With over 3,000 posts, 8,000 tweets, over 5,000 followers on twitter and 3,000 on facebook, it has been a fantastic first year and a very busy one for sportswomen.ie. The website went live on the 5th January 2015 and it has taken over my life really. I have the children brainwashed about women’s sport, the house has deteriorated drastically and I get “Mum you need to do a shop” on a regular basis !
sportswomen.ie is a great body of work and chronicles Irish women’s sport for 2015. There were many highlights for me but I believe Clare Balding’s visit to Croke Park was a tipping point for women’s sport in Ireland. Her no nonsense attitude and her immediate demand for coverage did not fall upon deaf ears. RTE have improved their coverage, particularly on radio and women’s sport is now becoming a regular feature on the national airwaves. The Irish Times currently have a two page spread every Thursday dedicated to women’s sport. While we are still a long way off, it is all moving in the right direction.
To all the writers, partners, supporters, contributors and sponsors to the Website from the bottom of my heart Thank You. It has been a labour of love on my part but the support and help I have received has been awesome !!!!
For two weeks I am going to take a break, from sportswomen.ie to come back refreshed and rejuvenated for 2016.
Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year to you and your families.
Yours In Sport
Here are the highlights of 2015, month by month
Basketball National Cup Semi finals and finals. http://www.sportswomen.ie/team-montenotte-victorious/
Annalise Murphy half line basket in Neptune Stadium. http://www.sportswomen.ie/glory-glory-glory-annalise-murphy-basketball-sensation-watch-2/
Getting to know Leah Maunsell http://www.sportswomen.ie/leah-maunsell-15-cross-cyclist/
WGPA Launch in Dublin. http://www.sportswomen.ie/tell-stories-wgpa-launched-today/
Amy Bowtell’s win in Sunderland. http://www.sportswomen.ie/glory-glory-bowtell-amy-wins-sunderland/
Stephanie Roche’s nomination for the Puskas Award. http://www.sportswomen.ie/last-chance/
Breifne cycled the world to help raise awareness of depression and was our first to feature in #TMT, Token Male Tuesday. http://www.sportswomen.ie/breifne-cycles-world/
I learnt all about the Modern Pentathlon and was one of Natalya Colye’s and Arthur Lannigan O’Keefe’s most avid supporters for their World Cup#1 Silver Medal http://www.sportswomen.ie/pentathlon-glory-florida-2/
I met Shiofra Ryan who is the creator of An Tionchar, the new camogie/hurling boot http://www.sportswomen.ie/tionchar-new-boot/
I made my radio debut on RedFM talking with Dave Mac about women’s sport in the media, my number one topic http://www.sportswomen.ie/interview-sportswomen-ie-red-fm/
The Ashbourne Cup was in it’s 100th year and WIT came out Champs. http://www.sportswomen.ie/ashbourne-cup-final-goals/
This article created quite a stir on twitter and on facebook, It even made the Minister for Equality, Aodhan O’Riordain TD take note of the situation. http://www.sportswomen.ie/media-coverage-making-blood-boil/
Waterford woman Kelly Proper celebrated her 19th national indoor title http://www.sportswomen.ie/two-pbs-proper-national-titles-climbs-19/
Cork’s Lizzie Lee came second in a world record half marathon race http://www.sportswomen.ie/womens-half-marathon-record-broken-lizzie-lee-second/
For all you golfers, there was a huge historic moment in women’s golf when the R&A invited their first female members to join http://www.sportswomen.ie/historic-day-ra/
One of our most popular articles “Come on Mammy” encouraged all to Try a Triathlon http://www.sportswomen.ie/try-triathlon-year/
Limerick swimmer Fiona Doyle broke three Irish records in Canada http://www.sportswomen.ie/doyle-3-golds-3-records/
And then to cap it all Ireland beat England http://www.sportswomen.ie/ireland-beat-england-but-have-much-to-work-on/
March was the “month of the blog”. With new writers such as Monika Dukarska (Rower), Caradh O’Donovan (Kickboxer), Niamh Dorgan (Working Mom), Kathryn Cassidy (Kendo), Kate Coleman Lenehan (Modern Pentathlete), Miss Leah McCourt (MMA), Amy Fitzpatrick (Wheelchair Rugby) and Claire Fastner who has joined the ranks of Feature Writer, the features section has grown.
One of the highlights for me was talking to Diane Behan who competed in The Race, a gruelling adventure race of 250km but the catch was to finish it in 24 hours.
I attended a Sports Ability Seminar which blew me away with the calibre of speakers and their inspiring stories.
