, a first Southern Hemisphere tour win for 39 years with victory over Australia and a first ever home victory over the mighty All Blacks.
The Ireland women’s hockey coach led his charges all the way to a first ever World Cup final, despite being ranked 15th out of the 16 teams in the competition. In doing so they became one of the sporting stories of the summer.
As with any awards of this nature there will always be a level of subjectivity and always a measure of disappointment for those who did not make it.
To be fair to RTE they have published the full list of criteria and the members of the judging panel who made the final call on the 13.
The criteria in full are
- The list should reflect Irish sporting achievements on the national and/or international stage.
- Any Sportsperson who has won a medal or Championship at an international level should be considered.
- Where multiple sportspeople from the same field or at the same championships both win medals, the one with the higher value medal CAN take precedence over the others.
- A Sportsperson who has been outstanding within a team that has won something or a team that has significantly over-achieved should be considered.
- The impact the achievement has on the nation should also be brought into consideration.
- The Panel were free to consider other potential candidates not on the long list.
And the judging panel who made the final call was as follows:
Sean Blackwell – RTÉ Sport Awards Programme Editor
Kieran Cunningham – Chief Sports Writer, Irish Daily Star
Declan McBennett – RTÉ Sport, Group Head of Sport
Ryan McCann – RTÉ Sport Awards Executive Producer
Shane McGrath – Chief Sports Writer, Irish Daily Mail & Irish Mail on Sunday
Donagh McGrath – RTÉ Sport, Deputy Head Radio Sports & News
Mary O’Connor – CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport
Clíona O’Leary – RTÉ Sport, Deputy Head, TV Sport
Sarah O’Shea – Secretary General at Olympic Council of Ireland & Director at SOS Sports Consulting
Mikey Stafford – Editor, RTÉ Sport Output on Digital Platforms
Denis Walsh – Sports Writer, The Sunday Times
Andy Watters – Sports Reporter, Irish News
The Team of the Year will be chosen by public vote on the night and nominees plus voting details will also be announced this week.
The RTÉ Sport Awards 2018, take place next Saturday 15 December at 9.20pm on RTÉ One