The boxing fraternity are heavily represented on the RTE Sports Awards shortlist.
There may have been controversy regarding Tyson Fury’s inclusion in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award equivalent, but no one can debate Irish boxing’s RTE Sports Award nominees.
Both Andy Lee and Micheal Conlan’s achievements have been recognised by the National Broadcaster often criticised for showing a lack of support to Ireland’s most successful sport and have been nominated for for Sports Person of the Year.
WBO middleweight World champion Lee and European Games and World Championship gold medal winner Conlan will battle it out with former Crumlin BC amateur and current UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor and 11 others for the award.
The list confirmed by RTE is as follows
Leighton Aspell, the first jockey to win back-to-back Aintree Grand Nationals for forty-one years; Rena Buckley; earned Camogie and Football All Stars in a year that saw her win her 15th and 16th All Ireland titles; Michael Conlan, European and World Bantamweight Champion – Ireland’s first ever World Championship gold medallist; Andy Lee, defeated Matt Koborov to become the WBO middleweight champion of the world; Shane Lowry, the Clara native won his first US Tour event, picking up the prestigious World Golf Championship -Bridgestone Invitational in August; Jack McCaffery, Dublin’s flying wing-back was named Footballer of the Year; Conor McGregor, the Notorious became interim UFC Featherweight World Champion in July; Rory McIlroy, finished a disrupted year as Europe’s top golfer by winning the Race to Dubai; Michael McKillop, won Double IPC World Championship Gold, bringing his all-time major championship gold-medal haul to twelve; Paul O’Connell, Ireland’s second row giant led Ireland to their second Six Nations triumph in two years and was named Player of the Tournament in the process; TJ Reid, a key member of Kilkenny’s All Ireland winning hurling team and the 2015 Hurler of the Year; Sophie Spence; one of the three rugby players up for the title of World Women’s Rugby Player of the Year; Richie Towell – scored the goals that clinched both the Airtricity League title and FAI Irish Daily Mail Cup in a season that saw him score 25 goals from midfield; Jonathon Walters, the man Martin O’Neill singled out as the epitome of the Republic of Ireland’s team spirit, he scored the goals that cemented the Republic’s place at the 2016 European Championships.
It might be deemed an individual sport, but boxing is also represented in the RTE Sports Team of the Year shortlist.
Team Ireland, who picked up a phenomenal 10 medals in 2015 at the European Games, the European Championships and the World Championships are up for an award which is open to a public vote. The public will be able to vote for their favourite Irish team of 2015 by phone and text on the night. Voting lines will be open on the night with details announced at the beginning of the programme and on www.rte.ie.
The full RTÉ Sport Team of the Year shortlist is as follows: Dublin Football, a clean sweep of honours in 2015; Kilkenny Hurling, claimed back-to-back All Ireland Hurling titles; Cork Camogie, won back-to-back All Ireland Camogie titles; Cork Ladies Football Team, won their 10th Ladies Football Championship in 11 years; Dundalk, won back-to-back SSE Airtricity League titles and sealed the double by winning the FAI Irish Daily Mail Cup; Ireland Women’s Cricket Team who won the Women’s World T20 Qualifier beating Bangladesh in the final in Bangkok; Ireland Men’s Rugby Team, 6 Nations Champions; Ireland Women’s Rugby Team, 6 Nations Champions; Ireland Men’s Hockey Team, beat England to win Euro bronze, became the first Irish team to qualify for an Olympic team event since 1948; Ireland Boxing Team, picked up a phenomenal 10 medals in 2015 at the European Games, the European Championships and the World Championships; Northern Ireland Soccer Team, qualified for their first ever European Championship Finals; Republic of Ireland Soccer Team, qualified for Euro 2016 after a play-off win over Bosnia and Herzegovina; Special Olympics Team Ireland, 88 athletes brought home 82 medals, amassing 26 gold, 28 silver and 28 bronze medals.
New USA Women’s team head coach Billy Walsh could also scoop an award for Irish boxing. The Wexford man is up against 11 other top class managers for the Manage of the Year Award.
Walsh, who oversaw the Irish teams sensational success will compete with the following for the accollade, Brian Cody, managed the Kilkenny Hurlers to an 11th All Ireland Senior title under his charge; Craig Fulton, coached the Ireland National Men’s Hockey side to their first Olympics qualification in 108 years; Jim Gavin, managed the Dublin footballers to All Ireland victory; Stephen Kenny, his Dundalk side’s retained their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title and added the FAI Irish Daily Mail Cup; Willie Mullins, trained a record eight winners at this year’s Cheltenham Festival; Paudie Murray, led his Cork Camogie side to back-to-back All Ireland Camogie titles;Martin O’Neill, managed the Republic of Ireland to Euro 2016 qualification after beating Bosnia and Herzegovina in the play-offs; Michael O’Neill, under his tutelage Northern Ireland topped their Euro 2016 group and qualified for their first ever European Championship finals; Eamonn Ryan, Cork Ladies Football manager whose side became ladies senior football champions for the tenth time in eleven seasons; Joe Schmidt, managed the Ireland Rugby team to back-to-back 6 Nations championships; Tom Tierney, his Ireland Women’s Rugby team clinched a second 6 Nations title in three 3 years; Billy Walsh, the former Head Coach of Irish Boxing whose team won 10 medals this year at the European Games, the European Championships and the World Championships.
The awards ceremony will also see the honour of the RTÉ/Sport Ireland Hall of Fame Award presented to a very special Irish sporting legend.
The winners will be revealed and presented with their awards at The RTÉ Sport Awards in association with Sport Ireland which will be broadcast live on RTÉ One, Saturday 19 December at 9.40pm.