Tuesday, January 09, 2018

January for many sports people in Waterford is awards month. You have the WLR/ Granville GAA awards, the Beat Sports Awards amongst others, but on next Saturday night the season will get underway with Park Hotel Waterford Sports Star Awards, which are earlier than ever this year, for their 27th overall awards banquet.
It’s a tremendous achievement for such an awards scheme to be going for almost three decades and the best thing about it is that the standard continues to improve year on year which is a great testament to the sports people and coaches of Waterford.
As usual the adjudicating panel of Kieran and John O’Connor, Neil Gough and myself will have a very difficult task in picking who will become the 2017 overall Park Hotel winner. Will it be a new name on the trophy, a 20th different winner since the awards began back in 1991? Or will Tom Queally or Seamus Power add to their collection? All will be revealed sometime after 11pm on Saturday night next in Dungarvan.
As usual this year’s crop of monthly award winners is a great mix of proponents of so many different sports, with 15 people sharing the 12 monthly honours. Seven different sports are represented this year in, horse racing, camogie, athletics, soccer, golf, rowing and hurling.
Included are a man that had a year to remember in the National Hunt ranks, a national camogie star from De La Salle, a World Champion Masters athlete who gets better with age, two National soccer champions, an All-Ireland winning schools’ golf team, two world class rowers (a return of the sport to these awards for the first time since the early 1990s), a Royal Ascot winning flat jockey, a PGA Tour top ten golfer, a League of Ireland First Division winning coach, an international soccer goalscorer, a winner of three medals at the World IWAS Games in athletics and a pair of hurling stars who both collected All-Star awards in 2017. Not a bad line-up, I think you’ll agree.
Returning to host the night this year is very popular former visitor to the Park Hotel, RTE’s Sunday Game host and star of Dancing With The Stars, Des Cahill.

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