Trinity recognises student athletes at Clontarf Castle

Ireland rugby international Michael Silvester won Sportsperson of the Year

Photo by Ciaran Sunderland

Trinity Sport awarded Sportsperson of the Year to Michael Silvester at an awards ceremony in Clontarf Castle on Tuesday night. The annual event celebrates the achievements and volunteers of Trinity Sport. The black-tie event was held off campus for the first time this year. Silvester’s performances with Dublin University Football Club (DUFC) were given special mention, and speaking on the evening Silvester said: “It’s a great achievement…just the level of the other nominees is just incredible, and obviously it wouldn’t be possible without the team or my coaches because obviously rugby is a team sport so just delighted really”.

Caoimhe Dempsey from the Ladies team with Dublin University Boat Club (DUBC), Fionn O’Riain Broin from Trinity GAA Hurling and James Woods from Dublin Association Football Club (DUAFC) were also nominated for Sportsperson of the Year.

Taking place after a dinner and drinks reception, the Bank of Ireland sponsored awards featured a wide variety of Trinity’s Sports clubs including Dublin University Harriers and Athletics Club (DUHAC) and Dublin University Rifle Club (DURC). Two new awards, Alum of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, were added to the ceremony.

Opening the awards with a joke, Michelle Tanner, Head of Sport said: “Congratulations to you all for your achievements, you’re all winners, for Trinners!” Tanner emphasised the importance sport can play in a person’s life and thanked her colleagues for their work throughout the year. Summarising the ethos that sport can help foster in athletes and students in their careers and sporting lives, Tanner emphasised that it is how a person can come back from defeat or disappointment that leads to improvement, “It is how we pick ourselves up that makes us stronger.” She also referenced the growth in popularity of the awards and how Trinity Sport have, “listened to the students”, and student sport representatives, and held the awards off campus as desired.

Bank of Ireland Director Colm Kingston thanked Trinity sport for the invitation to share in the  “family experience” of the awards and encouraged Trinity’s athletes to continue their sporting careers and to not “let their talents go to waste”.

Róisín Harbison, Vice Chair of Dublin University Central Athletics Club (DUCAC), then welcomed a parade of trophies to the ceremony by DUAFC’s Men and Ladies’ Soccer teams, Dublin University Squash Racquets Club (DUSRC), Dublin University Trampoline Club (DUTC), Trinity GAA -Hurling, Trinity Basketball and Trinity College Dublin Volleyball (TCDV). Dublin University (DU) Snowsports, DUBC Men and Ladies teams also presented their season’s silverware, while DUFC’s men and women’s rugby teams, along with DUHAC completed the procession .

Last year’s MC Evanne Ní Chuilinn, RTE sports presenter, hosted the event and the night featured Ireland Rugby Internationals Rob Kearney and Robbie Henshaw as special guests. A Q & A session took place after the procession with Kearney and Henshaw fielding a number of questions. Questions focused on Leinster’s excellent season and the approaching Pro-14 final.

Leinster’s recent trophy win, the European Champions Cup and the upcoming Ireland rugby tour in Australia was also broached. The struggles professional athletes face with injury was also raised and both players highlighted remaining involved with teammates and said, “not shutting yourself away”, was  important for a successful recovery. The players experiences playing under Joe Schmidt was discussed with the Leinster duo praising Schmidt’s, “process driven”, approach to the game. Kearney reflected on the importance of Schmidt for his career, “I’ve won the most amount of silverware under him”, and also his support in the previous years, “he’s backed me a lot the last few years”.

Trinity Sport also unveiled two new Sports Ambassadors at the ceremony, Ailish Eagan, Trinity Graduate and Irish rugby player, and Sinéad Lynch, Trinity Graduate and Irish rower. Both ambassador’s roles will be to “enhance the profile” of Trinity Sport and it’s athletes. Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Chief Financial Officer Ian Mathews presented the ambassadors their new blazers for the role. MC Evanne Ní Chuilinn  praised the selection of two former female Trinity athletes for the position: “I’m delighted to say their both women.”

After the ceremony procession and Q & A with the Leinster rugby stars, the awards were distributed. A number of individuals were singled out for their special contributions to Trinity Sport through the years. Dr Colm Flynn for Dublin University Fencing Club (DUFC) received special recognition for his 10 year involvement with DUFC. Flynn fenced for DUFC as a student, and also internationally, and is now a highly valued coach with DUFC.

Team of the Year was awarded to Boat Club Senior 8 while DUAFC U20’s, Netball and DUAFC Freshers were also nominated.  Performance of the Year was awarded to Siobhán Scarlett for DU Rifle Club. DUHAC won Club of the year with Ladies Boat Club, DU Rifle, Men’s Golf, and DUAFC nominated. The ability of Trinity’s athletes to achieve their results was also accredited to Trinity sporting staff and coaches who were also recognised with the Coach of the year award and Shane O’Brien of Trinity GAA hurling won Coach of the Year. 

Awards were not just limited to the playing and training fields. Ladies cricketer Sorcha O’Carolan Murphy won Club Administrator of the Year and Trinity GAA won an award for best Social Media Campaign of the Year. Of the new awards, Alum of the Year was earned by  Laura Brennan of DUHAC while Mar Aguilar Lopez was awarded Volunteer of the Year.

18 students were also awarded Pinks, a renowned sporting award for distinguished individual performances. Presented by Dublin University Central Athletics Club (DUCAC), Pinks are the top award given by Trinity to individual athletes. Male athletes received pink ties while female athletes were awarded pink scarves.

Men’s ties were not all available for the ceremony due to an administrative supplier error so each tie had to be returned by the recipient for each new student athlete to receive. The rugby player Seb Fromm who was called up for the German national team last year drew particular applause from the crowd. The failure of the Captain’s committee to meet quorum twice this year was also highlighted. One of the main duties of the Captain’s committee is the selection of Trinity Athletes to receive Pinks.

Harbison brought the ceremony to a close. Thanking Trinity Sport and praising student athletes for their participation, she developed the theme of striving for your personal best and reaching your potential as a student athlete. Harbison thanked Evan Ní Chuilinn for hosting the event, the Trinity ground staff, Bank of Ireland for their funding contributions and Trinity College  for their support.

Additional reporting by Alice Whelan