Stars shine on gala night
The stars of Kerry sport were out in force at the INEC in Killarney on Friday for the fifth annual Kerry Sport Star Awards where over 40 athletes, representing a multitude of different sports, gathered to pick up awards for their achievements in 2017.
The occasion is now one of the biggest in the county and it shines the spotlight on participants from junior and senior, local and international arenas, as well as several special categories and unsung heroes in a way that incorporates the achievements of all Kerry athletes.
Over 500 guests attended the glitz and glamour event which was co-hosted by Ken and Sarina O'Day. Ken is also the chief organiser of the event and he is astounded at the rate of its success among the general public and Kerry athletes.
"It's a very well attended event and one of the largest at this time of year. It's an honour for us to honour these athletes who work so hard in their respective sports," said Ken. "We have 25 great sponsors and we would welcome anyone interested in getting involved to contact us as it's a great event to be associated with. These awards are very much a team effort and I want to thank all the people who work behind the scenes to make it possible," he added.
Christy Riordan needs little introduction when it comes to his contribution to Kerry sports and his recordings were a popular feature on the night. The legendary Mick O'Dwyer was in attendance and picked up the Hall of Fame Award for his services to Gaelic football. The audience also enjoyed a live link with football star and Ballinskelligs woman, Caroline Kelly, in Australia, while the Irish ladies rugby captain, Ciara Griffin, also picked up her award via a pre-recorded broadcast.
There was an on-screen appearance from the voice of Kerry sport, Weeshie Fogarty, who announced Con Dennehy as the winner of the O'Day Perpetual Shield. The Supreme Sports Award went to Kerry star David Clifford, while sports journalist Murt Murphy won the award for Services to Sport.
The awards also attracted strong political representation with MEP and former GAA President Sean Kelly; Danny and Michael Healy-Rae, and Minister Brendan Griffin there to oversee proceedings. The Bishop of Kerry Ray Browne also attended the star-studded event.
The countdown is already on to next year's event thanks to a new, monthly Kerry Sports Star Award which started in January and extends to December 2018. This monthly award relies on submissions from the general public who can nominate their chosen sports personality each month.
A judging panel will then assess each submission prior to announcing the monthly winner. Ken O'Day said this idea will meet application demand for the yearly event as it recognises more athletes and gives the wider public an opportunity to have a say in the nomination process.
"The monthly awards promise to be exciting and we're looking forward to more people out there getting involved by sending their submissions. I'm sure there are athletes performing well in a range of other sports and this gives us a chance to have their achievements recognised."
Anyone wishing to make a monthly submission can email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or post to: 'Ken O'Day, Farranfore, Currow, Killarney'.