NOMINATONS FOR IRISH INDEPENDENT YOUNG SPORTSTAR OF THE YEAR
On his first big-race ride following his shock appointment as number one jockey to Alan and Ann Potts, Cork-born Burke conspired to foil rising star Road To Riches aboard the old warrior Sizing Europe at Gowran Park. Soon after, he excelled aboard Sizing John to secure a first Grade One victory at Leopardstown and topped that with a breathtaking triumph aboard the bold-jumping Sizing Granite at Aintree.
Burke, not even a fully fledged professional on his appointment, has displayed a calm efficiency far beyond his 19 years, again showing great maturity when coolly guiding Henry de Bromhead's Shanahan's Turn to a famous Galway Plate triumph.
The first Irish woman to reach No 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and the first from the Republic of Ireland to make the cut in a professional Major, the 20-year-old from Ballyconnell in Co Cavan has had a spectacular 2015 and is poised to play in the Olympic Games in Rio next year.
A four-time winner for Duke University on the American college circuit, Leona was the leading qualifier in the Ladies British Amateur Championship and unbeaten for Great Britain & Ireland in the Vagliano Trophy. And, if that wasn't enough to be going on with, she shocked the Ladies European Tour professionals by finishing second in the British Masters.
THE Ballintubber clubman, younger brother of Cillian, is very much the future of Mayo football on the evidence of his performances in both games of their thrilling All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin.
The 20-year-old former All-Ireland minor winner, who established himself in the team during last year's championship campaign, twice made his presence felt in the white heat of Croke Park battle against the game's top team.
His boundless energy down the right flank of the Mayo attack was supplemented by some impressive passing and shooting, his point in the semi-final replay being right out of the top drawer.
Tadhg De Burca
Derek McGrath's young Waterford side were a revelation throughout 2015 but the cornerstone of their side was definitely defender Tadhg de Búrca.
The Clashmore-Kinsalebeg clubman showcased all his skills in the sweeper role as the Deise claimed a first League title in eight years and marched all the way to the All-Ireland semi-finals.
The hugely skilful 21-year-old has an uncanny ability to read the game, displaying great athleticism while his pinpoint passing was the springboard to numerous attacks.
De Búrca capped a fantastic year by winning an All-Star at centre-back and also scooped the Young Hurler of the Year award.
THE Wexford man, who was voted Irish Independent Young Sportstar last year, continues to be a sensation in showjumping after finishing third at the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in April.
The 19-year-old won several major Grand Prix competitions and was a member of the winning Aga Khan Cup team at Dublin Horse Show in August.
Two major victories beforehand on the indoor circuit, in Bordeaux and Verona, saw Allen rocket to 10th in the individual world rankings before he took the World Cup by storm, winning the opening event last winter.
He has since moved into seventh spot and held that position in the individual rankings for most of this year.