The achievements of some of Munster’s newest hockey clubs provided the highlights of the Munster Hockey Awards 2014 at the Mardyke on Friday night.
Clonakilty were among the biggest winners, no surprise after the West Cork club – in only their third year of existence – won the Irish Challenge Cup as well as the women’s Division 3 and 4 leagues, before providing three players to the Munster junior team that finished second at the interpros.
Their coach Melvin Beamish collected the coach of the year award while the club was also honoured with a special merit award. Those also went to Cork C of I women’s firsts in honour of their memorable Irish Hockey Trophy success, and C of I’s Reg Treacy in honour of his commitment to underage development in his club.
Limerick’s men earned the team of the year prize for also winning the Irish Challenge Cup as well as the men’s Division 2, while Cashel/New Inn – the newest faces in the women’s top tier next season – were named developing club of the year after successive promotions under John Ryan’s guidance.
Cork Harlequins earned recognition for a Munster league and cup double-winning campaign – and a fifth place finish in the Irish Hockey League – with the Club of the Year prize. Their talismanic defender Yvonne O’Byrne took the senior female player of the year gong in a season that saw her earn her first Irish senior caps.
C of I goalkeeper Billy Lynch took the men’s equivalent for his consistently sharp performances as his side claimed a domestic treble. Irish U16 internationals Michelle Barry (Ashton) and David Jennings (Bandon) took the young player of the year gongs after starring at international, interpro and club level.
Bandon Grammar’s boys and Crescent’s girls helped earn their schools the top gongs in those categories – both schools claimed senior A and junior A league and cup doubles this term. Tipperary’s Nuala O’Sullivan was a popular winner of the volunteer of the year for her efforts at every level of her club from senior to underage.
Munster Hockey Awards 2014
Coach of the Year: Melvin Beamish (Clonakilty); Volunteer of the Year: Nuala O’Sullivan (Tipperary); Senior Female Player of the Year: Yvonne O’Byrne (Cork Harlequins); Senior Male Player of the Year: Billy Lynch (Cork C of I); Young Female Player of the Year: Michelle Barry (Ashton); Young Male Player of the Year: David Jennings (Bandon); Club of the Year: Cork Harlequins; Developing Club of the Year: Cashel/New Inn; Boys School of the Year: Bandon Grammar; Girls School of the Year: Crescent Comprehensive; Team of the Year: Limerick HC Men’s 1sts; Special Merit Awards: Cork C of I LHC 1sts, Reg Treacy, Clonakilty HC.