The RTÉ Sport Awards take place next Saturday night, and who will win Sportsperson of the Year is anyone’s guess.
The sheer strength-in-depth of the 23 person ‘longlist’ released last week showcased just how great a year 2018 was for Irish sport across many codes.
That list has since been shortened to 13, with the likes of boxer TJ Doheny, athlete Phil Healy, Dundalk forawrd Patrick Hoban and Cork camogie’s Chloe Sigerson omitted from the final shortlist.
Many of the remaining contenders have a valid claim to winning the award that is currently held by James McClean. Michael Conlan and Conor McGregor have also gotten the nod in previous years.
The final list is headlined by the likes of boxing great Katie Taylor, who has won three title fights this year, Johnny Sexton, who has been pivotal to Ireland and Leinster’s stunning success in rugby, and Dublin footballer Brian Fenton, the All Stars Footballer of the Year.
There’s a strong athletics contingent given the raft of medals won across different disciplines, with Ellen Keane, Jason Smyth and Rhys McClenaghan making the cut. The women’s hockey team are represented by heroic goalie Ayeisha McFerran, who steered the Green Army to the runner-up spot in the World Cup.
The final shortlist can be seen below, the judging panel here, and the show itself takes place on Saturday the 15th at 9.20 pm.
Sinéad Aherne — Dublin Ladies captain
Thomas Barr — Athletics
Brian Fenton — Dublin footballer
Kellie Harrington — Boxing
Ellen Keane — Para-Swimming
Cian Lynch — Limerick hurler
Rhys McClenaghan — Gymnastics
Ayeisha McFerran — Hockey
Sanita Puspure — Rowing
Davy Russell — Jockey
Johnny Sexton — Rugby
Jason Smyth — Para-Athletics
Katie Taylor — Boxing