Kelly Harrington wins IT/SI Sporstwoman of the Year Award


New World lightweight champion Kelly Harrington has been crowned The Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year for 2018.

The 29-year-old Dubliner topped the 60kg podium at the World Championships in New Delhi, India last month and this momentus achievement has been recognised for the prestigious award.

Harrington had previously claimed light welter silver at the 2016 and thus became the Irish boxer to win Elite World medals in two different weight categories – although John Joe Nevin won bantamweight bronze at 54kg in 2009 and then again in 2011 after the limit had been changed to 56kg.

Harrington, who also won European bronze this year, is only the third Irish boxer – after Katie Taylor and Michael Conlan – to become an amateur world boxing champion.

Rio Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy, who naturally won the honour in 2016, presented Harrington with the trophy at an event in Dublin this afternoon.

This is the 15th year of the awards and the boxer was among 15 monthly award winners – there were multiple winners on several occasions – nominated for the 2018 title.

Harrington claimed the November monthly award, with Taylor having taken the October gong following her dominant win over Cindy Serrano.

The St Mary’s switch-hitter is the second boxer to claim the award following Taylor who claimed top honours a whopping four times in 2007, 2008, 2012, and 2014.

The Irish women’s hockey team, which claimed a silver medal at the Hockey World Cup in London during the summer, were presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Sport 2018 Award.

Sports Editor of The Irish Times Malachy Logan described 2018 as a momentous year for Irish sportswomen, noting how “World and European championships medals have become almost the norm across a huge variety of sports at these Awards while, at home, our GAA, soccer and horse racing stars are equally celebrated for their enormous contribution to women’s sport.”

“None of this would have been possible without the skill, dedication and training of the women we are honouring today as well as the unswerving support of their coaches, families and partners. It is only fitting, therefore, that we are today saluting those achievements.”

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross, who was heavily criticised for not attending Harrington’s homecoming on Sean McDermott Street in Dublin’s Inner City, described how “2018 has been another year of success for Ireland’s sportswomen, who have given us many wonderful memories and produced some spectacular performances which have captured the imagination of the country.”

“Their continued success serves to inspire our children and young people and to enhance Ireland’s reputation abroad. I would like to acknowledge Sport Ireland and the Irish Times for staging these awards which recognise the incredible contribution of Irish women in sport. I would like to congratulate all of today’s winners and also pay tribute to their families and all of the coaches and support teams who have helped them to reach the highest levels of sport.”

The Chairman of Sport Ireland, Kieran Mulvey, outlined how “in sporting terms 2018 has been a spectacular year. Sport has a unique ability to unite people of all backgrounds and we have had no shortage of sporting success to celebrate in the past twelve months. We are all united in our pride for the achievements of our athletes and teams on their success this year.”

“The Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year awards is the perfect way to round-off an excellent year and a fitting way to celebrate our wonderful athletes. I congratulate each of the monthly award winners on their achievements and wish them well for the year ahead.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie