A TRIO of talented Leesiders were honoured in yesterday’s Evening Echo Ladies Sport Star Awards function at The Ambassador Hotel.
Swimmer Sharon Semchiy, basketballer Louise Scannell and camogie icon Aoife Murray were the three brilliant athletes recognised by the Evening Echo and The Ambassador Hotel as the third quarter winners.
This is the 11th year of the scheme, the leading awards for female sport stars in the country, and there were a number of contenders for the three slots covering July, August and September.
Naturally, camogie was going to be to the fore in this quarter, after Cork pushed clear of Dublin on the roll of honour with their 27th title at the expense of great rivals Kilkenny. Aoife Murray was immense in the decider against the Cats, but had been equally impressive in the tough semi-final against Galway.
Murray picked up her eight senior All-Ireland when walking up the steps of the Hogan Stand to lift the O’Duffy Cup, and also has three county championships to her name with Cloughduv, along with six – and you’d imagine soon to be seven – All-Stars. Murray’s dedication can be measured by the fact she works in Dublin and commutes home for training, and took time off to join her family at yesterday’s function.
There has been a strong basketball flavour to this year’s Evening Echo Ladies Sport Star Awards, with Claire Rockall and Gráinne Dwyer winners already in the first two quarters. That’s because Irish women’s basketball is flying high and that’s why Louise Scannell was picked.
The Glanmire player was immense for the Ireland U18s when they defied the odds to reach the final of the European Championship, which were staged in Dublin. In doing so they gained promotion to the top tier of the game. Amy Murphy and Annaliese Murphy were the other Corkonians on the U18 panel.
The third award winner on hand yesterday was swimmer Sharon Semchiy. A 16-year-old fifth-year student at Regina Mundi, she excelled for Ireland in the Home International Schools meet in England.
A member of Sunday’s Well Swimming Club, where Richard Cassidy is her coach, while her parents Yuri and Iryna are a major support. She trains in the pool every morning from 6am, while after school she works out in the gym at the Mardyke Arena, where Sharon is a member of their Emerging Talent Programme.
Evening Echo Sports Editor John McHale paid tribute to the dedication and achievements of the trio.
“When you’re the best in Cork you’re usually the best in Ireland and often the best in the world as well. It’s fantastic that we have been able to honour three sport stars from very different sports who are taking on the best in the business and winning."
Evening Echo 2017 Ladies Sport Star winners: Gráinne Dywer (basketball), Saoirse Noonan (soccer), Emma White and Victoria Burns (hockey), Claire Rockall (basketball), Denise Walsh (rowing), Jill Hodgins (running), Aoife Murray (camogie), Louise Scannell (basketball), Sharon Semchiy (swimming).