My first marathon, by Niamh Dorgan was one of our biggest reads in March.
Cavan Football Team have been very supportive to sportswomen.ie, any article featuring Cavan in any shape or form is widely read and they produced the Dizzy Challenge which gives us an idea of the team spirit that Cavan has.
We continued our love for the Modern Pentathlon with Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lannigan O’Keeffe winning their second silver medal this year at the World Cup #2 in Cairo.
The Irish Examiner O’Connor Cup was won by University of Limerick (UL) defeating DCU in the final.
Wexford Youths were crowned Continental Tyres Women’s Football League Champions.
Team Montenotte made it the double winning the Basketball Premier League Final.
Chloe and Sam Magee broke into the top 25 in the world in the badminton mixed pairings.
Kathryn Thomas featured sporswomen.ie in her weekly page in the Irish Daily Star.
To finish off March, Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal won bronze at the UCI World Track para-cycling World Championships.
We met some new sportswomen in April such as motor racing Jennifer Mullan and Caoimhe O’Ferrall and her dream of Olympic glory in kayaking. Our Row to Rio star, Monika Dukarska and her rowing partner Leonora, won gold in Italy.
We had a great response to a piece written by Sorcha Fox on Tipperary footballer Jen Grant.
It was a good month for our golfers with Stephanie Meadow doing well in the ASA International. Leona Maguire was blazing a trail on the College Golf circuit in the US and on home soil Olivia Mehaffey won both the Irish Schoolgirls open and Scottish Open back to back.
Camogie had a changing of the guard with the stepping down of Camogie President Aileen Lawlor.
While our tennis stars are few and far between in Ireland, Jenny Claffey emerged on the tour with a few wins under her belt, and an ITF title.
One of Ireland’s greatest athletes Madeline Perry played her last game on the women’s pro tour, winning the Irish Open.
Natalya Coyle went from strength to strength on the World Cup circuit with an eleventh place finish in Rome. We learnt something about what athletes and particularly their supporters do to help our top athletes compete on the world stage with a great story about Conor Hillick and his support of modern pentathlete, Kate Coleman Lenehan.
Katie Walsh won the Irish Grand National aboard Thunder and Roses trained by Sandra Hughes.
Reanne Evans made history when she became the first woman to compete in the qualifying rounds for the World Championships. She fell at the first hurdle when she met Ken Doherty, who narrowly beat her. Watching this match we were strangely conflicted as we wanted Ken the Irish man to win against Reanne the English woman. National pride beat gender loyalty.
Leah McCourt won gold in the blue belt section of the NO Gi Jujitsu European Championships.
sportswomen.ie had the opportunity to attend the Women in Media weekend in Ballybunion. With the likes of Miriam O’Callaghan, Moya Doherty, Norah Casey, Mary Harney and Olivia O’Leary in attendance it was a great opportunity to hear about the struggles and realities for women in the media, for sure a work in progress.
Proud sponsors of Irish Women’s Soccer, Continental Tyres came on board and sponsored our soccer page.
Our number one highlight for April was the Ireland’s U17’s qualifing for the UEFA European Championships in Iceland. The qualification tournament was in Cork and some great attendances at Cork City FC pitch ensured for exciting matches. Beating England 2-0 and drawing with Holland and Hungary we all had a nervous wait to see would the team qualify.
The Tesco National Football Leagues came to their conclusions, along with the Irish Daily Star Camogie League Finals. It was with regret that Cork’s Anna Geary announced her retirement from camogie and there was a great tribute to camogie goalkeeper Kathleen ‘Cos’ O’Leary.
The big news in May was the announcement of the Women’s World Cup being held in Ireland in 2017. Cavan woman, Leona Maguire, was announced as the No.1 amateur golfer in the world along with winning the ANNIKA award. Olivia Mehaffey made it three in a row, winning the Welsh Open Strokeplay.
Christina McMahon became Interim World Boxing Champion of the World.
We are always interested in the up and coming, one such person was Emma Buckley, U18 hockey goalkeeper who told us her story so far.
Ireland won bronze at the European Team Championships in squash.The Irish hockey team celebrated 100th caps for Lizzie Colvin and Anna O’Flanagan during their North American tour as they prepared for the World League 3 in Valencia in June.
Aileen Reid continued to perform in the World Triathlon Series, with a 6th place finish in Japan, ranking her 7th in the world.
sportswomen.ie reached the finals in the Sockie Social Media Awards 2015 for the best use of Instagram.
