Cork youths shine in the spotlight
The Cork City and County Youth Awards honours the rising stars of Cork sports.
This week, the overall awards night will take place at the Metropole Hotel, who sponsor the award scheme with John Buckley Sports. But who will take home the overall gong on the night? We take a look at the 12 monthly award winners for the year of 2016.
Seán Jenkins was the first winner of the Cork City and County Youth Award for 2016. Neptune Basketball Club created history by becoming the first club to win both Under 18 and Under 20 National Cup titles in the same season in January.
Seán created quite a stir with his performances on Cup Final weekend, leading both teams to victory - including a stunning final-quarter 13-point comeback against St Vincent’s in the Under 20 final – and was named the MVP in both finals, the first boy to ever achieve such a distinction.
Following on from their Munster Schools Senior Cup win, Christian Brothers College rugby team were honoured in February.
The win not only returned the cup to the school for the first time since 2009, but it also nosed the school one in front of their closest rivals Pres on the role of honour. CBC now have 29 titles to Pres’ 28.
The team was steered by coaches Neil Lucey, Conor Quaid and Ian Dunne. Captain Daire Feeney and vice captain Alex McHenry were presented with the award on behalf of the team.
The Ballincollig FC youth team had a season to remember in 2016 when they won the FAI Youth Cup. The same team had previously won the Under 17 league in 2015 and, after a couple of additions to the squad at the start of the season, won all seven matches in order to be crowned champions. The final, which took place in Turner’s Cross against Ringmahon Rangers, saw Ballincollig take the title on a scoreline of 3-1.
In April, 17 year old Maria Nagle was awarded for her success in road bowling. Maria has dabbled in many sports including badminton, basketball and rowing; while she won a County Underage Football medal with her local club Rosscarbery, also.
Her first love is road bowling and in in 2012, Maria won her first major championship, the girl’s Under 12 Munster title and since then she has won all the underage grades with All-Ireland titles in 2014 and 2015. Her highlight was winning an individual gold medal for her r performance at the European Championships in Ootmarsum in Holland where she also collected a silver team medal.
The Glanmire Under 14 footballers won the Cork Premier Féile Peil in 2016, the club’s first time winning this competition since 1993.
In recent years, the Glanmire club came agonisingly close to gaining Féile honours, being beaten after extra time by Nemo Rangers in the 2014 final, and being narrowly edged out by a point in a final replay versus Ballincollig in 2012.
Glanmire faced Douglas in the final and a superb team effort with great performances from James Crowley in goals, Luke Egan, Daniel Hogan, James Gibson, Olan Kelleher, Mark Guinnane and captain fantastic Ollie Compton, saw the Feile title heading east to Glanmire.
Sports star Saoirse Noonan was awarded in June for her outstanding soccer and Ladies Football career, which included winning the All-Ireland Minor Ladies Football Final in 2016.
With a personal tally of 2-5 in that final, she was also awarded player of the match and not long after the final, Saoirse travelled with the Irish senior squad to Wales for two challenge matches and is set to have a big career ahead.
Rising soccer star Chiedozie Ogbene was awarded in July following the Cork City FC Under 19 League of Ireland title win. As well as this, Ogbene and his teammates became the first Irish side to qualify for the UEFA Youth League.
A pacy, powerful player, Ogbene was a regular in the Under 19 side after joining City in August 2015. He has since moved on to different pastures, joining Limerick FC recently.
A winning Paralympian at the age of 16, Noelle Lenihan set the world alight since her arrival on the international scene two years ago. The Milford native, who is coached by her father Jim, competed in her first Paralympics in Rio where she won bronze in the F38 discus final in August.
Battling through a shoulder injury, Noelle overcame this to secure the medal with a throw of 31.71 metres to finish behind China’s Mi Na and home favourite Shirlene Coelho.
Lenihan is also a world silver and European gold medallist, both of which she won in the 12 months previous to Rio, despite being a relative newcomer to the sport at an international level.
It took a replay but Fr O’Neills were crowned Cork Intermediate County Hurling Champions in September.
This was, in part, thanks to a man of the match display from Declan Dalton with the full forward contributing 1-8 of his side’s fnal tally of 1-18. His goal came as a result of a free on the brink of half-time against Kildorrery who lost the replay by four points, 1-18 to 1-14.
Following Dalton’s goal, the Imokilly men proceeded to dominate the second 30 minutes of the final to capture the Paddy Walsh Cup, the first East Cork side to do so since 2007.
Dalton is a former Cork minor and was also a member of this year’s Cork intermediate team.
Sadhbh O’Leary was a member of the Kinsale side who won the Cork and Munster Ladies Junior Finals in 2016. Sadhbh started playing football at the age of seven, while her first chance to wear a county jersey was in fifth class when she played in the primary games.
She cites her best sporting memory as playing with the Cork minors in 2016 and winning the All-Ireland Final against Dublin; as well as winning the All-Ireland at Under 14 and Under 16 levels with Cork and with Kinsale.
Boxer Steven Cairns has represented his country at the European championships on two occasions in Anapa, Russia (at 40kg) and Zagreb, Croatia at 46kg where he defeated champions from Turkey, Scotland, Hungary and Bulgaria, losing only, in controversial circumstances, to Russian boxers.
The new season started well for Steven with two national titles and the a European title up for grabs, Steven is now old enough to compete at the World Championships and hopes to make an impression on the world stage in the coming months and years.
Stephen was chosen in November for his endeavours in the boxing ring and is a great prospect with the possibility of boxing in the Olympics in the near future.
19 year old hockey player Julian Dale was the final awardee for 2016. Julian started playing hockey at the age of five and spent 13 years with Cork Harlequins Hockey Club who he represented in the European Club Championships in Vienna in 2013.
Moving to Cork Church of Ireland in 2015, Julian won the Munster Senior Cup in 2016 and he has played for Munster and Ireland all the way from Under 16 through to Under 18. Julian was called into the senior international squad in 2016 in preparation for World Hockey League 2, which takes place in March 2017 in Belfast. He won his first Senior International Cap on 1 December 2016 against Spain and was a clear choice for December’s award as a result.
The Cork City and County Youth Awards take place on Friday 10 February. Mick O’Brien, President of the Cork County Boxing Board, will receive the Hall of Fame Award, Cork Camogie PRO Shirley Moloney is guest speaker; while the team of the year and the overall winner will also be announced.
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