The Team Of The Year recognises the exceptional team achievements of Irish teams in a single calendar year. A team constitutes of two or more athletes forming one particular team.
The Irish paralympic tandem cycling duo are amongst the most successful para athletes to have ever represented Ireland having medalled consistently at World and Paralympic Games since 2014.
In 2022, the duo won their 6th World Championship medal at the World Championships in Canada.
The pair have represented Ireland at the Paralympic games with some of their greatest success coming at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016 as the pair claimed Gold in the Time Trial and Silver in the Road Race events. More medals followed at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics as the team claimed gold in the Time Trial and Road Race and silver in the 3k pursuit.
Dunlevy was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at 11 and is registered blind with her partner McCrystal competing alongside her as her sighted pilot. The pair will go down in history as one of Ireland’s most successful paralympic team of all time.
It’s been an almost unbelievable year for the Irish women’s boxing team. Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke both won world gold in May, but the crown of the season was the European Women’s Boxing Championships, when Ireland brought home a record medal haul: three gold (thanks to Kellie Harrington, Amy Broadhurst, and Aoife O’Rourke), two silver (Caitlin Fryers and Christina Desmond) and two bronze (Shannon Sweeney and Michaela Walsh).
The World Youth Boxing Championships also showcased the depth of talent in women’s boxing here, with Dearbhla Tinnelly and Laura Moran taking bronzes and Cliona Darcy winning heavyweight gold.
As anticipation builds for the 2024 Olympics, things are looking promising for Irish women’s boxing.
Lead by captain Laura Delany and coach Ed Joyce, the Irish Cricket team made history in Lahore in 2022 when they secured their first ever overseas series win with a 2-1 victory over Pakistan. They previously came out on top in a nail-biting semi-final beating Zimbabwe by 4 runs to ensure qualification to the 2023 ICC T20 World Cup in South Africa.
The team also toured the Netherlands in August 2022 and wrapped up with a clean sweep of the series, winning the final game by 8 wickets. Seven players have been offered full professional contracts which is a testament to the hard work and dedication made by players and is a significant step forward for the sport in Ireland.
The pressure was on for the cross country team sent to the 2022 European Championships to improve on 2021’s fourth-place finish—and they accomplished that, taking third place overall in Italy. Twins Eilish and Roisin Flanagan finished side-by-side in 11th and 12th place, supported by Mary Mulhare, Ann-Marie McGlynn, Aoibhe Richardson, and Michelle Finn. Jane Buckley also secured 5th in the women’s U20 race, and Sarah Healy looked likely to medal in the U23 race before unfortunately being forced to withdraw due to injury.
Irish women’s rowing started off strong this year at the World Cup II, with Katie O’Brien bringing home gold (in the PR2 W1x), Zoe Hyde and Sanita Puspure (W2x) taking silver, and three other crews taking bronze: Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty (W2), Margaret Cremen and Lydia Heaphy (LW2x), and Eimear Lambe, Tara Hanlon, Aifric Keogh, and Natalie Long (W4).
More medals would come as the year progressed: Eabha Benson and Emma Waters took gold in the W2- at the Home International Regatta, as did the W8+ team. Another silver came at the European Championships for the W4- team (again consisting of Eimear Lambe, Tara Hanlon, Aifric Keogh and Natalie Long) as well as several 4th-place finishes. Katie O’Brien also took gold again at the World Rowing Championships, where Margaret Cremen once again took bronze, this time alongside Aoife Casey.
The Irish Women’s 7s Team made history this year with their first-ever World Series podium finish, taking silver in Seville in January after losing narrowly to Australia. They backed up this win with a bronze at Langford, Canada in March; the season also included strong fifth- and fourth-place finishes in Malaga and Toulouse. The team was also honoured with the Capgemini Leaders of the Series award, which is awarded based on a team’s improvement throughout the season.
The team is currently fourth in the HSBS World Rugby Sevens Series tables; if this position is maintained, they will be guaranteed a berth in the 2024 Olympics.
In 2022 The Republic of Ireland made history, qualifying for their first ever major tournament, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
After beating Finland 1–0 in the qualifying campaign, Ireland reached a historic milestone as the team qualified to the playoffs for the first time in its history.
This achievement was soon surpassed when Ireland won the play-off final 1–0 over Scotland in Glasgow on 11 October 2022 in Hampden Parl, sending them straight through to their first ever World Cup.
The team also climbed to 23rd in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings and will be playing their first match in the World Cup on the 20th July 2023 against hosts Australia.
In 2022 Kilkenny camogie were once again crowned All-Ireland senior champions for the second time in three seasons.
Behind the scenes, it was a difficult year for the squad with injuries, people travelling and some sad losses. But these difficulties seemed to only unite the squad further and was no doubt crucial in their success again this year.
Old rivals Cork were their opponents in the All-Ireland final, and a superb team performance from the Cats got them over the line. Their efforts were duly rewarded at this years PwC All-Stars banquet, with Miriam Walsh picking up Player of the Year, Brian Dowling picking up Manager of the Year and an incredible eight Kilkenny players being honoured with All-Star awards.
2022 was a dream year for Meath as they retained their All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship title with a nine point win over Kerry at Croke Park and were also crowned Lidl National League Division 1 champions following their win over Donegal in April.
The Royals also lead the way at the 2022 TG4 All Star awards with six players named on the 2022 selection. Emma Troy, Aoibhín Cleary, Emma Duggan were honoured for a second successive year, while goalkeeper Monica McGuirk picked up her third All Star. Stacey Grimes and Shauna Ennis picked up their first awards after their convincing All-Ireland win under the stewardship of outgoing manager Eamonn Murray.
For a team who are just two years in the senior championship to have gone on and won the highest honour in ladies football both years and it is a testament to the players dedication, skill and their top management team.
Shelbourne FC had a magnificent season, finally winning the double of the FAI Cup and the Women’s National League title (denied to them last year by the Wexford Youths in the FAI Cup final). Shelbourne avenged that defeat in this year’s WNL final at the end of October, defeating Wexford Youths 4-0, with Jessie Stapleton, Alex Kavanagh, Megan Smyth-Lynch and Abbie Larkin scoring.
Shelbourne completed the double on Nov. 6th in a 2-0 victory over Athlone Town, with Jessie Stapleton and Pearl Slattery scoring. The FAI Cup final was also historic for another reason—it broke the attendance record for women’s domestic soccer in Ireland by drawing a crowd of 5,073.