The success of Team Ireland at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games was celebrated at a Gala Awards ceremony in Dublin on Friday (2 December) with double medal winning cyclists Eoghan Clifford and Katie-George Dunlevy claiming the Outstanding Male and Female Awards.
Teenager Noelle Lenihan, who won discus bronze in Brazil, was named the Young Paralympian of the Games with Niamh McCarthy awarded the Outstanding Games Debut Performance for her discus silver medal.
A further two team members were also honoured on the night. There was a rousing reception as double Paralympian swimmer James Scully was named the Outstanding Team Member (Athlete) of the Games. Renowned Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joe Conway received a similar reception when he was named as Outstanding Team Member (Non-Athlete).
A host of media awards were also presented with RTE TV Sport winning for Best TV Coverage and their colleagues in RTE Sport Online claiming Best Digital Coverage. John O’Sullivan of The Irish Times was awarded the Best Written Coverage for a host of outstanding pieces during his time at the Games. Oisín Langan of Newstalk Radio who also spent a fortnight in Rio took the Best Radio Coverage accolade.
In the weeks preceding Friday’s awards an online vote was held to select an Image of the Games. Diarmuid Greene’s standout image of the moment Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal won time trial gold was the runaway winner.
Three merit awards were also made on the night. Gary MacManus who was the Irish team attache at London Games was given the President’s Award for contribution to the Paralympic Movement. Six-time Paralympic medallist Angela Hendra MBE was conferred with the Irish Paralympic Order whilst double gold medallist from London 2012 handcyclist Mark Rohan was inducted into the Irish Paralympic Hall of Fame.
Just as the night was coming to a close Paralympic silver medallist Orla Barry received a welcome surprise when it was announced that she was to be presented with her upgraded silver medal from the 2015 World Championships in Doha. In June it was announced that the Cork discus thrower had been upgraded from bronze to silver following a doping violation by the original silver medallist Bulgaria’s Stela Eneva. Barry was called up on stage and Chef de Mission of the 2016 team and Denis Toomey presented her with her new medal.