Sport for Business, in partnership with Liberty Insurance, has begun the publication of our annual list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Irish Sport.
This is not about Women’s sport, it is about the influence that women are wielding across all sport. We will identify leaders on and off the field of play. They will include those who are role models in terms of their abilities on and off the field of play. They will come from teams and individual sports, from sponsorship partners, from the media, from the administrative corridors of power and from places where influence may be subtle but no less powerful.
It is one of the great themes of sport that it is in the bouncing back from adversity that you find the greatest lessons.
Annalise Murphy brought sailing to the attention of a massive new audience when she came within a breath of taking a medal at the London Olympic Games in 2012.
She coped with the heartbreak of a near miss fourth place, got back in the boat and set her sights on Rio.
She built a team around her, drew support as well as challenges that made her stronger from within the performance set up at Irish Sailing and delivered on the water last August, bringing home precious metal in the shape of a silver medal from the games.
Her return to a rapturous welcome from old and new fans has lit up the sport and already given rise to raised ambitions for its future development.
Performance funding from Sport Ireland has increased. We will be hearing in the coming weeks and months of other developments in raising the game to provide more opportunities for young sailors to follow in the wake of Murphy towards the highest levels of elite sporting competition.
The easiest narrative around sport is to focus on a winner, to have role models that inspire the next generation. At a time in Ireland where Olympic Sport needed a hero to emerge, Annalise Murphy stepped up.
For 2017 we are extending the recognition given to women who are taking a lead role in sport by also identifying 50 of the next generation that are coming through, at pace, to make their mark within sport.
We want your help in making sure that this list is representative and you can make your nominations for who you think should be included right here.