A rising sports star and a star of past glory are to be honoured at the Canon Hayes National Sports Awards. Jockey Nina Carberry and former Republic of Ireland player Ray Houghton will both receive awards at the 16th Annual Canon Hayes National Sports Awards Ceremony at Ballykisteen Hotel on Saturday November 26th.
Nina Carberry is to be honoured with the Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of her achievement earlier this year in becoming only the second female jockey to win the Irish Grand National. At just 25 years of age, Nina is well on the way to achieving legendary status and is seen by many in the sport as the best female jockey to have graced the turf. Her run on that Easter Monday aboard the inexperienced six-year-old horse, ‘Organisedconfusion’ was flawless, and saw her finish a strong five lengths ahead of her nearest opponent. The 12-1 shot ‘Organisedconfusion’, which was trained by her uncle Arthur Moore, became the first six-year-old to win the race since Tartan Ace in 1973 and pundits afterwards were quick to applaud Nina as a professional rider who lives an amateur status. Nina has become one of the best-known faces in Irish racing; a remarkable feat for an amateur rider and her festival tallies include a Champion Bumper at Punchestown, along with four winners at the Cheltenham Festival and completing the Aintree course on all three rides in the Grand National.
Ray Houghton is to be honoured by the Canon Hayes Awards Committee with the Mick Doyle Golden Memory Award. Houghton is remembered by Irish soccer fans for being the scorer of two of the most important goals in the national team’s history, which resulted in 1–0 victories over England in Stuttgart at UEFA Euro 1988, and against Italy at the Giants Stadium in New York at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. At club level Houghton is best remembered for his success in the great Liverpool side of the late 1980s.
Houghton qualified to play international football for the Republic of Ireland through his Donegal-born father. He earned his first cap in Jack Charlton’s first match as manager, which was a friendly international against Wales in March 1986, and his final appearance in the green shirt was as a substitute in the 1998 FIFA World Cup play-off match against Belgium. In those twelve years he represented Ireland 73 times, scoring 6 goals, including those ones against England and Italy, that are regarded by Irish soccer fans as being two of Ireland’s greatest sporting memories.
The Chairman of the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre, Martin Quinn said that they are delighted to honour both Nina and Ray at this year’s awards. He said that in winning the Grand National Nina was following in the path of her brothers Paul and Philip who had both been successful in the race before, and that being only the second female winner of the race was an outstanding achievement particularly as the previous female winner was 27 years earlier in 1984.
He said that Ray Houghton was a name that immediately conjours up some fantastic sporting memories and that he is a very worthy recipient of the Golden Memory Award. He added that in his playing career Ray was regarded as being a true gentleman whose work rate and honesty was admired and respected by team mates and opponents alike.
The awards will be presented to Nina and Ray on the night of Saturday November 26th at Ballykisteen Hotel at the annual Canon Hayes Sports Awards Banquet. A limited number of tickets are available at €50 each and can be reserved by calling 087-6101628.