Hall of Fame winner Maeve Quinn is presented with her award by Ciaran Reidy of sponsors Lough Rynn Castle Estate & Gardens & LSP Coordinator Declan Boyle. Photo by James Molloy
Irish international sprinter Eanna Madden was named this year's Overall winner at the 2017 Leitrim Sports Star Awards last Friday in Lough Rynn Castle Hotel in Mohill.
It might have been icy cold outside but inside the warmth of Leitrim's sporting achievements in 2017 cast a warm glow over the evening as the county's best and brightest were honoured for their achievements.
Carrick-on-Shannon AC sprinter Eanna Madden capped off a great year that saw him crowned Irish Senior 200m champion and run for Ireland in the European Team Championships by winning the prestigious overall award.
There was a standing ovation for Aughawillan and Leitrim Ladies football legend Maeve Quinn when she received the Hall of Fame Award on Friday night, fitting recognition for a career that started back in the early 80s and is still going strong.
Special guest Eric Elwood looked back on his career with Connacht and Ireland and gave some insight into the development of the game in the province and also urged all parents to allow their children experience and enjoy all sports while they can and before they concentrate on one discipline.
Two of the older award winners on the night also demonstrated just how much the Leitrim Sports Star awards meant when Martin McHugh and Michael Cornyn both gave emotional reactions to winning their awards.
Martin, a Connacht Senior Championship winner with Leitrim in 1994, talked of how much winning the Intermediate championship with Aughnasheelin meant to him after his battle to twice beat cancer in the last ten years.
And Ballinaglera native Michael Cornyn, now living in Dunboyne in Meath, spoke passionately and eloquently of what representing Leitrim and his pride in his native county means to him as his achievements in winning gold, silver and bronze at the World Masters Indoor Championship in South Korea at 56 years of age were honoured.
The other end of the age spectrum was recognised as Leitrim Ladies U14's All-Ireland B victory and Carrick-on-Shannon Area's U10 Gaelic Football Community Games All-Ireland win saw them jointly win the Juvenile Team of the Year with Ladies manager Jerome Quinn delivering an almost fiery championing of Leitrim football.
Individually, Carrick-on-Shannon's Donnacha Holmes' Ironman exploits saw him win the Senior Sports Star of the Year award while the exploits of Manorhamilton's Muireann Devaney in both gaelic football and soccer saw her win the Junior Sports Star award.
Leitrim hurling also had a great night with the County Senior team winning the Team of the Year award after reaching the Lory Meagher Cup Final while a surprised Martin Cunniffe was on stage a second time to collect a worthy Volunteer of the Year Award.
Carrick-on-Shannon's Scoil Mhuire won the Best Sports School Award with involvement in athletics, gaelic football hurling, rugby, swimming, basketball, gymnastics and much, much more.
Lough Key Triathlon Club, after Donnacha Holmes' award, had even more to celebrate when they won the Club of the Year title as the who have gone from strength to strength in only 10 years of existence, boasting three internationals during the year.
The Leitrim Observer Unsung Hero award went to John Cavanagh and Sinead McKeon for their fantastic fundraising efforts in organising a Limerick to Dromahair cycle that has so far raised in excess of €62,000 for local charities.
All in all, it was an event that celebrated the very best of Leitrim Sport and some marvellous achievements and although it might be a cliche, it truly was a night in which all the nominees truly were all winners!