The August 2018 winner of the very successful Southside & District Sports Award is Yvonne O’Byrne, a member of the Irish Ladies Hockey Team, who recently thrilled the nation, as they won Silver at the World Cup in London.
Yvonne O’Byrne, is a dynamic defender, who has been a pivotal part of the Irish side since her major tournament debut in 2015 at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Valencia, the World League Semi-Final. The Cork woman has helped the national ladies team to gold at the 2015 Euro Hockey Championships in Prague and World League Round 2 in Malaysia and, since June, 2017, she has played in 36 consecutive games for Ireland. She took up hockey at Mount Mercy College, where she made the senior team at the age of just 14, winning the All Ireland Schools Kate Russell Cup that same year.
Yvonne O’Byrne captained Munster at each underage level, as well as her club, Cork Harlequins, when just 20, winning the Munster senior league and cup. Since then, she has gone on to captain her Cork Harlequins team to an Irish Senior Cup final in 2017, as well as the final of the EYHL national league in 2018. She was selected to represent Ireland at the recent Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup, where the team became the first ever to reach a World Cup Final in the history of field sport in Ireland. The team entered into the tournament ranked sixteenth in the world and so defied the odds to beat higher ranked nations and earn the right to play in a World Cup final.
Although losing to world ranked number one, Holland, Yvonne and her teammates came away from the tournament World Cup silver medallists, a title no other field sport team in Ireland has ever captured. Yvonne and the Irish team now enter into an important 12 months, as they aim to qualify during 2019 for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Photos: Ger Bonus
The Southside & District Sports Awards are sponsored by Cork International Hotel.
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