Thurles basketball star Gráinne Dwyer honoured at sportswoman awards

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Thurles basketball star Gráinne Dwyer honoured at sportswoman awards

Gráinne Dwyer (centre) pictured accepting her award at the the Irish Times Sportswoman of the Year award ceremony.

Thurles star basketballer Gráinne Dwyer was honoured at the annual Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman Awards which were held at the weekend.

The Thurles native received the award for her inspirational performances in helping Glanmire to a fourth national cup in succession.

This year’s victory over Liffey Celtics brought to five the number of National Cup medals won by Dwyer. Her ability to produce a big performance on the biggest of days was demonstrated by the fact that she was named MVP in three of the last four finals.

Dwyer joined Glanmire in 2008 and she has been one of the driving forces behind their unrelenting success. The 33-year-old still has plenty to offer and is looking forward to more success at club level as well as the international front with Cork hosting the European Championship for Small countries next Summer.

Leading horse trainer Jessica Harrington was crowned The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year for 2017.

A memorable year for the Kildare based trainer saw Sizing John - ridden by local jockey Robbie Power - gallop to victory in the Irish Gold Cup, the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Punchestown Gold Cup. It’s the first time a horse has won all three races in the same year.

She also claimed a first win in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse with Our Duke.

Mary Davis, the CEO of Special Olympics International and long-term campaigner for the rights and inclusion of children and adults with intellectual disabilities, was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Sport 2017 Award.

Davis was CEO of the Special Olympics World Summer Games when they were staged in Ireland in 2003. It was the first time the event was staged outside of North America since the movement was founded in 1968.

The Sports Editor of The Irish Times Malachy Logan described the nominees as exceptional people who were a credit to themselves, their partners, coaches and families: “While it’s true that women’s sport still needs more funding, greater participation levels and wider support, huge advances continue to be made. Who would have believed a few years ago that the All Ireland women’s final could attract an attendance of 47,000 or that a boxing bill in London would be headlined by a women’s bout or that Ireland could stage a hugely successful rugby world cup. These are remarkable milestones in women’s sport and the ripple effect from them will be felt for years to come”.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin said Ireland’s sportswomen had made a hugely significant contribution to the country’s sporting success during 2017: “Over the course of the last twelve months, Ireland’s sportswomen 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”.

The Chairman of Sport Ireland Kieran Mulvey congratulated all the award winners and thanked them for being such fantastic ambassadors for both their sport and their country: “Their performances at national, international, European and World events showcased the very best of Irish sporting talent. Events such as these demonstrate that Irish athletes continue to achieve at the very highest level. Sport Ireland is delighted to again partner with The Irish Times for the 2017 Sportswoman of the Year Awards, which acknowledge and pay tribute to fifteen athletes who have risen to the very top of their chosen sport”.