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Sonia O’Sullivan to be Honoured with Hall of Fame Award

Sonia O’Sullivan to Enter Hall of Fame at Irish Life Health Athletics Awards 2019

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin

12 Noon, Thursday November 28th 2019


sonia o sullivan hall of fame 2019


Sonia O’Sullivan, arguably Ireland’s greatest ever athlete, will both celebrate her 50th birthday and be honoured with the Hall of Fame award' at this year’s Irish Life Health National Athletics Awards, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown, Dublin, on Thursday November 28th

Sonia, who turns 50 on the day, already has so many accolades that it’s easy to forget, with each passing year, how good she really was. She sprang to prominence as a 17-year-old in Killenaule, when she won the BLE Women's National Senior Cross-Country title. Asked that day what her ambitions in the sport were, she answered shyly: “to make the Olympics.”

She more than achieved that, in hindsight, rather modest ambition, running in four Olympic Games, and winning a famous Silver Medal, in the 5,000m, in Sydney, in 2000. Among her achievements are three World Championship titles; in the 5,000m, on the track in Gothenburg, in 1995, double World Cross-Country Gold, in Marrakech, Morrocco, in 1998, and three European Gold Medals on the track. Her star was truly global, having also won the IAAF World Athlete of the Year, and the Golden League, now known as the Diamond League.  


The nominations have also been announced for the Irish Life Health Awards. The Awards ceremony is a celebration of the many successes of Irish athletes during 2019 year, and also recognises the exceptional volunteer base, who are the bedrock of the sport.

Two Cork Athletes: Darragh McElhinney (Bantry AC & UCD) and Alex Wright (Leevale AC) are among those nominated in the respective sub-categories.

darragh mcelhinney cork city sports athlete of the month november 2018 34 Alex Wright Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month January 2017
Darragh McElhinney (Bantry AC & UCD) Alex Wright (Leevale AC)


The overall Athlete of Year will be selected from the Nominated Athletes who are, in turn, awarded the accolade of Athlete of the year in the  Under-20, Under-23, Endurance, and Track and Field categories.



The youth continue to inspire and grab the attention of the media and the nation:

Under-20 Category

 Kate O’Connor (St Gerard’s Dundalk), Sarah Healy (Blackrock) and Darragh McElhinney (UCD/Bantry) all won medals in their respective events, at the European Under-20 Championships, in Boras, Sweden. O’Connor and Healy both won silver in the heptathlon and 1500m respectively, while McElhinney won bronze in the 5,000m.


Under-23 Category

The European Under-23 Athletics Championships brought home two more medals for Ireland, with Eilish Flanagan (Carmen Runners, Omagh) winning Silver in the 3,000m steeplechase, and Nadia Power (Dublin City Harriers) winning Bronze in the 800m.

Athletics continues to highlight its gender balance naturally on the competitive stage with the women holding equal footing with their male counterparts.


Track & Field Category

Ciara Mageean (City of Lisburn) had one of her finest seasons to date, with a 10th place finish in a red hot 1500m final, at the World Athletics Championships, in Doha, and a Bronze medal at the European Indoor Championships, in Glasgow, in March.

Thomas Barr (Ferrybank) and Mark English (UCD) are also in the running for track athlete of the year – Barr was 11th overall, in the 400m hurdles standings at the World Championships, while English won Bronze, over 800m, at the European Indoor Championships.


Endurance Athlete Category

On the endurance end Brendan Boyce (Finn Valley) put in an inspirational performance to finish 6th in the men’s 50km race walk, at the World Championships, in Doha, in the searing heat along the Corniche. Fionnuala McCormack (Kilcoole) finished 18th in the World Cross-Country Championships, and also showed some of her true potential over the marathon distance, finishing fifth in Chicago, in 2:26:47. Both are in the category for Endurance Athlete of the Year.


Other awards that will be presented on the day include, Club of the Year, Services to Coaching, Lifetime Services to Athletics, Official of the Year, and many more.


Athletics Ireland CEO Hamish Adams said: “The National Athletics Awards provide the association with an opportunity to acknowledge the clubs and the volunteers who play a vital role in to the development of athletes and the sport in Ireland. I would like to congratulate all the award nominees, and also offer a big thank you to all our athletics family who contribute so much and so often.”

Liz Rowen, Head of Marketing of Irish Life Health commented: “Irish Life Health is delighted to once again support the National Athletics Awards. The awards give us the opportunity to celebrate sporting excellence in Athletics, as well as recognise volunteers who work tirelessly to give both children and adults the chance to take part in athletics and be active.”


Under-20 Athlete of the Year Nominations


Sarah Healy Blackrock
Kate O'Connor St Gerard's Dundalk
Davicia Patterson Beechmount Harriers
Aaron Sexton North Down
Darragh McElhinney UCD/Bantry


Under-23 Athlete of the Year Nominations


Eilish Flanagan Carmen Runners, Omagh
Nadia Power Dublin City Harriers
Ryan Forsyth Newcastle


Endurance Athlete of the Year Nominations


Brendan Boyce Finn Valley
Fionnuala McCormack Kilcoole
Kevin Seaward St Malachy's
Alex Wright Leevale AC


Track & Field Athlete of the Year Nominations


Thomas Barr Ferrybank AC.
Ciara Mageean City of Lisburn
Mark English UCD


The Irish Life Health Athletics Awards 2019 will take place on Thursday November 28th 2019, at 12 noon, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin. Purchase Tickets; €50 per individual, or €450 for a table of 10 people

About Us

Cork Athletics County Board is a constituent member of Athletics Ireland. Cork Athletics is the governing body, administering athletics, track and field (T&F), cross-country (XC) and running in county Cork. The Board comprises elected representatives of constituent athletic clubs and running clubs. Cork County Board AAI organises Championship races and competition, including road, track & field (T&F) and Cross-country (XC), at junior, juvenile, senior and masters levels, and selects representation for the county. In addition, training and education is provided for coaches and officials. The Board also regulates the Athletics Ireland race/event permit (licence) process for county Cork.
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