Aoife McDermott wrote about the Women’s Premier Select playing in Luxembourg and the great need to get Ireland back on the map in International Basketball.
Jenny Egan won bronze at the European Canoe Sprint Championships.
Jenny Claffey told us her story as she takes on the pro circuit with the help of Jake Nalepa who was one of our Token Male Tuesdays. With World Cup Fever in the air, Michelle Ackers, US Soccer legend found her passion in life after soccer and Irish Soccer Player Louise Quinn gave us her thoughts on the World Cup in Canada.
Transition year students from Dublin told us about their project You’re Good for a Girl. We were so impressed with their project, sportswomen.ie created a YG4AG category of it’s own.
Here is a great video of Asisat Oshoala who won BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year.
June was the month of some major sporting events, the European Games in Baku, the start of FIFA Women’s World Cup and the hockey World League 3 in Valencia.
The Aisling McGing U21 Football Championship came to it’s conclusion with Dublin winning the A Championship and Donegal winning the B Championship. The Liberty Insurance Camogie Championship kicked off and the WGPA showed us some of the great work they are doing behind the scenes.
The European Games gave many Irish athletes an opportunity to compete in an Olympic type event for the first time. Katie Taylor won gold in the ring, Chloe Magee won a bronze medal with her brother Sam in the badminton mixed doubles, the swimmers had some fantastic results and the women’s basketball 3×3 team grew in strength with each game. Jenny Egan had a great performance in the canoeing just finishing outside the medals in Baku.
It was 20 years since Sonia O’Sullivan’s historic victory in the 5,000 metres at the IAAF World Championships in Gothenburg in 1995. To commemorate her achievement there was the Sonia 5K in Dun Laoighre.
On a personal note I made the list of the 50 most influential women in Irish sport, a list compiled by Sport for Business and Queen B Athletics did a lovely article on yours truly. I also had the excitement of meeting Sonia O’Sullivan and sitting beside John Treacy at the #supporthersport launch while listening to Clare Balding speaking about women in sport (in my element !)
— FIH (@FIH_Hockey) June 10, 2015
The Hockey World League 3 had the highs and the lows that come with every sport. The Irish hockey team missed out on qualification for Rio. Ireland’s professional 7s rugby team got their Olympic Qualification campaign underway.
Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal won bronze at the UCI paracycling Road World Cup in Italy. It was another silver for Modern Pentathlon pair Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe in the mixed relay in Belarus. This result brought them to number one ranking in the world.
One to watch is Candace Hill who broke 11 seconds for the 100m, the first high school girl in the US to do so.
July was a busy month with provincial finals in gaelic football, the Camogie Association found itself in troubled waters with the “Toss of a coin” debacle between Clare and Dublin, the Special Olympians headed to the US, winning all round them and giving the country immense pride and joy of their achievements.
The Women’s Soccer World Cup came to it’s conclusion with record viewership numbers and USA coming out on top.
The Senior Irish Hockey team picked themselves up from the disappointment of Valencia and won the Eurohockey II Championships, promoting themselves to the top league in Europe. Their U18 counterparts did the same becoming European Champions in their league.
Leona Maguire continued her winning ways coming second in the European Masters. sportswomen.ie had the pleasure of meeting both Leona and Lisa Maguire at the AIG Splash Event , along with tennis player Jenny Claffey, Dublin’s Sinead McGoldrick and Ali Twomey. Laura Davies was inducted into the World Golf hall of Fame.
Aisling Reilly became World Handball Champion.
New sports to the website in August were Ultimate Frisbee and the Irish Lacrosse team performed very well at the European Championships.
Kerry’s Josie Knight had a 4th place finish at the Junior World Cycling Track Championships.
The World Athletic Championships got under way in Beijing and Kerry O’Flaherty gave us her account on life at the Championships.
The Continental Tyres Women’s National Soccer League was launched at FAI headquarters with a great day for all the players that gathered on the day.
Ireland achieved their highest placing in the FIBA U16 European Championships.
The World Rowing Championships got underway in France with Olympic places up for grabs.
Cork did the double winning the camogie and football All Ireland Senior Championships. Waterford won the double in the Intermediate and Laois won the Premier Junior in Camogie while Louth took no prisoners in the Junior Football Final. The TG4 All Ireland Senior Football final also drew a crowd of over 31,000 making it the largest attended women’s sports event in Europe this year.
The World Rowing Championships came to their conclusion with Irish Rowers Claire Lambe and Sinead Jennings qualifying their boat for Rio. The Munster Rugby team won the Interprovincial series and Ras na mBan took to the roadways of Ireland with fantastic photos of the event sent our way.
