The final shortlist for the RTÉ Sport Awards 2019 was revealed on Game On on 2FM last night. It contains 11 young sports stars in the running for the RTÉ Sport Awards 2019 Young Sportsperson of the Year.
The split at youth level is more biased towards girls which is an indication of the improvements in gender balance that have taken place in giving them the opportunity that would have traditionally been the preserve of boys.
Seven of the eleven are female. There is also a strong bias towards individual over team sport though that is more common in recent years with players on team sports generally needing longer to establish themselves.
Last year there were thirteen on the shortlist of whom eight were female. 2017 was the first year the award was presented with two of the three shortlisted being girls, including Mona McSharry.
She and Rhys McLenaghan, last years winner, will be strong contenders as will Rhasidat Adeleke who won double sprint Gold at the Youth Olympic Festival in Azerbaijan.
Darragh Maloney and Joanne Cantwell will present the RTÉ Sport Awards 2019 live on RTÉ One this Saturday 14 December at 9.20 pm.
The Sportsperson of the Year award as well as the Young Sportsperson of the Year, Team of the Year and Manager of the Year awards will be presented and there will be a new inductee to the RTÉ Sport Hall of Fame.
The shortlist of nominees for the RTÉ Sport Awards 2019 Young Sportsperson of the Year is in alphabetical order –
Rhasidat Adeleke won double gold in the 100m and 200m at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku, Azerbaijan. These were the 16-year-olds fifth and sixth championship medals of her short athletics career.
The highly-rated young scrum-half was one of the standout performers in Ireland’s heroic Under 20 Grand Slam win, the nation’s first since 2007. He was also named Munsters Academy Player of the Year before moving up to the provinces senior squad.
The 19-year-old striker made his first start for Premier League team Brighton & Hove Albion against Tottenham in October, scoring two goals in a 3-0 win. He made his international senior debut for the Republic of Ireland a week later as a substitute against Georgia, making his first start against Switzerland four days later.
Bantamweight boxer Niamh Fay was crowned European Youth champion at the European Youth Boxing Championships in Bulgaria. Dubliner Fay won four fights en route to gold in Sofia.
Lara Gillespie won bronze in the Individual Pursuit at the UCI Junior Track World Championships in Germany. The Wicklow teenager set a new Junior National Record during qualification. Earlier in the season, Gillespie took silver medals in the individual pursuit, scratch race, and points race in the Junior European Championships.
Healy won the silver medal at the European Under-20 Championships in Sweden over 1,500m, and seven days later won her first senior title in convincing style at the National Championships. The 18-year-old from Blackrock AC also competed in her first Diamond League meeting in Birmingham, where she clocked a new personal best of 4:40.72 for the mile.
Rhys McClenaghan created history this year as he became the first Irish gymnast to medal at the World Championships, claiming a bronze medal in the pommel horse. He also booked a place at the 2020 Olympic Games by qualifying for the final earlier in the week.
19-year-old McSharry won a bronze medal in the final of the women’s 50 metres breaststroke on the opening day of the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Glasgow, setting a new Irish record on the way.
Adrian Mullen enjoyed a stellar debut season and established himself as one of the most important players in the Kilkenny attack. The ‘Young Hurler of the Year’ also won All-Ireland club honours with Ballyhale Shamrocks in March before being crowned ‘Club Player of the Year’.
The 18-year-old from Dundalk won the heptathlon silver medal at the European Under-20 Athletics Championships in Sweden, securing Ireland’s first-ever international heptathlon medal. Her total of 6,093 points also smashing the existing Irish senior record.
17-year-old Portarlington native Nicole Turner showed incredible resolve as she powered through the final ten metres to move from fifth to third and claim the bronze medal at the World Para Swimming Championships in London.
Read More: Manager and Team Shortlists for 2019 Awards