Olympic heroes, Paul and Gary O’Donovan, were named Cork Persons of the Year for 2016, at a glittering awards lunch in Cork today.
Before an invited audience of 250 people, representing all sectors of Cork society, the O’Donovan brothers received a standing ovation at a Gala Awards Lunch in the Rochestown Park Hotel. RTE Broadcaster, Sean O’Rourke performed the Master of Ceremonies role at the event.
The Mayor of Cork County, Cllr Seamus McGrath and the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Des Cahill, presented the Cork Persons of the Year award to Gary O’Donovan, on behalf of the people of Cork. Unfortunately, Paul O’Donovan was unable to attend today’s award ceremony, as he is currently taking Physiotherapy exams at UCD.
“I can honestly say that in the 24 year history of these awards, we have never had such an overwhelming response to a nomination as we have had for Paul and Gary O’Donovan. Given the national and international response to their achievements at last year’s Olympic Games in Rio, it really is no surprise that they have picked up this year’s trophy”, said awards founder and organiser, Manus O’Callaghan.
Tom Crosbie of Landmark Media, owners of the Irish Examiner, also spoke at the awards and said, “these remarkable sportsmen have captured the nation’s heart and their positive outlook makes them outstanding ambassadors for our youth, sport in general and for Cork.”
Olympic heroes, Paul and Gary O’Donovan brought the entire country to a standstill last summer when they won a Silver medal for Rowing. Remarkably, Paul O’Donovan went on to win a Gold medal at the World Championships in Rotterdam shortly afterwards. Hailing from Lisheen, near Skibbereen, Co Cork, the O’Donovan brothers also won the RTE Sports Team of the Year Award this year and the Director General of RTE, Dee Forbes spoke at the lunch, warmly congratulating her West Cork neighbours!
A number of guests at the awards lunch spoke about the O’Donovan brothers’ unique and endearing personalities, as well as their herculean sporting achievements on the water. Indeed, their success has already led to a huge lift in membership in rowing and sailing clubs throughout Ireland.
The O’Donovan brothers were surrounded by family members at the awards lunch, including their proud mother, Trish and their “Nan” Mary Doab. This year’s award judges were Tim Lucey, Chief Executive, Cork County Council and Ann Doherty, Chief Executive, Cork City Council.
Sponsors of the Cork Person of the Year 2016 Award were: the Irish Examiner; RTE; Southern Advertising; AM O’Sullivan PR; Lexus Cork; Tony O’Connell Photography; Cork Crystal and C & C Gleeson.