Pierce Flynn, presents the March Sports Star Award to Joint Winner Joe Gough. Included are Fintan Walsh, Waterford Athletics. Margaret Poyner and Ger Lawton, adjudicator.
Joe shared the March Award with Henry de Bromhead. Photos: Sean Byrne//Deise Media.
The standard of the Park Hotel Waterford Sports Star awards continues to go from strength to strength and this month the judges were unable to split two wonderful achievements on the international sporting front, which means joint winners for the month of March.
Henry de Bromhead, who also took the January award, had a great March which culminated in his Special Tiara winning the hugely prestigious Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, the highlight of Wednesday’s card. It was Henry’s fourth Cheltenham Festival winner, his first since 2011 as Special Tiara followed in the great hoofprints of Henry’s former stable star Sizing Europe who also won this race.
Sharing the March award with Henry is West Waterford AC’s Joe Gough who was winning his fourth Park Hotel monthly award. Joe travelled to South Korea in March looking to retain his World Masters Championships O60 800m title and that is exactly what he did, despite being the oldest man in the race. He also won silver in the relay and bronze in the 1500m. He also won three titles at the National Indoor Masters in Athlone at the beginning of the month.
The presentation lunch was held this week with Joe Gough accompanied by Gerry Cantwell of West Waterford AC, his sister Margaret and Fintan Walsh PRO of Waterford Athletics. Adjudicators, Kieran O’Connor and Ger Lawton were also in attendance. Unfortunately Henry de Bromhead was unable to make it on the day but did pick up his award later in the week and expressed his delight at winning his sixth monthly award. Indeed Henry has now joined David Casey and Tom Queally as the winning most horse racing recipients in this awards scheme.
Making the presentation, Park Hotel proprietor, Pierce Flynn said ‘You might be getting older Joe but it seems to me that you’re getting better and stronger and it’s great to see you back here winning your fourth Park Hotel award for retaining your World title, which is fantastic. You love your sport and your a credit to it and to your club and your county and keep it up and best of luck with everything in the future,’ said Pierce Flynn.
Speaking on receiving his award Joe Gough said, ‘Thanks very much Pierce, I’m absolutely delighted to be back here winning my fourth Park Award and to share it with Henry de Bromhead. We were speaking here at the table about horses earlier and I think if I was a horse, my trainer would have retired me years ago but I’m still going. Actually I was thinking coming up in the car today that it’s probably harder, in this day and age with the standard of sport in Waterford, to win a Park Hotel Award than to do what I did in South Korea in March and when I read the papers each week and see the brilliant achievements of our golfers and so many other sports people, I’m just thrilled to be part of that group in this way.
‘To be honest I didn’t have any great plan in terms of athletics. Growing up all I wanted to be was a Munster Champion. I thought being a county champion was good but to be champion of six counties would be brilliant, little did I ever think that one day I’d actually be a World Champion and I keep saying it to young sports people when I meet them, you have to have a dream. Then after that you need great support and I’ve been very lucky to have had that all along. My club, West Waterford AC, my family, Fintan Walsh and so many more. It takes a lot of effort and it can be a very selfish lifestyle also and I suppose I’m only staring to realise now, at the age of 64, that my wife has been hanging around for the last 30 years wanting to go places. We acclaim our sports heroes but we rarely talk about the families behind those people and the work and sacrifices that they are putting in to make it all happen.’
‘Just today coming in here to the Park Hotel, I met some people from Villierstown that I didn’t know but they knew me and they came up and congratulated me on my achievements and you could see that they were so proud and so that’s really nice and things like that make the thought of maybe walking away, very hard. Whether I go into a new age category of O65 who knows. I’m on a bit of downtime now so I’ll reflect and see where I go from here. I’ve made so many friends all over the world that it would be hard to break those links but who knows,’ concluded Joe Gough.
Pierce Flynn, presents the March Sports Star Award to Joint Winner Henry de Bromhead. included is Kieran O’Connor, adjudicator. Henry shared the March Award with Joe Gough.