Keane, O'Donovans and Annalise Murphy honoured with awards
FORMER Ireland captain Robbie Keane was among those honoured at a special gala last night celebrating the country's People of the Year Awards.
He was one of many sporting heroes to pick up awards for their achievements in 2016, with the O'Donovan brothers, Annalise Murphy and Connacht's Pat Lam and John Muldoon.
Buncrana tragedy hero Davitt Walsh was also recognised along with charities, volunteers and activists who have played a huge role in the lives of others in the past year.
Irish frontman Keane was recognised for his 68 goals in 146 appearances before announcing his international retirement after Ireland's impressive Euro 2016 campaign.
He signed off in style with a goal and trademark cartwheel in his final appearance in a friendly against Oman in August. "It is a privilege for me and my family to receive this award," he said last night after accepting the International Person of the Year Award. "I've always worn the green jersey with pride and I will always be grateful for the opportunities to play for and captain the international team. It has been the highlight of my career."
Olympic medallist Murphy shared the Sports Person of the Year Award with Cork rowers Paul and Gary O'Donovan.
"We're really honoured to accept this award," said Gary. "Both of us love what we do and enjoy every moment - even on those cold and wet winter mornings out on the water. We'll keep doing our thing, keep enjoying Nana's cooking and hopefully we'll keep winning medals."
Annalise said she was thrilled to receive the award.
"It's great for all the young sailors in the country to realise they can make it if they keep pursuing their dreams. I think the Rio Olympics has put sailing on the map and I've noticed a spike in the amount of people giving it a go."
Walsh was commended for the incredible bravery he showed rescuing a baby from the Buncrana pier tragedy last March when he dived into the water after seeing a car sinking in the water. "The only time I feared for my safety was on my way back from the car because I thought I wasn't going to make it back to shore. I was physically exhausted, I was struggling and I actually feared for the baby's life more than my own. I really wanted to get her back to shore."
AMEN - a charity supporting male victims of domestic abuse, Brother Kevin Crowley from the Capuchin Day Centre, and 11-year-old Milo McCarthy - who earned €18,000 for refugees by busking in Cork - also received awards.