• Sports Personality

Murtagh scoops the top award

Wednesday, 20th January, 2010 5:00pm

Story by Conall Collier
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Murtagh scoops the top award

Johnny Murtagh received the Meath Chronicle / Cusack Hotels 2009 Sports Personality-of-the-Year award from Meath Chronicle Editor Ken Davis and Marie Cusack of Cusack Hotel Group.

Bohermeen man Johnny Murtagh became the third recipient of the Meath Chronicle / Cusack Hotels Sports Personality-of-the-Year when he was announced as the winner by master of ceremonies Micheal O Muircheartaigh at Friday's invitation-only awards at Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim.

The well-attended function was packed with stars from a wide range of sports in the Royal County and apart from the overall award, there were nominees in contention in two other categories as well as the Hall of Fame.

Introduced this year for the first time, the 'youth' award proved to be very popular and generated a lot of interest in the lead-up to last Friday's function.

The three candidates were Kellie Allen (equestrian), Jack Lyons (motorsport) and Christopher Blaney (boxing) with the female shading her male counterparts on this occasion.

There was also the 'outstanding achievement' award and last year's winner, Noel Meade, was on hand to make the presentation which went to Longwood GAA club.

Murtagh was nominated as the monthly winner for June and joined the impressive list of other monthly nominees in the countdown to the Friday's announcement.

The Bohermeen showed some great5 form throughout the year which culminated in his first Irish flat jockeys' title in over a decade, but it was his displays during the summer that earned his monthly nomination.

Murtagh won the Irish Derby at The Curragh with the Aidan O'Brien-trained Fame and Glory and he was also the leading rider at Royal Ascot where he rode four winners.

The amazing Yeats won the Ascot Gold Cup for the Ballydoyle team and he was also successful with Spacious, Forgotten Voice and Mastercraftsman.

Fellow-jockeys Barry Geraghty and Declan McDonogh were also in the hunt for the overall title, but on this occasion the man from Bohermeen took the laurels.

"This is the second time I've won an award from the Meath Chronicle," Murtagh explained to O Muircheartaigh when he was interviewed about his career.

I was delighted to get one many years ago, it was for under-age boxing, and I'm just as thrilled to get this one, recognition for your achievements is very important, especially to young people.

"I'm very impressed by the calibre of the candidates for the youth awards, I think that's a great idea and what really impressed me was the level of determination that was evident from Jack Lyons, Kellie Allen and Christopher Blaney.

"It's very important that young people get involved in sport and stay involved, they have a lot of energy and it's up to the adults to get them interested in sport, it can be very positive.

"Not everyone will win, but the main thing is that whatever sport you are involved in, that you do your best, give it your best shot, that's what's important and you never know where it will lead," he added.

Murtagh has established a boxing club in Kildare town close to where he lives and launched it this week with the help of Barnard Dunne and Katie Taylor.

Explaining why he got involved, he said that he wanted to give something back to sport.

"I gave the matter a lot of thought before I started the club, boxing was good to me and there are a lot of youngsters around where I live, it's no different to anywhere else, and they need structured sport.

"Maybe we might be able to get Christopher Blaney to come over to Kildare at some stage in the future.

"I believe that with the right attitude you can achieve a lot, I'm one of the lucky ones, I suppose, I'm enjoying the success at the moment and I want to thank the Meath Chronicle and Cusack Hotels for this initiative, I'm delighted to win this award," he concluded.

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