Almost 270 members of the triathlon community gathered to celebrate the 2023 Triathlon Ireland Awards on Saturday evening at the Carlton Hotel in Dublin. Awards were collected, trophies were raised and old friends reconnected.
Opening the evening, Joanne Murphy of Tri Talking Sport welcomed all the guests, before Triathlon Ireland CEO Darren Coombes spoke to some of the standout moments of the year, and presented the Gratitude Award to Piranha Triathlon Club for hosting the Europe Triathlon Junior Cup Dublin 2023.
You can find out more about all medallists and podium finishers in the 2023 race season awards booklet:
Following the Age Group presentations, celebrations moved towards the special category award winners and the peoples choice awards.
THE CAROLINE KEARNEY AWARD
The Caroline Kearney award is presented for exceptional contribution to the sport of triathlon by a female athlete and is named in memory of high performance athlete Caroline Kearney, who was killed while training on her bike in 2005. The award is decided by a panel consisting of Triathlon Ireland’s President, CEO and Women’s Participation Lead.
Over the years a number of inspirational winners have had their name added to this trophy in Caroline’s memory, and 2023 is certainly no different. The recipient of the Caroline Kearney Award for 2022 is Aoife McGouran.
Aoife is an inspiring role model for young women in sports, her triathlon journey began at the age of 8, dividing her talents between Predator and Midlands Triathlon clubs. Currently studying at UCD, she plays a crucial role in their triathlon club. Despite a recent battle with REDs, Aoife bravely shared her story within the triathlon community. As a dedicated Age Group Athlete for Team Ireland, she exemplifies true determination and passion for the sport. Aoife is not only a modest athlete but also a valuable asset to the sport, contributing as a coach at Boost Training HUBs and was selected for the Student Coaching Academy.
CLUB COACH OF THE YEAR
Ciaran McGarrity from Down Triathlon Club was awarded Club Coach of the Year. Ciaran’s clubmates at Down Tri Club said it best in their submission:
“He is so engaging! His passion goes right through our club, from adult members all the way to juniors. When leading training he instills – an in it together mentality. Thanks to his dedication, passion and knowledge, we have improved and many of us have podiumed.”
TECHNICAL OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR
Robert Duggan is a highly valued member of the Technical Official programme and is constantly giving back to the Triathlon community. He is a long standing member of our technical committee, a mentor for shadow technical officials, a motorcycle official, and is always happy to provide advice and guidance to other TOs.
Robert has attended and represented Triathlon Ireland at six international events this year. These events included the Europe Junior Cup in Carole, our own Europe Junior Cup in Dublin, and just recently attended the Europe Triathlon Cup in Alanya.
Robert is also on his way to becoming a Level 2 National Technical Official for 2024. Upon receiving this qualification, he will become one of a handful of Technical Officials to have this qualification in the country.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Fergus Walsh of Pulse Triathlon Club has been involved with the club for many years. He is Head Junior Coach – coaching swim and strength and conditioning sessions, in addition to coaching adult swim and turbo. Fergus coaches inter club sessions with Leinster juniors and is involved in the organisation of Pulse races each year. He is also the lead coach with Pulse’s summer camp.
SPIRIT OF TRIATHLON
This award recognises those individuals who illustrate the principles of the positive spirit of the sport as displayed through acts of sportspersonship and leadership in multi-sport, with no difference to athletic ability.
Ethan Doherty was nominated for his commitment, both in performance and in uplifting those around him, he has immensely enriched the team culture. It’s athletes like Ethan who remind us that while individual feats are celebrated, it’s the combined effort that often writes the most memorable stories.
INTERNATIONAL AGE GROUP ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Was awarded to Vanessa Fenton. The Tri – Team Age Group Award seeks to recognise an individual athlete who has shown commitment, team spirit, outstanding performance or contribution during a World Triathlon or Europe Triathlon Event.
Vanessa has made a significant impact and served as a remarkable ambassador for Tri-Team Ireland over the past several years. She embarked on this journey in international age group competition in 2010, and has contributed significantly to the sport over the past 13 years across multiple European and World Triathlon events.
2023 has proven to be yet another outstanding chapter in Vanessa’s career, marked by her participation in four international competitions, where she clinched three podium finishes. These accolades encompass a 1st place triumph at the 2023 World Triathlon Aquathlon Championships in Ibiza, another 1st place victory at the 2023 Europe Triathlon Championships in Madrid, and a commendable 3rd place finish at the 2023 World Triathlon Age-Group Championships in Pontevedra.
