Boxer Amy Broadhurst is the 2022 Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year
Boxer Amy Broadhurst, the first Irish female boxer to take gold at the World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games has been crowned The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year for 2022.
In what was an amazing year for sport, but particularly for Irish sportswomen, Broadhurst became only the second Irish fighter to land the three titles - Michael Conlan being the only other to achieve the feat. For good measure the 25-year-old Dundalk woman was named ‘Boxer of the Tournament’ at the Europeans.
Katie Taylor, Kellie Harrington and Conlan had been Ireland’s only amateur world champions until Broadhurst made it four with her victory over Algeria’s Imane Khelif in the light-welterweight final. The Dealgan Boxing Club fighter, who was making her fifth appearance in the World Championships, overcame her opponent’s five-inch height advantage to take gold on a unanimous points decision in Istanbul in May.
Having suffered her fair share of disappointments through her career, not least at the 2018 World Championships in India when she was controversially denied by the judges of victory in the quarterfinals over a local fighter, this was a magical moment for Broadhurst.
Teammate Lisa O’Rourke made it an historic double for Irish boxing following her into the ring and claiming gold in the 70Kg final.
Broadhurst won her second gold medal of the year in August at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, beating England’s Gemma Richardson by a unanimous decision in the lightweight final. In the process, Broadhurst, who is also affiliated to the St Bronagh’s club in Rostrevor, became the first female boxer to win a Commonwealth gold medal for Northern Ireland.
She secured her hattrick of golds at the European Championships at Budva in Montenegro when she defeated Mariia Bava of Ukraine, again on a unanimous decision.
Although she later played underage football for Dundalk FC and Louth Ladies, boxing was the sport which captured her heart from the start. At age five she followed her brothers along to Dealgan BC to be coached by her dad Tony and never looked back, winning a record 15 Irish titles by the age of 21.
Broadhurst is a close friend of Katie Taylor, and the Bray boxer invited her to Connecticut to spar with her in the run-up to Taylor’s fight against Amanda Serrano. Those couple of weeks clearly proved to be highly useful for both with Broadhurst claiming that she learnt a lot from Taylor who she described as ‘a big role model’ and ‘the best female boxer ever.’
While Broadhurst, who was recently named best light welter weight boxer in the world, will no doubt be looking to turn professional at some point, for now she says her eyes are firmly set on the Paris Olympics in 2024. In a recent interview she said; “That’s been my biggest goal in boxing. I feel very confident I will make the Olympic Games. It’s just deciding which weight category I will choose.”
Ireland women’s soccer team honoured with Outstanding Achievement Award
This year’s Outstanding Achievement Award went to the Ireland women’s soccer team who qualified for the World Cup for the first time after beating Scotland 1-0 in a playoff in Hampden Park in Glasgow.
A penalty save by Courtney Brosnan and a second half goal by substitute Amber Barrett of Turbine Potsdam secured a memorable victory for the ‘Girls in Green’ and booked their ticket to the World Cup in Australia / New Zealand.
Barrett whose grandparents were born and bred in Creeslough and who spent a lot of time in the village growing up, dedicated the goal to the ten people who died following an explosion at a petrol station in the village just four days earlier.
In a touching tribute afterward, Barrett who’s from Milford said; “This is the best day of my life in terms of what we’ve done for football, but when you put it into perspective, we don’t scratch the surface of what happened over there. This result, this game, that goal – I’m dedicating it for those ten beautiful souls who unfortunately perished on Friday, for all their families.”
The Glasgow win was the culmination of a long qualifying campaign which featured two wins over group second seeds Finland, a 1-1 draw away to world number two side Sweden and an away win over Slovakia.
Led ably by Katie McCabe the campaign featured strong performances by players like Denise O’Sullivan, Louise Quinn, Heather Payne, Niamh Fahey and Aine O’Gorman.
Vera Pauw’s team, who have been drawn in Group B alongside Australia, Canada and Nigeria will travel to their Brisbane base determined to make more history.
Paying tribute to all the 2022 winners, Sports Editor of The Irish Times Noel O’Reilly said women’s sport this year has been momentous on both the national and international stages.
“Yet again the bar has been pushed ever higher with inspirational performances and achievements across the board. A huge congratulations to all the monthly winners, sportswomen whose stories continue to show the next generation that nothing is impossible. They are heroes of Irish life, examples to our daughters and sons and a credit to their families, coaches, partners, and friends.”
This is the 19th year of the awards and other recipients of the 12 monthly awards include: swimmer Ellen Walshe, only the second Irish swimmer to medal at the World Championships, para rower Katie O’Brien who claimed gold in the single sculls at the World Championships in the Czech Republic, golfer Leona Maguire, who became the first Irish woman to win on the LPGA Tour, boxer Katie Taylor who defeated Amanda Serrano in front of a crowd of 20,000 people at Madison Square Gardens and Ciara Mageean who won 1,500m silver medals in both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships.
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said:
“This has been an excellent year for Irish sport, and it is important to recognise and celebrate the success of our many sportswomen across such a broad range of sports during the year. Their dedication and commitment to their sport and their determination to succeed is so inspiring and is such an example for young girls all over the country. I want to congratulate all of this year’s award recipients and acknowledge their enormous contribution to Irish sport.”
Dr Una May, CEO of Sport Ireland, paid tribute to all the award winners.
‘Over the past year we have witnessed some remarkable successes in a wide range of sports with our athletes making history and breaking records on a regular basis. Sport Ireland are a proud partner of The Irish Times to mark their achievements. I would like to congratulate all of today’s award winners and thank them for being such fine ambassadors for both their sport and their country.’