SHANE Lowry wound the curtain down on a sensational 2019 when he won Ireland's biggest individual sporting award last week.
While his selection was widely anticipated, Lowry was still delighted to be named as RTE's Sports Personof the Year when it was announced at the broadcaster's annual end of year review last weekend.
The Clara golfer was an obvious choice after a fantastic 2019 during which he achieved world stardom by winning his first major, the British Open in Royal Portrush this summer.
With his father Brendan, an All-Ireland senior football medal winning hero with Offaly in 1982 making the presentation, Lowry dedicated his award to fellow Clara man, John Buckley who was buried on Sunday.
Asked about the role family plays in his life, Lowry said: “I am just a normal country lad from Clara and speaking of Clara, I just want to say, we are about to bury a very good GAA man tomorrow. I was down at the funeral today and I am going tomorrow. I would just like to dedicate this to him and his family, John Buckley. My family, my home town, my county and my country mean a lot to me.”
Reminded that he had also appeared on the RTE programme ten years ago after winning the Irish Open as an amateur, he said: “Yeah, ten years, I feel like it is gone by very quick. If you had asked me or told me what I was going to achieve, that I would be standing here today with this and that little trophy (the Claret Jug) over there with my name on it, I probably would have laughed at you.”
Having lost his US PGA tour card the previous year, Lowry has transformed his career in 2019 and hit the ground running at the start of the year when winning the Abu Dhabi Championship in the early weeks of the season. He was also presented with the Irish Golf Writer's Association player of the year award recently.
The RTE sports person of the year was decided by a twelve person judging panel and the other nominees were Tipperary hurler, Seamus Callanan; Dublin football captain, Stephen Cluxton; camogie player Niamh Kilkenny (Galway); runner, Ciara Mageean; gymnast, Rhys McClenaghan; soccer player, Denise O'Sullivan; rower, Sanita Puspure; Paralympics sprinter, Jason Smyth and boxer, Katie Taylor.
Former Dublin football manager Jim Gavin was named as the sports manager of the year and Dublin were worthy winners of the sports team of the year, having won their fifth All-Ireland Senior Football Championship title in a row in 2019.
The young sports person of the year was Rhys McClenaghan, who became the first Irish gymnast to win a medal at the World Championships, taking bronze in the pommel horse while athletics legend, Sonia O'Sullivan won the hall of fame award.