JUNIOR ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Mathys Bocquet had a very successful year racing mainly in the junior category, whilst still a Youth Athlete.
At the Europe Triathlon Junior Cup in Caorle, Italy Mathys placed 34th and qualified for the World Junior Championships in Hamburg, Germany. At the World Junior Championships, Mathys placed 66th, after a terrible crash when he was well placed near the front of the race.
At the Europe Junior Championships in Balikesir, Turkey he placed 40th in the individual race and 12th in the Mixed Team Relay Team. Finally, at the Europe Triathlon Cup in Dublin Mathys placed 5th overall and was the first Irish male athlete home.
PARA TRIATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Chloe MacCoombe & guide Catherine Sands are an amazing team, and their season has been outstanding. They are extremely well positioned for qualification for the Paralympics in 2024.
They finished with a Para Triathlon World Ranking of 4th and a Paralympic Ranking of 5th. In the World Triathlon Para series in Montreal, Canada they placed 2nd, which was an exceptional achievement.
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR WINNER
Athlete of the Year Winner was awarded to Jonathan Oakey.
Jonathan had a great year racing this year and highlighted his impressive 18th at the World U23 Championships in Pontevedra, Spain in September. He was also selected for Ireland at the European Sprint and Mixed Team relay Championships, where he finished 38th in the elite men’s race, 22nd U23 and raced for the Elite MTR that finished 14th. Jonathan led the Junior U23 Irish Mixed Team relay at the World Championships in Hamburg where the team finished 16th in a very competitive race.
HALL OF FAME
The Triathlon Ireland Hall of Fame recognises people who have made exceptional contributions to the growth and popularity of our sport and those who have put Ireland on the global triathlon map.
The Hall of Fame was introduced in 2017 and new inductees are added each year at the Triathlon Ireland Awards.
This year Triathlon Ireland are very proud to induct Loughrea man, Maurice Mullins into the Hall of Fame. Maurice was the man behind organising the first triathlon in Ireland in Skerries in 1983. The 2023 Skerries and Loughrea Triathlons invited the extended Mullin’s family to race on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Maurice’s legacy to our sport.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD
Carolyn Hayes has been an outstanding athlete and ambassador for triathlon in Ireland, over a 9 year international career, culminating in racing for Team Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. A truly meteoric rise in international triathlon racing at the highest level.
Carolyn has raced with a steely determination, a single minded focus and held herself accountable to the very highest standards in her training and racing. She was a fierce competitor, whilst making the sacrifices to be the best, race at the highest level and qualify for the Olympics. As a racer Carolyn showcased her talent, character and the resilience to succeed and courageous racing at the big pressured races.
Carolyn has competed for Ireland with distinction and continues to be a great role model for triathlon. She has offered her expertise as an athlete representative and raced and supported the development of the Mixed Team Relay.
RACE OF THE YEAR
Loughrea Triathlon was awarded the Race of the Year.
Loughrea Triathlon is a festival of Triathlon as it is programmed to include children, youth, junior and adults in one event. This promotes family involvement with many parents and their children competing in unison. The club has consistently delivered race events that promote the sport of triathlon.
The club is responsive to participants and revamped the field of play to reflect their wishes. The new field of play garnered very positive feedback and is reflective of the club’s effort to deliver positively for triathlon in Ireland.
This year’s race celebrated 40 years of Triathlon in Ireland. Maurice Mullins, a Loughrea native and our 2023 Hall of Fame inductee was behind organising the first triathlon in Ireland in Skerries 1983. The Loughrea Triathlon Festival invited the extended Mullin’s family to race in Loughrea on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Maurice’s legacy to our sport. This initiative of the club is an example of its commitment to promoting triathlon in a positive light.
CLUB OF THE YEAR
Down Triathlon Club was awarded Club of the Year. Some of the nominations say it best:
“This has to be the best club in Ireland, well at least to me and our members.”
“This is a very special club indeed. I am proud to wear their colours and be part of this amazing team at Down TC.”
Down Triathlon Club embodies what it is to be a community club. From their ‘Come on Down and Tri’ new to tri programme, to their volunteer engagement with park run and their booming junior section. This club has forged partnerships with other clubs in their area to work together sharing marshalls at events and has hosted ‘beyond the wall’ triathlon for the last two years. They have demonstrated a commitment to growth and development in terms of programmes, their coaching team and junior development. Truly a worthy recipient for Club of The Year.