Kildare’s sporting heroes honoured

Lilywhite legend Johnny Doyle
This year’s finalists in the REHAB Co Kildare People of the Year Award feature a very diverse selection of sporting personalities.

This year’s finalists in the REHAB Co Kildare People of the Year Award feature a very diverse selection of sporting personalities.

“We have everything from fly-fishing champions to pigeon racers and power lifters” said REHAB co-ordinator and MC Matt Browne.

Johnny Doyle, whose outstanding performances for Allenwood GFC and the Lilywhites make him a household name leads the sporting posse.

Doyle’s GAA pedigree is impeccable – a Leinster SFC and NFL title with his county, All Star and GPA Award in 2010, not to mention a senior county title and three Leinster Leader Cups with his club – only Sam Maguire has eluded him!”

Finalists include Tom McDermott, a superb boxer in his day and now Head Coach at Ryston Boxing Club. He has seen the Newbridge club recognised as national Club of the Year in 2008, 2010, and 2011-2013 with over 80 titles secured in recent years.

Tom was selected as Leinster Coach and he has travelled with the team to Canada and international venues. The club has also competed in Wales and Bad Lippspringe, Germany which is twinned with Newbridge Town.

Paddy Phelan, formerly a trainer at Ryston, opened St Brigid’s BC in 2010 and the club caters for 150-160 boxers. Paddy’s family is ‘boxing mad’: eldest son, Alan is a professional boxer in the USA; daughter Katelynn is a national champion (twice) and wife Martina is a coach with the club. Son Darren is also a club coach whilst eldest daughter Lisa Marie is a club volunteer. But Paddy is also a European and World power lifting champion andco-founder of Kildare Racing Pigeons Club.

Fly fishing duo Julie Geery and Jennifer Casey were jubilant earlier this year when the Irish Ladies Fly Fishing Team won gold at an international competition between Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland, the second time only for the Irish side to win gold since 1990. Julie has been a dedicated committee and team member since 2000 and is currently International President – the highest honour.

But Julie holds another distinction: she won the World Cup in Fly Fishing – a competition open to men and women – and she beat them all in 2004, the only woman ever to achieve this feat.

Team member Jennifer Casey had plenty to celebrate this year; not only did she wear the Green blazer and scoop gold at international level, but she achieved a Double Hons Degree in History and Geography from Nui Maynooth.

Other REHAB finalists include Dave Henshaw of Athy; despite suffering some serious health setbacks, the lively pensioner is likely to be found deep sea diving, abseiling or paragliding. Town Commissioner Teresa Byrne of Leixlip has completed 26 mile marathons to raise funds for Childline, ARCH, Heart Foundation, LYPG and was also involved in special needs events planned through town twinning.

Maureen Abbott of Celbridge has similarly participated in fundraising walks in Nova Scotia and in Florida, US; she climbed Lough na Quilla along with six mini marathons in aid of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.

Stan Hickey of Naas was nominated for his incredible contribution to the Moat Club, Naas Historical Society and Naas Scouts whilst Evelyn Moyles Sheehy is recognised for her work with Brownstown Irish Federation Dance Class (IFDC) Evelyn’s sister Kate was tragically killed in a motor accident during heavy fog onthe N7 in 2007 and thereafter, the family set up the Kate Moyles Foundation in her memory. The foundation has contributed €110,000 to St Anne’s Burn Unit in Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin but this is only a fraction of the charity work the young mother of two has carried out during the past two decades. Michael Reade of the Patsy Furlong Foundation in Kildare Town will receive the International Award for his work in Ilesa, Nigeria.

Sponsored by Kildare County Council , the REHAB Co Kildare awards ceremony will take place in the Keadeen Hotel on Friday, November 1; for enquiries, contact Matt Browne on 087 265 4582.