Two local sporting heroes John Forde (Badminton) and John Paul O’Connell (Minor Hurling) were honoured on Friday 21st January at the 35th Co. Galway Sports Stars award banquet in the Ardilaun House Hotel, Galway.
John Forde received the overall award for Racquet Sports and it is great to see John getting local recognition in a sport where it has been necessary for him to travel constantly, in order to train and compete at the level which John has achieved.
John is a multiple winner at both County and Provincial level in the past. He won his first All Ireland Title in the U12 Singles Championships many years ago. He achieved a notable International breakthrough last year when filling a starring role in Ireland’s team success in a quadrangular tournament involving Wales, Scotland and England. John won all of his doubles matches and two of his three singles. He is now on the Irish U19 squad as well as training with the Irish Seniors. He also captured the Irish U17 Doubles title last year. Certainly John has had a remarkably successful career to date, and we wish him all the very best in the future.
John Paul O’Connell
John Paul from Cloonbiggeen, was a member of the successful Galway All-Ireland Minor winning team of 1999 and now that same team is to receive the accolade of Team of the Year award at a Sports Star banquet to be held at the Sacre Coeur Hotel, Salthill. The Minor team had impressive wins over Calre, Kilkenny and Tipperary in the final at Croke Park last September.
John Paul plays his club hurling with Carnmore at Minor, Under 21 and Senior level. He is still eligible to play at Minor level for the coming season, so lets all hope for further success for this talented young lad.
Other local prominent sportsmen deserve mention for high achievement during the past year:
Declan won an All Ireland medal with the Galway Intermediate Team who defeated Kilkenny in their first ever All Ireland victory at this level last season. Declan’s role at centre field was instrumental in winning the All Ireland final with superb fielding of the ball to set up the inside line for scores. He is currently a member of the Galway Senior team and plays his club hurling with Carnmore. We wish him a long and happy career with a sport which he excels at both at senior level and at juvenile where he has helped our young hurlers aspire to the heights he has achieved.
Another local sportsman who must be congratulated on his achievement last year is John Horgan. He was named as the Player of the Year, with the Club he has been a member of for many years now, Salthill Devon. Well done John.