Taylor caps off a truly vintage year
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, in presenting the awards, acknowledged their spirit and energy, “each one a credit to themselves, their families, their gender, and their sport”, adding that they each had the “DNA to make it in their chosen field”.
Malachy Logan, sports editor of The Irish Times, introduced Taylor as the outright winner, to a standing ovation. “It’s just been unbelievable,” said Taylor, still trying to make sense, justifiably so, of the last 12 months of her life – the pressure, expectation, then sheer elation and recognition that came with it.
“But these awards have always been my favourite. I was lucky to have been nominated a few times in the past, but this year, yes, has been so, so special. And it’s been a huge family affair, too,” thanking her father, Pete, and mother, Bridget, who accompanied her.
Road to Rio
Taylor is already carving out a road to Rio and the defence of her Olympic title: earlier this week she announced her first contest since London, at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin on February 24th.
Since then, Taylor has been slated to fight for a second time at the same venue after tickets for the first bout sold out in record time. Taylor will now meet opponents to be confirmed at the venue on February 24th and March 22nd.
With the European Championships scheduled for 2013, then another World Championships in 2014, in Canada, she won’t be resting on the laurels that come with these awards for long. “I’ll have two days off over Christmas, that’s it,” she added. “My job now is becoming two-time Olympic champion. It has been so long since I have been in the ring, and this is where all the hardship begins.”
It was the year she almost single-handedly pushed the sport to the top of the agenda.
“I recall watching it on holiday in France,” said Kevin O’Sullivan, editor of The Irish Times, “and it was pure sporting drama, that tore at our heart strings, and unquestionably our biggest year in sport in modern times.”
And no more worthy outright winner at the end of it.
The judging panel for the monthly and overall sportswomen of the year winner were Mary Hannigan of The Irish Times, Lindie Naughton of the Evening Herald, and Greg Allen of RTÉ Radio.
Monthly winners 2012
December 2011: Fionnuala Britton (Ath)
January: Jessica Kürten (Equestrian)
February: Fiona Coghlan (Rugby)
March: Audrey O’Flynn (Hockey)
April: Katie Walsh (Horse racing)
May: Katie Taylor (Boxing)
June: Stephanie Meadow (Golf)
July: Annalise Murphy (Sailing)
August: Bethany Firth (Swimming)
September: Ursula Jacob (Camogie)
October: Rena Buckley (Gaelic football)
November: Sycerika McMahon (Swimming)