October sportswoman of the year award for Aoife Clark

Michael Ring, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport; Aoife Clark; Kieran Mulvey, chairperson of the Irish Sports Council and Kevin OSullivan, editor of The Irish Times.
Naas rider Aoife Clark was honoured at The Irish Times / Irish Sports Council Sportswoman of the Year Awards at a gala ceremony at the Shelbourne Hotel last week.

Naas rider Aoife Clark was honoured at The Irish Times / Irish Sports Council Sportswoman of the Year Awards at a gala ceremony at the Shelbourne Hotel last week.

Clark, pictured right, was a finalist in the awards where she received her trophy as Sportswoman of the Month for October after a season in which she took silver at the World Breeding Federation of Sport Horses Championships in France, the best performance by an Irish rider in the event’s 25-year history.

Earlier in the season, she came eighth in the Badminton Horse Trials, and won a Three Star event at the Blenheim International Horse Trials, beating 84 of the world’s top riders.

She finished the year ranked number eleven in the world.

The captain of Ireland’s Grand Slam winning rugby team, Fiona Coghlan from Straffan, was named ‘Sportswoman of the Year 2013’ after a season in which the Irish won the Six Nations Championship for the first time.

The loose-head prop was presented with her award at a gala event in Dublin.

Coghlan was among 14 women who were in line for the award having each won The Irish Times / Irish Sports Council Sportswoman of the Month awards over the past year.

“Fiona’s win is a great boost for women’s rugby and participation in a game that up to a few years ago had to fight for any profile. I cast my mind back to a freezing and wet afternoon in Milan last March when the Irish team sealed the Grand Slam with as much bravery and resilience as you are likely to witness on a football pitch. Some of the players were close to hypothermia after the game, which just underlines the huge desire shown by Fiona and her team mates,” said Kevin O’Sullivan, the editor of The Irish Times.

The event at the Shelbourne Hotel, hosted by RTE’s Des Cahill,