RTÉ Sports Person of the Year

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Seán Kelly won in 1986.
Stephen Roche won in 1987.
Sonia O'Sullivan won in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998 and 2000.
Ken Doherty won in 1997.
Roy Keane won in 1999.
Mick McCarthy won in 2001.
Ronan O'Gara won in 2004.
Henry Shefflin won in 2006.
Brian O'Driscoll won in 2009.
Graeme McDowell won in 2010.
Rory McIlroy won in 2011 and 2014.
Katie Taylor won in 2012.
A. P. "Tony" McCoy won in 2013.
Michael Conlan won in 2015.
Conor McGregor won in 2016.
James McClean won in 2017.
Jonathan Sexton won in 2018.


The RTÉ Sports Person of the Year Award is the titular award of the RTÉ Sports Awards ceremony, which takes place each December. The winner is the Irish sportsperson (from the island of Ireland) judged to have achieved the most that year. The winner was originally chosen by a special panel of RTÉ journalists and editorial staff, but was selected by a public vote from a pre-determined shortlist in 2016. The first Irish sports award ceremony took place in 1985, and was closely modelled on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.

Three people have won the award multiple times: athlete Sonia O'Sullivan won the award five times, including a record three successive awards, and golfers Pádraig Harrington, with three wins, and Rory McIlroy, who won it twice. The oldest recipient of the award is Christy O'Connor Jnr, who won in 1989 aged 41. Rory McIlroy, who first won in 2011, aged 22, is the youngest winner. Ten sporting disciplines have been represented; golf has the highest representation, with seven recipients.

Eamonn Darcy, Ronan Rafferty and Des Smyth, who won the Alfred Dunhill Cup in 1988, are the only non-individual winners of the award. Counting them separately, there have been twenty-seven winners of the award. Five of these have been Northern Irish. The most recent award was made in 2017 to James McClean.

Winners[edit]

RTÉ Sports Person of the Year Award winners
Year Nat. Winner Sport Sporting synopsis Ref.
1985  IRL Barry McGuigan Boxing Defeated Eusebio Pedroza to become World Boxing Association featherweight champion.
1986  IRL Seán Kelly Cycling He finished on a podium in a grand tour for the first time when he finished third in the 1986 Vuelta a España.
1987  IRL Stephen Roche Cycling Winner of the 1987 Tour de France, 1987 Giro d'Italia and 1987 World Cycling Championships.
1988  IRL
 NIR
 IRL
Eamonn Darcy
Ronan Rafferty
Des Smyth
Golf For winning the 1988 Dunhill Cup.
1989  IRL Christy O'Connor Jnr Golf For a stunning 2 iron shot on the last hole at the Belfry which he left just 4 feet from the hole during the successful 1989 Ryder Cup.
1990  IRL Packie Bonner Football For his famous penalty save from Daniel Timofte of Romania at the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
1991  IRL Ralph Keyes Rugby union Overall top scorer with 68 points at the 1991 Rugby World Cup.
1992  IRL Michael Carruth Boxing Gold medallist in the welterweight section at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.
1993  IRL Sonia O'Sullivan Athletics Silver medallist in the 1500m at the World Championships.
1994  IRL Sonia O'Sullivan Athletics Gold medallist in the 3000m at the European Championships.
1995  IRL Sonia O'Sullivan Athletics Gold medallist in the 5000m at the World Championships.
1996  IRL Michelle Smith Swimming Triple Olympic gold medallist for the 400m individual medley, 400m freestyle and 200m individual medley, and bronze medallist for the 200m butterfly event.
1997  IRL Ken Doherty Snooker Winner of the 1997 World Snooker Championship.
1998  IRL Sonia O'Sullivan Athletics Double gold medallist at the World Cross-Country Championships and double gold medallist at the European Championships.
1999  IRL Roy Keane Football Captain of the Manchester United team that completed a treble of English Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League successes.
2000  IRL Sonia O'Sullivan Athletics Olympic silver medallist in the women's 5000m at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. [1]
2001  IRL Mick McCarthy Football Secured qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup for the Republic of Ireland national football team. [2]
2002  IRL Pádraig Harrington Golf Member of the European team that won the 2002 Ryder Cup. [3]
2003  IRL Barry Geraghty Horse racing Winner of the Aintree Grand National on Monty's Pass. [4]
2004  IRL Ronan O'Gara Rugby union Member of the Ireland team that won the Triple Crown in the 2004 Six Nations Championship. [5]
2005  IRL Seán Óg Ó hAilpín Hurling All-Ireland- winning captain with Cork and winner of a third All-Ireland medal.
2006  IRL Henry Shefflin Hurling Won his fourth All-Ireland medal with Kilkenny as well as being named Hurler of the Year for a second time. [6]
2007  IRL Pádraig Harrington Golf Became the first Irishman in over sixty years to win the Open Championship. [7]
2008  IRL Pádraig Harrington Golf Retained his title as British Open championship, thus becoming the first European to win back to back major championships.
2009  IRL Brian O'Driscoll Rugby union Grand Slam-winning captain and member of the Leinster team that won the 2008–09 Heineken Cup [8]
2010  NIR Graeme McDowell Golf Winner of the 2010 US Open and member of the European team that won the 2010 Ryder Cup. [9]
2011  NIR Rory McIlroy Golf Winner of the 2011 US Open. [10]
2012  IRL Katie Taylor Boxing Olympic gold medallist in the women's lightweight section at the 2012 London Olympic Games. [11]
2013  NIR Tony McCoy Horse racing 18-times champion jockey who created history in November when he rode his 4,000th winner over jumps. [12]
2014  NIR Rory McIlroy Golf Won the 2014 Open Championship and 2014 PGA Championship, became the first European to win three different majors, and was a member of the European team that won the 2014 Ryder Cup. [13]
2015  IRL Michael Conlan Boxing Won the gold medal in the bantamweight division at the 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships. [14]
2016  IRL Conor McGregor Mixed martial arts Became the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two divisions simultaneously. [15]
2017  IRL James McClean Football Scored one of Ireland's most famous goals when he netted to secure a 1-0 win away to Wales, which secured a 2018 FIFA World Cup playoff spot. [16]
2018  IRL Jonathan Sexton Rugby union Won a Six Nations Grand Slam with Ireland, a Pro14-Champions Cup double with Leinster and was named World Rugby Player of the Year. [17]

