Sophie Walker receiving the Athlete of the Year award from Ann Fagan, Newport AC, with Joanne Berry, Newport AC, at the Annual Awards Ceremony at the Freigh Inn, Newport.

Sophie is ‘Athlete of the Year’

Awards ceremony for Newport Athletic Club

A multi-talented athlete who has excelled at county, Munster, national and international level over the past year has been honoured with her club Athlete of the Year Award for 2023.

The award of distinction was presented to Sophie Walker at the Annual Awards of Newport Athletic Club at the Freigh Inn, Newport, in recognition of her exceptional achievements during the past year.

Speaking at the awards, Ann Fagan, Newport Athletic Club, said that the purpose of the evening was to honour and congratulate all of our fantastic athletes in their hard work and dedication throughout 2023.

Presenting the Athlete of the Year award to Sophie Walker she said: “Newport AC are extremely proud of this young lady's achievements.”

Sophie was described as “an incredible hard working, determined and talented under 17 years athlete”.

Her citation read: “This athlete has had her most successful year to date and racked up an impressive collection of medals and achievements. The indoor season saw her on the national podium, where she came third in triple jump.

“She travelled to Scotland to compete in the Scottish nationals, where she also got joint third in triple jump. In the outdoor season she was the anchor leg of the school 4x100m relay team that qualified for the nationals and she was selected for the Munster schools team to compete in the Tailteann Games.”

At the national outdoors she won silver and added further success on the Tipperary relay team and has further engaged in promoting the interest in athletics in her writings and her contribution to training younger athletes.

The Track, Field and Cross Country Athlete of 2023 award went to Leah Berry, whose mother Joanne had the honour of presenting the award to her.

During the season she won 11 county gold medals in sprinting, middle distance, high jump and cross country, adding four Munster medals in 600m, 200m, spring and cross country relay, three North Munster B medals and qualified for three national finals among her achievements.

The Best New Athlete Awards were presented to Fionn Griffin, Kenneth Blower and Ben Kelly, each of whom made a big impact during the season.

The Future Star Awards went to Cate O'Brien, who dominated in 600m, winning four county titles and unbeaten in Tipperary in 2023, adding further honours at Munster and national level; Aaron Savage, who had a phenomenal season winning 13 county medals and qualified for three national finals, and George O'Brien, who excelled in several events, winning an impressive 15 county medals, as well as honours at Munster level and qualifying for two national events.