After an incredible year that saw her finish 20th in the Olympic Women’s 50Km walk in London, Laura Reynolds ended an incredible 2012 on a high when she won the Leitrim Sports Partnership Overall Sports Star Award for the second year in a row last Saturday night in The Landmark Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon.
With an incredible variety of sports and individuals nominated from disciplines as diverse as gaelic football to equestrian, triathlon to pool, hurling to golf, Laura admitted that she was overwhelmed at the reaction to her London exploits.
“Leitrim is such a small community,” Laura told the Observer, “and everyone’s support over the last year has been absolutely brilliant and everyone’s generosity, I’m been overwhelmed by it all. Even in London, it was brilliant and I think you only get that in a small place like Leitrim.”
Having won the award last year, 2012 turned out to be an amazing year for the Eslin walker - “It is hard to believe that it is a year since I won the award and all the talk was about qualifying for the Olympics. I had got the B standard but I knew I wouldn’t be sent on that.
“Now I am an Olympian, I have put in a good performance, it is hard to believe. It was a very busy year, a lot happened and it was a very successful year for me, I couldn’t be happier or asked for a better debut and hopefully, a sign of better things to come.”
Laura, who competes with Mohill & District AC, has been subbing as a PE and Biology teacher but is currently setting her sights on the World Championships in Moscow and the World Student Games in 2013 and is hoping that her funding stays intact in an era of cut-backs.
“You always hope you’d get more funding, I don’t think the funding is going to change for next year, the brackets , I think I’d probably be on the same funding but I’m so happy that the Sports Council and Athletics Ireland support me, I’m grateful for all their support.”
However, one thing that didn’t happen in 2012 was the addition of what seems to be the now obligatory Olympic Rings tattoo as Laura joked “I haven’t gone that far yet, I know a lot of people who have but I haven’t been brave enough to take that step yet.”
The award winners came in a variety of sports and disciplines, no better summed up than Junior Sports Star winner Dearbhaile Beirne who was honoured for her achievements in gaelic football, athletics and soccer.
An incredible year for Cathal McCrann with both Leitrim and Gortletteragh, in goal and outfield respectively, saw him win the Senior Sports Star award although he wasn’t there to collect his award as the Gortletteragh GAA Club’s award night clashed with the event.
Manorhamilton’s historic Hurling Championship success was marked by the Men’s Team of the Year award while Leitrim Ladies Senior team won the Ladies Team of the Year.
Mohill Community College’s Equestrian team’s achievements in 2012 saw them win the Juvenile Team of the Year while Best Sports School of the Year was won by Gaelscoil Liatroma and the Leitrim Junior Men’s Pool team were recognised with the Special Achievement Award after a year of outstanding success.
Patsy Connaughton, who won the Community Person/Volunteer of the Year award, probably spoke for everyone when he said that he was only a small part of a large community effort, reflecting the sense of community and county pride that was evident last Saturday night