THE cream of the crop in women's sport on Leeside was recognised at The Echo Women in Sport Awards at the Cork Airport Hotel on Friday afternoon.
Boxer Christina Desmond picked up the showpiece accolade, as the 13th Echo Sportswoman of the Year after an outstanding year.
“I’m overwhelmed, it is a great honour,” said the native of Cill na Martra, who was a previous recipient of the award.
“There are loads of talented athletes inside there and they are top class, excelling at their own event and in their own sports. Looking through, I did not expect to get it.
“2019 was a very good year. I wasn’t in the sport really in 2018, so to come back to have a year like that was excellent and this award now tops it all off.”
The past 12 months have shown the level which this gifted boxer can operate at.
Desmond proved she can compete at the highest level, illustrated by her display at last October’s AIBA World Boxing Championships in Russia and the next target it qualifying for the Olympics.
"I'm not putting any pressure on myself," she revealed. "I'm fifth in the world at the moment and you have to be in the top six to go to the Olympics so hopefully I can keep that up."
The Outstanding Achievement award was given to talented rower in Sanita Puspure. The Ballincollig-resident excellent last year, winning her second successive World Championship gold medal in the single sculls.
The 38-year-old also qualified for the Tokyo Olympics by way of her semi-final victory at the Worlds in Ottensheim.
The Olympics will be the next target for Puspure and she will hope the hard work pays off later this summer.
Meanwhile, there was a deserved standing ovation for Sheila Golden, who is referred to very often indeed as the 'mammy of Cork camogie', as she picked up the Hall Of Fame award.
The event also contained an engaging and informative discussion with Irish Olympian Jessie Barr, who chatted on stage with Echo Sports Editor John McHale about the issue of mental health in sport.
The sister of 2020 Olympic hopeful Thomas, she is also an accredited Sport & Performance Psychologist.
Maurice Gubbins, editor of The Echo, hailed all 12 nominees as a credit to their families, schools and communities.
He also marked the importance of women’s sport and honoured those present as “some of the finest Irish sports people of this or any generation”.
“It’s our goal to be able to be able to support athletes, but it’s also extremely important to support female athletes.” added, Diarmuid Vaughan, General Manager of the Cork Airport Hotel.