The South East’s top sporting talent were rewarded during a fantastic evening at the Beat 102-103 South East Sports Star Awards at Mount Wolseley.
Carlow kickboxer Billie Maher, walked away with the coveted title of the overall Beat South East Sport Star for 2017.
Billie Maher continued to dominate the world of kickboxing in June, collecting her fourth world title in Greece.
At just 13 years of age, she beat opposition from England, America and Germany in the 13-to-17 age category.
As well as four world titles, Billie is also into double figures when it comes to national titles.
The annual gala event took place once again at Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort in Tullow, County Carlow and highlighted the achievements of the region’s established and emerging sporting talent during 2017.
3-time olympian athlete Derval O’Rourke was a special guest on the night.
She competed internationally in the 60 and 100 metres hurdles, and is the Irish national record holder in both events, participated in two Indoor World Championships, five Outdoor World Championships and the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympics, a woman who knows a thing or two about collecting silverware!
This year’s list of nominees – all voted for by the public in monthly online polls on Beat 102-103’s website – showcased the wide variety of sports that continue to thrive across Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Tipperary.
Waterford Boxer Kelyn Cassidy received the January award after being crowned national under-22 middleweight champion that month.
He came out on top in a bruising encounter against a Dublin opponent to secure his first national title.
Kelyn later went on to represent Ireland in the European Championships in Romania.
February’s winner, the IT Carlow hurlers reached the Fitzgibbon Cup final for the first time in the college’s history.
Led by manager DJ Carey, they beat some fancied opposition to book their place in a historic decider with Mary I in Galway.
In March, Carlow kickboxer Brian O’Donoghue was crowned world champion in Dubai.
One of three Irish gold medalists at the WFM Championships, he outclassed his Egyptian opponent to bring the title back to the south east.
After his success, Brian was voted the March winner of Beat’s South East Sport Star.
Kilkenny’s Marble City Hawks came away with the April award after celebrating national success, winning the Division One play-offs.
Having previously qualified for the National Cup final, they came out on top in the all-south east final against ITC of Carlow.
A 55-47 victory saw them lift the trophy.
May saw two separate ladies football teams gain the joint title of that months Sport Star.
Tipperary’s ladies footballers were crowned National League Division 3 champions in May.
A win over Wexford in the final saw them secure promotion to Division 2.
The girls also went on to win the All Ireland intermediate title in September.
Meanwhile, Waterford’s ladies also had a month to remember in May.
A win against Kerry got their Munster championship off to the perfect start.
Another win against Cork would see the girls book their place in the provincial decider.
June’s winner was the overall Beat South East Sport Star for 2017, Carlow kickboxer Billie Maher.
Carlow’s ladies footballers won the Leinster junior title in July.
The girls made the best use of home advantage to run out comfortable winners against Kilkenny.
Waterford native Thomas Croke received the next Sports Star award for August.
He was in the scoring mood for Wexford FC in the Aitricity League.
Even nagging a Player of the Month nomination in the league.
September saw a huge success for Waterford FC.
Waterford FC welcomed their return to the big time, having come under new ownership and management for the 2017 season, the Blues finished eight points clear at the top of the table.
Premier Division football awaits this season for the September Beat South East Sport Star.
Waterford County Champions Ballygunner Senior hurlers received October’s Sports award.
Ballygunner’s senior hurlers celebrated another county title in October.
They were too good for De La Salle, running out 2-18 to 0-16 points winners before embarking on a Munster championship run that took them all the way to the provincial final.
Rower Kevin Wall from Tipperary was the November Beat Sports Star.
Kevin won his group and set a new Irish record at the Irish indoor rowing championships.
He went on to represent Ireland in the European Championships.
Every year, a wildcard winner is chosen from the nominees throughout the year that didn’t quite make the cut.
Fiona Kehoe from Wexford won gold at the national indoor championships in February.
Coming off the back of a successful cross-country season, the Kilmore athlete showed her versatility in winning the 800 metres title.
The South East Sports Star Awards have been running since 2006 and past overall winners include international footballer Kevin Doyle, Ireland rugby star Niamh Briggs, world championship rally driver Craig Breen and athlete Thomas Barr.
Photos: Pat Moore Photography