Not many awards lunches end with everyone feeling like a winner, which was the point made by Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, just before the announcement of The Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year for 2016.
Because while sailor Annalise Murphy was named outright winner, all 12 monthly winners – 16 nominees in total – made an equal impression on the ever-widening landscape of women’s sport during the year.
“The best thing about these awards is the fact they are run over a 12-month period,” said Fitzgerald, “with the judges selecting the winner each month for her ability to excel in sport. That system, with its constant, recurring reminder, is great. It keeps women in sport at the front of the mind, and recognises achievement, rather than uniqueness, and that’s very important. […]