IRELAND’S KINGS OF the ring got their due this afternoon as boxing coaches Billy Walsh and Pete Taylor were crowned Sports Manager of the Year.
In only the second joint award in Philips’ 31-year sponsorship, Walsh and Taylor were recognised for their “superb achievements” topped by the four medals which Ireland’s boxers brought home from the London Olympics.
Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport was among those to attend the awards lunch held in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin.
As head coach of the IABA’s high performance boxing unit, Walsh took charge of Ireland’s Olympic squad which came home with a silver medal for John Joe Nevin and a bronze apiece for Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes.
Coached by her father Pete, Katie Taylor stole the show with Ireland’s only gold medal of the Games, edging a close final against Sofya Ochigava of Russia to win the lightweight division.
Taylor, who was a key figure in getting women’s boxing recognised as an Olympic sport, also beat Ochigava to win her fourth successive world title in 2012 and was named AIBA World Female Boxer of the Year for a third time.
All-Ireland winning managers Jim McGuinness of Donegal and Brian Cody of Kilkenny, Galway hurling manager Anthony Cunningham, Ian Baraclough of Sligo Rovers, and Rory McIlroy’s coach Michael Bannon were among the winners of the Philips monthly awards this year.