Aileen Reid continued to show her form at the World Series Grand Final coming 9th and staying in the top 10 in the world. Ireland’s U19 Soccer team qualified for the Elite phase of the European Championship Qualifiers. Ireland’s gymnasts won medals at the Northern European Championshipsin Limerick.
There were some great features with a terrific article from Ellen McEvoy on 20 minutes of PE. Reaction of this piece led to an article from Brid Dunne who wrote a letter to her 15 year old self. Kerry O’Flaherty told us all about her World Championships in Beijing and meeting up with Bolt.
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) September 4, 2015
While Serena Williams didn’t win the US Open check out this great video of her rise to glory. Rosaleen McKweon shared her running story with sportswomen.ie and an inspiring story came from parathlete Frances Bateman. Aine Donegan one of Ireland’s inform triathletes also told us her story.
Jenny Egan came 4th in the World Marathon Championships in canoeing. Olivia Mehaffey was Ireland’s only player on the Junior Solheim Cup Team while her senior counterparts battled it out against the US in the Solheim Cup in Germany. Staying with golf the AIG Cups and Shields Finals threw up some great results bringing clubs from all over the country to Knightsbrook Golf Club.
Sonia O’Sullivan received a great welcome in her hometown of Cobh with the unveiling of a new statue to the legend and a 5K run to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her win at the World Championships. Jennifer Mullan secured the 2015 Pre-87 All Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Crown in Mondello Park and Lizzie Lee smashed the marathon Olympic qualifying time in Berlin.
It was announced that Ireland will host the Eurohockey U18 girls and boys tournaments next Summer, which will be played in Cork.
The Helly Hansen “On the Horizon” blog from sportswomen.ie was shortlisted for the Best Blog Post at the Blog Awards Ireland 2015 along with making the semi final list of the Digital Marketing Awards 2015.
The European Masters Games brought many medals for Irish swimmers. Kickboxer Caradh O’ Donovan picked up silver in Belgium. The club, Dublin Archers won bronze at the European Club Team Championships. Leona Maguire received the ANNIKA award along with winning her fourth collegiate title. Five Irish female athletes competed at the Ironman World Championships all completing the course and Fionnuala McCormack ran well within the Marathon Olympic qualifying time in Chicago.
Many clubs around the country benefitted from the Sports Capital Grant Scheme. A feature on KidsMarathon was very popular with our readers and a great weekend was had by all who took part in the Killarney Adventure Race.
Cork legend, Donie Walsh, spoke to Niamh Dorgan and told us some of his secrets to good running.
Sasha DiGiulian sent shivers down our spines as we watched her climb the Eiger.
The Irish Cycling team were beating records at the European Track Championships in Grenchen.
The Republic of Ireland U17s topped their group to qualify for the elite phase of the UEFA European Championships.
Ireland’s most capped hockey goalkeeper, Emma Gray, retired from international duty having played 118 times for Ireland. While we are all about the women we have to mention the men’s hockey team who qualified for the Olympics.
Basketball Ireland announced the return of the Irish Basketball team to the international stage.
We heard more from Project Fun Direction and their meeting up with a similar project from Germany.
Niamh McCarthy won Ireland’s first medal at the IPC World Championships.
Ellis O’Reilly successfully qualified a place for Ireland to the next stage of 2016 Olympic Games qualification at the Rio Test Event in April 2016.
Shauna O’Brien from UCD Swimming Club broke three Irish records in Manchester.
The Maguires helped Duke win back to back tournaments at the Landfall Tradition tournament in Wilmington.
Maria McCambridge was forced to pull out of the Frankfurt Marathon after 24km. With three Irish athletes already achieving the Olympic qualifying time McCambridge will need to reassess her next move for qualification.
Ireland had their first win in their Euro 2017 qualifying campaign against Portugal.
Pauline Curley won the Dublin Marathon in 2:49:29 making her the oldest Champion in the 143 year history of the National Championships.
sportswomen.ie made the shorlist of the inaugral Sports Industry Awards 2015 in the category of Best Innovation in Sport.
There were medals galore at the IPC World Championships for Ireland’s parathletes.
sportswomen.ie attended the Women in Sport, Let’s Level the Playing Field,conference in Dublin Castle and had the opportunity to speak about the promotion of role models through the media. The conference was hosted by Minister for Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Minister for Sport Michael Ring, while the Tanaiste Joan Burton also attended.