By nationality[edit]

This table lists the total number of awards won by each nationality.

Winners by nationality
Nationality Number of wins
Republic of Ireland IRL 26
Northern Ireland NIR 5

2010s winners and nominees[edit]

The winner is in bold.

2010[edit]

[18]

2011[edit]

[19]

2012[edit]

[20]

2013[edit]

[21]

2014[edit]

[22]

2015[edit]

[23]

2016[edit]

[24][25]

2017[edit]

[26][27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sport: Sonia wins RTÉ Sports Award". RTÉ Sport. 14 June 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  2. ^ "McCarthy wins top RTÉ Sporting Award". RTÉ Sport. 14 June 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Harrington wins RTÉ award". RTÉ Sport. 14 June 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Geraghty scoops major sports award". RTÉ Sport. 14 June 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  5. ^ "O'Gara named Sports Personality of the Year". RTÉ Sport. 14 June 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Shefflin named RTÉ Sports Person of the Year". RTÉ Sport. 14 June 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Harrington named RTÉ Sports Person of Year". RTÉ Sport. 26 December 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Rugby stars dominate RTÉ Awards". RTÉ Sport. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  9. ^ "McDowell named Sportsperson of the Year". RTÉ Sport. 22 December 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  10. ^ "McIlroy, Leinster and Trap win RTÉ awards". RTÉ Sport. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  11. ^ "Katie Taylor named RTÉ Sports Person of the Year". RTÉ Sport. 24 December 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  12. ^ "Tony McCoy crowned RTÉ Sports Person of the Year". Irish Independent. 22 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  13. ^ "Rory McIlroy named RTÉ Sport Sports Person of the Year". RTÉ Sport. Retrieved 22 December 2014
  14. ^ "Michael Conlan named RTÉ Sport Person of the Year". RTÉ Sport. 19 December 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  15. ^ "McGregor crowned RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year". RTÉ Sport. 18 December 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Ireland star James McClean wins RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year". Irish Independent. 16 December 2017. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Johnny Sexton named RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year after sensational 2018". Irish Independent. 15 December 2018. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  18. ^ "Shortlist for RTÉ awards named". The Irish Times. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  19. ^ "RTÉ Sports Awards shortlist revealed". RTÉ Sport. 8 December 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  20. ^ "Nominees for RTÉ Sports Awards". RTÉ Sport. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  21. ^ "RTÉ Sports Awards 2013". RTÉ Sport. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  22. ^ "RTÉ Sports Awards 2014". RTÉ Sport. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  23. ^ "The nominees for the 2015 RTÉ Sports Awards have been announced". The 42. 12 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  24. ^ "The nominees for the RTÉ Sports Person of the Year award have been revealed". The 42. 3 December 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  25. ^ "Conor McGregor crowned 2016 RTÉ Sports Person of the Year". The 42. 17 December 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  26. ^ "Revealed: Here are the nominees for RTE Sports Personality of the Year". Irish Independent. 8 December 2017. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  27. ^ "Ireland star James McClean wins RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year". Irish Independent. 16 December 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2017.