17th January 2014, Friday
By Bryan T. Smyth
World Race Walk Champion Rob Heffernan was named Cork Person of the Year at the Cork Person of the Year Gala Awards Lunch, the 21st year of the event.
The world 50km champion received a standing ovation from the 250 guests at the function, held at the Rochestown Park Hotel.
The 35-year-old from Donnybrook, Douglas, gave Ireland its first World Athletics Gold in eighteen years, and broke the world record by more than three minutes, at the Moscow World Championships last August. Rob again thanked his trainer yesterday, wife Marian, who is due to give birth this month. He is also back to full training for the World Racing Cup to be held in China next May.
Heffernan was delighted with the award
Looking back in time this is the third big event in Cork for Rob Heffernan in recent months.
Back in August 2013 he had two homecoming ceremonies in Cork
The first 2013 homecoming was on an open top bus from Water Street, to SoHo Grand Parade
Heffernans second homecoming in 2013 was in Togher a few days later
Moving back to today’s awards in general
The Judges, City Manager Tim Lucey and Acting County Manager, Declan Daly, picked Rob Heffernan as Person of the Year from the Cork Persons of the Month chosen over 2013. Those other monthly winners were Catriona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners; Simon Zebo, Munster and Irish Rugby Star; Angie Benhaffaf, inspirational mother of conjoined twins; John Michael Cahill, family historian; Mary Hegarty, Majella Cullagh, Cara O’Sullivan, Cork’s internationally-renowned sopranos; Padraig Aherne, Cope Foundation; John Kelleher, Innishannon Steam Rally fundraiser; Dr. Sinead Doherty, Technology Development achievements; Pat Clarke, Ballincollig Tidy Towns successes; Eoin Ryan, Nationwide TV Programme achievements; Rachel Allen, promoting Cork as Food Capital.
The awards lunch was MC’d by RTÉ News Anchor Sharon Ní Bheoláin and MEP Brian Crowley. Speakers included Tom Murphy, Chief Executive of the Irish Examiner, Willie O’Reilly, Group Commercial Director of RTÉ, Manus O’Callaghan, Awards Organiser and Pat Lemasney, Southern. Lord David Puttnam and Jeremy Irons also spoke at the event.