18 December 2015
By Elaine Murphy
Cork dual stars Briege Corkery and Rena Buckley have been crowned joint winners of The Irish Times Sport Ireland ‘Sportswoman of the Year Award 2015′.
The Cork camogie and gaelic football players won the award for their record breaking achievement in becoming the most medalled women in the history of Gaelic Games.
The duo were joint winners of the Sportswoman of the Month award in September when they each won their 16th All Ireland medals in Cork’s football victory over Dublin. A fortnight earlier they had equalled the amazing record of Dublin camogie player Kathleen Mills’, when Cork beat Galway in the camogie final.
Corkery, a dairy farmer and Buckley a physiotherapist have won 10 football and 6 camogie medals. The 28 year olds have also amassed over 20 all star awards between them.
The duo, who have played together since they were children train and play matches six days a week. They have committed to both codes for 2016.
Buckley said they were really surprised when their names were called out. “We never really thought about winning this award as the girls we were up against have achieved so much. We’ve done quite well over the last few years but I just love being part of the teams. There’s a great spirit there. Eamon Ryan the football manager has inspired us not just as footballers but as people and we have learned so much about life from him.”
Corkey, who is due to get married to Diarmaid Scannell on the 8th January described it all as a fantastic journey. “We’ve been on amazing teams, had great management and a bit of luck at times. I want us as a team to play to the best of our ability and achieve all we can together and that’s what we’ll be looking to do in 2016”.
This is the 11th year of the awards and the Cork players were among 14 sports stars nominated for the 2015 title.
Sixteen year old Noelle Lenihan from Milford near Charleville was presented with her award for October following her silver medal at the IPC Paralympic World Championships in Doha.
This was Danielle’s first year competing internationally and to come out of it with a world silver – she was only beaten by reigning Paralympic champion Na Mi of China – was a phenomenal achievement. Danielle’s next target will be Rio next September.
One of Ireland’s greatest runners, Catherina McKiernan was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Women’s Sport 2015 Award.
Guest of honour Tánaiste Joan Burton congratulated all the award winners on their magnificent sporting achievements and wished them continued success into the future.
“Each and every one of them is a role model and an inspiration. They have given us all many moments to cherish and to celebrate. They have left us with some great sporting memories and have helped to lift the spirits of the nation”
Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of Sports Ireland said: “The continued success of Irish sport is so important for the country in terms of recognition, reputation and morale. It is the dedication and commitment of all our athletes, their coaches and support teams that put Ireland on the map in such a positive way. Sport Ireland is proud to be part of today’s awards which recognises the incredible contribution of Irish women in sport”.