Michael Duignan announced as special guest at Sports Star Awards

Michael Duignan, GAA Pundit with RTE will be the Guest Speaker at the 2012 Leitrim Sports Star Awards on Saturday, December 1st in the Landmark Hotel. Michael is an author, a motivational speaker and a former dual player and hurling manager having played hurling and football with his local club St. Rynagh’s and with the Offaly senior inter-county teams from the 1980’s until the early 2000’s.

Michael Duignan, GAA Pundit with RTE will be the Guest Speaker at the 2012 Leitrim Sports Star Awards on Saturday, December 1st in the Landmark Hotel. Michael is an author, a motivational speaker and a former dual player and hurling manager having played hurling and football with his local club St. Rynagh’s and with the Offaly senior inter-county teams from the 1980’s until the early 2000’s.

Duignan served as manager of the Meath senior hurling team from 2001 until 2003. He has since become a Gaelic Games Pundit for RTE.

Leitrim Sports Star Awards recognises the achievements of people across different sports as well as placing a big emphasis on the role of the volunteer and recreational activities which is the ethos of Leitrim Sports Partnership. Sports of all types are recognised in these awards and nominees have been shortlisted from a range of sports including athletics, gaelic football, equestrian, handball, hurling and more.

The guest speaker this year, similar to previous years, is a well rounded sportperson having played both Gaelic and Hurling, been a manager, working as a sports pundit as well as working with other sports such as rugby on motivation which is very topical this year of all years.

Michael spent more than a decade earning a reputation as one of the most competitive hurlers in a sport famous for its uncompromising characters. He claimed two All-Ireland winner’s medals as part of an Offaly team packed with natural ability and flair but which was saddled, unfairly in Duignan’s view, with the label of being a group of feckless mavericks. Since his retirement, he has established another reputation for himself as an equally uncompromising TV commentator, unafraid to ‘tell it as he sees it’.

But, behind Duignan’s sporting success and high-profile media character, lies a more unconventional and complex man who has striven with tragedy off the sporting field. In September 2009, after a long and difficult battle, his wife, Edel, died from cancer. In his autobiography Life, Death & Hurling, Michael Duignan recounts his wife’s struggle to overcome her cancer and, later, bravely accept her fate. He tells how Edel’s fight to survive drew the couple and their sons, Seán and Brian, closer than ever.

The nominees for the Leitrim Sports Awards 2012 are:

Sports Individual Junior: Dearbhaile Beirne, (Mohill A.C.); Alice Kelly (Carrick Rowing Club); Tom McCabe (Carrick Rowing Club); Donal Wrynn (Fenagh Handball).

Volunteer of the Year: Paddy Connaughton, (Sean O’Heslin’s GAA); Mary Coyle (Glencar/Manor GAA); Gerry Gilroy (Leitrim Sub-Aqua Club).

Sports Individual Senior: (Colin Griffin, Ballinamore Athletics Club); Cathal McCrann (Gortletteragh & Leitrim GAA); Laura Reynolds (Mohill Athletics Club).

Best Sports School: Ballaghmeehan N.S., Rossinver; Gaelscoil Liatroma, Cora Droma Rúisc; St. Joseph’s N.S., Leitrim Village.

Men’s Team of the Year: Cluainín Iomáint (Manorhamilton HurlingTeam); Cecil Ewing Team, Carrick on Shannon Golf Club; Leitrim Senior Football Team.

Ladies Team of the Year: Carrick Cougars Basketball Team; Leitrim Ladies Senior Team; St. Joseph’s Ladies Senior Team, (Aughavas/Carrigallen).

Juvenile Team of the Year: Alan Wrynn & Jarlath Scollan, Handball; Fenagh/St Cailian’s U-13/U-14 GAA; Mohill Community College Equestrian Team.

Special Achievement Award: Damien Brehony, Challenge Barcelona; Leitrim Junior Pool Team; Donal Kennedy, Ironman France; Sharon O’Hara, Ironman Hawaii.

Exceptional Service to Sport & Recreation - Hall of Fame: Mary Keenan, Community Games

Leitrim’s Sports Person of the Year 2012: The winner to be announced on the night.

A special night of celebration is planned by Leitrim Sports Partnership with a 4 course meal being served, followed by the awards and appearances by some very special guests. MC for the evening will be Shannonside radio’s very own sports reporter John Lynch.

Should anyone wish to come along to support the nominees and enjoy what promises to be an excellent night of celebration you can purchase a ticket for € 35 online at www.leitrimsports.ie or by calling Leitrim Sports Partnership on (071) 9650498 or emailing us on sports@leitrimcoco.ie

Some people have already booked tickets for their Christmas party at the Sports Awards and other people are very welcome to join in. Hurry though, given the great price, tickets are selling fast.

Leitrim Sports Partnership would like to take this opportunity to thank their sponsors for their generous support – Leitrim County Council; The Landmark Hotel; Cora Systems; Leitrim Development Company; Aura Leitrim Leisure; Leitrim County Enterprise Board; Woodies DIY; KPF Sports Ground Contracts and Lough Rynn Castle Estate & Gardens.