Briege Corkery and Rena Buckley have been named as joint winners of the Irish Times/ Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year award for 2015.
The dual code Cork GAA stars received the award at a ceremony in the Shelbourne Hotel on Friday.
Both Corkery and Buckley were pivotal parts of the Cork sides that won the All-Ireland Championship in both camogie and football in 2015.
Those two championship wins represented both players' 16th All-Ireland medals in total, moving them past Kathleeen Mills as the most decorated Gaelic Games players of all time.
Corkery and Buckley shared the September Sportswoman of the Month after their double success, which culminated in the 0-12 to 0-10 win over Dublin at Croke Park - Cork’s fifth successive football title.
The duo, who have played together since they were children train and play matches six days a week. They have committed to both codes for 2016.
Buckley said they were really surprised when their names were called out. “We never really thought about winning this award as the girls we were up against have achieved so much. We’ve done well over the last few years and I just love being part of the team. There’s a great spirit there. Eamon Ryan the football manager has inspired us not just as footballers but as people and we have learned so much about life from him.”
Corkery, who is due to get married on the 8th January described it as a fantastic journey. "We've been on amazing teams, had great management and a bit of luck at times. I want us as a team to play to the best of our ability and achieve all we can together and that's what we'll be looking to do in 2016".
Malachy Logan, Sports Editor of the Irish Times, described the nominees as a group of exceptional people who were a credit to themselves, their parents, partners, coaches and friends. He also paid tribute to the work of award sponsors Sport Ireland, and said their bold and imaginative approach was the main reason the profile of women's sport continues to grow and grow.
He said it was now up to the media to reflect that growth: “Although coverage of women’s sport is improving, it’s still not good enough. If the problem is going to be fixed, men - particularly those of us in the media - will have to get over ourselves.”
Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of Sports Ireland said: “The continued success of Irish sport is so important for the country in terms of recognition, reputation and morale. It is the dedication and commitment of all our athletes, their coaches and support teams that put Ireland on the map in such a positive way. Sport Ireland is proud to be part of today’s awards which recognises the incredible contribution of Irish women in sport”.
Meanwhile long distance runner Catherina McKiernan received the Outstanding Contribution to Women’s Sport 2015 Award. The 46-year-old Cavan athlete dominated cross country running in the early 1990s, winning silver in the World Cross Country Championships four years in succession between 1992 and 1995 as well as claiming gold in the inaugural European Cross Country Championships in 1994.
When she won the Berlin Marathon in 1997 it was the fastest ever debut by a woman. She went on to win the London and Amsterdam Marathons the following year. In 2003 she returned to the European Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh and helped the Ireland team to bronze. Catherina is a qualified ChiRunning Instructor and continues to run on a regular basis.
The 14 winners of the Irish Times/ Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Month award were:
December (2014): Ann Marie McGlynn (Athletics)
January: Grainne Dwyer (Basketball)
February: Sophie Spence (Rugby)
March: Niamh Briggs (Rugby)
April: Katie Walsh (Horse Racing)
May: Madeleine Perry (Squash)
May: Leona Maguire (Golf)
June: Katie Taylor (Boxing)
July: Sarah Byrne (Basketball)
August: Jenny Egan (Briege Corkery)
September: Briege Corkery (Camogie/Gaelic football)
September: Rena Buckley (Camogie / Gaelic football)
October: Noelle Lenihan (Discus)
November: Kylie Murphy