Rowers Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy and GAA legend Jimmy Barry Murphy win RTÉ awards

Rebels were to the fore at prestigious ceremony on Saturday night
Rowers Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy and GAA legend Jimmy Barry Murphy win RTÉ awards

Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

JIMMY Barry Murphy was a popular choice for the RTÉ Sports Awards Hall of Fame on Saturday night, while Skibbereen's Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy were picked for the Team of the Year for their rowing success.

There's an argument O'Donovan and McCarthy were unlucky not to pick up the prize from RTÉ last year after their Olympic triumph. They were acknowledged here for claiming another world title when they destroyed the field at the World Rowing Championships in the Czech Republic and also cruising to victory in the final at the European Rowing Championships in Munich.

O'Donovan now has an Olympic gold, to go with five world and three European golds, and the Olympic silver he captured alongside his brother Gary in 2016. That feat was also recognised with Team of the Year by RTÉ.

The Skibb native is also a member of Leevale AC and recently competed in the men’s novice 6000m race during the 123.ie Novice & Uneven Age Cross Country Championships at St Catherine’s AC in Cork. He did the same last year to vary his winter training programme.

The Team of the Year prize went to the Cork ladies footballers in 2014 for a ninth All-Ireland in 10 seasons.

PROMINENT

Leeside legend JBM won it all for St Finbarr's and Cork, as a player and manager, and is still a prominent figure in Rebel county for his work with the greyhound industry at Curraheen Park and was a selector with the Barrs county-winning minor hurlers in 2020.

Cork's Billy Coleman and Sonia O'Sullivan were previously inducted into the RTÉ Sports Hall of Fame which also includes GAA icons Mick O'Dwyer and Henry Shefflin.

Recently Roy Keane cited Jimmy as one of his idols on Sky Sports: "Growing up in Ireland, the GAA was a big part of my life, hurling. Watching Jimmy Barry-Murphy playing for Cork, brilliant sportsman."

Cork manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy celebrates in 1999. Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Cork manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy celebrates in 1999. Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Keane featured in a clip on the show while Tipp's Nicky English and Glen Rovers' Seanie McGrath were among those explaining the impact Barry Murphy had to RTÉ.

JBM's honours included five senior hurling All-Irelands and a football title as a player as well as guiding Cork to glory in 1999 and coming within an injury-time point from doing the same in 2013. 

The 68-year-old's family was steeped in GAA, his uncle Dinny Barry-Murphy landing four All-Irelands and captaining Cork before him.

His tally of 10 Munster medals – two separate five-in-a-rows – is matched only by Tipperary’s John Doyle. There were also two Munster football medals. He has four club All-Irelands with the Barrs, two in hurling and two in football, with a total of 10 county senior medals won.

St Finbarr's Eoin McGreavy, Jimmy Barry Murphy and Brian Hayes with MEP Seán Kelly at the Irish Greyhound Laurels finals recently. Picture: Gerard McCarthy
St Finbarr's Eoin McGreavy, Jimmy Barry Murphy and Brian Hayes with MEP Seán Kelly at the Irish Greyhound Laurels finals recently. Picture: Gerard McCarthy

Katie Taylor was the Sports Person of the Year for the third time, though she is still behind Sonia O'Sullivan's incredible haul of five in eight years from 1993 to 2000.

Other Cork winners were Roy Keane (1999), Ronan O'Gara (2004) and Séan Óg Ó hAilpín (2005).

UNBEATEN

The Bray boxer remains unbeaten in all 22 professional fights to retain her IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO world lightweight titles, adding two more victories this year, first in the iconic Madison Square Garden with a career-defining victory over great rival Amanda Serrano, and then over Argentinian Karen Elizabeth Carabajal in London.

The Manager of the Year gong went to Ireland boss Vera Pauw, who steered the country to a first World Cup, with runner Rhasidat Adeleke the Young Sportsperson of the Year.

Adeleke announced herself on the world stage with a blistering run in the final of the women's 400m at the European Championship in Munich, finishing fifth, and breaking her own new Irish record she set in May.

Ireland's Dutch manager Pauw masterminded a first-ever major tournament qualification, reaching the World Cup in Australia/New Zealand next summer after a 1-0 playoff win over Scotland in Glasgow.

Cork's Jacqui Hurley was one of the presenters with rower Margaret Cremen also interviewed on the night and racing pundit Jane Mangan in the crowd as well. 

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