The Canoeing Ireland Awards Gala on Saturday night, which marked achievements in the sport in 2019, had plenty to celebrate. Liam Jegou, who will represent Ireland in canoe slalom at the Tokyo Olympics and Robert Hendrick, who qualified the boat, were both honoured.
Paralympian Patrick O’Leary, who also qualfied for Tokyo, was presented with his award by Miriam Malone, the chief executive of Paralympics Ireland. Malone and Karen Coventry of Special Olympics Ireland were keynote speakers at the event in the Spa Hotel.
The roll of honour on the night was long: Jenny Egan was chosen as best senior female paddler of the year in both canoe marathon and canoe sprint; Peter Egan was the chosen senior male in marathon canoeing. The senior Freestyle winners were Aoife Hanrahan and David McClure; Aisling Griffin and Michael Barry took the honours in the Paddle Surf category; Ciara Gurhy and Oisin McKay took the Canoe Polo honours. In the Wild Water category Odhran McNally (kayak) and Darragh Clarke (canoe) were honoured.
Oisin Feery, who starred for Ireland at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, won the Special Achievement award; the Event of the Year was Meelick Riverfest; the Team of the Year, the Ireland under-21 women’s Canoe Polo team. The Community Impact prize went to McMahon Cup.
The Volunteer of the Year award went to a man behind many of the medals won by Ireland in Canoe Marathon and Canoe Sprint, the indefatigable Tom Egan.