Camogie announced the final nominees for their 12th All Star Awards.
Katie Taylor added the ANOC Award to her list of achievements.
Judy Reynolds set a new Irish record in dressage at the Reem Acra five-star World Cup qualifier in Lyon, France.
The Irish Track Cycling team competed at the World Cup in Cali, with a top ten finish in the Pursuit.
sportswomen.ie was awarded the CDMA Award for the best website with less than 10 employees and was also nominated for the best Innovation at the Irish Sports Industry awards. While sportswomen.ie did not win the award “Women in Sport” had centre stage on the night with Anna Geary, Fiona Coghlan and Sarah Keane.
Danielle Murphy claimed the Queen of Europe Champion Title in motorsport.Leona Maguire was presented with the Mark H. McCormack Medal as World No. 1 Amateur. What a year for her. Staying with golf, Shannon Burke, became Intervarsity Champion.
The Irish hockey team had mixed results in their three match series against Scotland.
History was made when Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup.
Relentless, a book about the Cork Ladies Football team by Mary White hit the shelves in time for Christmas.
There were some great features with an interview with rugby player Sophie Spence, before their Autumn international against England. Deirdre Murphy of Clare Camogie Fame spoke about her job as GAA development officer in UL and Jen Murphy, the artist behind the sportswomen 2016 calendar spoke candidly to sportswomen.ie about her love of art and sport.
Jennifer Mullan got an invite to join Ecurie Australie for the Phillip Island Classic.
Kate Butler wrote a very interesting piece on “The Game We Play: arts, sports and sexism in Ireland.”
CEO of Hockey Ireland, Mike Heskin announced that he was leaving to take up the role as Director of Sport in NUIG.
Swimmer, Fiona Doyle, was recognised as an Academic All Canadian, to cap off a good year for the Limerick woman. Golfer, Stephanie Meadow, also received an award, voted on by her peers, the Heather Farr Perseverance Award.
Squash legend, Madeline Perry, was honoured with a testimonial at the Fitzwilliam Tennis Club. Shauna O’Keeffe won her semi final in the Elite National Boxing Championships to set herself up with a fight against Katie Taylor for the National title.
The Premier Basketball League isn’t all one way traffic for Team Hotel Montenotte this year with Killester and DCU Mercy challenging for the title. Leona Maguire was nominated for the Irish Times Young Sportstar of the Year which she duly won in December.
A new sport to sportswomen.ie is kettle bell lifting. The World Kettle Bell Lifting Championships were held in Dublin. Mary Immaculate were crowned All Ireland Fresher Champions in the National Camogie Blitz while the Ashbourne Cup 2016 kicked off.
One of our regular bloggers, Niamh told us all about the unique experience of running the Lust for Life 5k run in Cork Airport. Irish woman Eleanor Dorran came third in the Antarctic Ice Marathon, running in -20 degree Celcius conditions.
Katie Taylor won her first National Title in the ring. Her previous 4 wins were all walk overs. Shauna O’Keeffe, her brave opponent, gave a fine account of herself with a final score of 40-36 across the board.
It was announced that the Irish Rugby team will take on Canada and England in Autumn 2016. The Irish Soccer team will play USA in January as part of their preparations for the Euro Qualifiers which continue in April.
Caitriona Jennings came 4th in the World 50km Championships.
The draw for the Liberty Insurance 2016 Camogie Championship was made.
Megan Connolly made the NSCAA All American first soccer team.
The Irish Short Course National Championships took place in Lisburn with records falling.
The domestic gaelic football year came to an end with wins for Dunboyne in the Junior All Ireland Club Championship, Milltown in the Intermediate All Ireland Club Final and Donaghmoyne in the Senior Club Final.
It was announced that Ireland will host the World Rugby 7s Olympic Repechage tournament, which will see 16 teams compete for the last remaining place for Rio 2016. Staying with rugby, Ireland’s tag rugby teams competed in the World Cup in Australia.
A very successful conference #LIKEaGIRL was held in England recently on the physical literacy of girls.
Judy Reynolds finished her year well as she climbed a further two places in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage rankings.
With all sports winding down for the Christmas period, it is awards season with the 11th Irish Times Sportswoman of the Year awards for 2015 was held in the Shelbourne Hotel last Friday afternoon where Briege Corkery and Rena Buckly shared the Irish Times Sportswoman of the year. Catherina McKiernan won the lifetime achievement award.
Sportswomen.ie held an online poll to see who our SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR was and after 7,500 votes the winner by 2 votes was Irish swimmer Fiona Doyle