Lowry and Harrington win achievement awards
Michael Conlan and Christy O’Connor Junior were also among the winners
Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry at the At&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images
A stellar year for Irish golf was capped last night at the 27th Excellence in Sports Awards when Shane Lowry and Pádraig Harrington both received outstanding achievement awards while Christy O’Connor Jnr won the Golf Digest Lifetime Achievement Award.
Back in August Lowry won his first event in the US when he captured the Bridgestone Invitational in dramatic fashion to become just the third Irishman to win a World Golf Championship.
The win earned him a three-year exemption onto the PGA Tour, a ticket to next year’s US Masters and moved him into the world’s top 20. In short, it catapulted him onto the world stage.
The Offaly golfer was presented with the award by host Pádraig Harrington who himself received an award for his tense playoff win at the Honda Classic in March – his first PGA Tour win since 2008.
Christy O’Connor Jnr’s contribution to Irish golf – which included 17 professional wins and two Ryder Cup appearances – was also recognised with a lifetime achievement award.
Michael Conlan’s heroics in Doha, which saw him win Ireland’s first-ever gold medal at the men’s World Boxing Championships, were rewarded with an outstanding achievement award.
AP McCoy, who this year retired after riding 4,358 winners and being named champion jockey 20 years in a row, also received a lifetime achievement award.
The Irish Special Olympics team, the Irish showjumping team and the Irish men’s rugby team won the three team awards on the evening while international mountain biker Greg Callaghan won the alternative sport award.
With the 25th anniversary of Italia ’90 being remembered during the summer, the Irish team from that World Cup won the Reeling Back the Years Award.
The awards are held in aid of the Irish Youth Foundation, which supports vulnerable children and young people living in disadvantaged circumstances around the country.
Host Pádraig Harrington received a surprise award on the evening for his dramatic victory at the Honda Classic in March after a tense play-off with American rookie Daniel Berger.