Following a nationwide search to uncover Ireland’s most inspirational people, Gala Retail and the Sunday Independent included two nominees from Galway among the 18 finalists who attended the inaugural Sunday Independent/Gala Retail Inspiration Awards last night in Dublin.
With entries hailing from across Ireland, an expert judging panel had the challenging task of shortlisting the top three finalists in each of the six categories from the hundreds of entries received. Included among the nominees are Suzanne McLean from Barna in the Inspirational Charity Champion Category and Martin Keane (Pictured) from Athenry in the Inspiration in Sports Category.
The awards ceremony, a black tie event hosted by Miriam O’Callaghan, took place in the Marker Hotel in Dublin and in the Sports Category, Athenry Athletic Club Joint President Martin Keane finished runner-up. Martin has won six medals – three gold, two silver and one bronze – at national level this year. These were achieved in cross-country and in 5K, 10K, 5 miles, 10 miles and half marathon road championships. Most recently he has represented Ireland in his age category in cross-country, run on the famous Aintree racecourse in Liverpool.
Apart from his running, Martin is also deeply involved with the GAA at local and County level. He does a lot of voluntary work in both Kenny Park in Athenry and in Pearse Stadium in Salthill. He also umpires regularly with referee James Lundon
Judges included the Sunday Independent Life magazine wellness columnist, Alison Canavan; RTE’s Marty Morrissey; Special Olympics Ireland’s CEO, Matt English; Gala Retail’s CEO, Gary Desmond and Head of News at the Sunday Independent, Paul Sheridan sifted through the extraordinary and emotive stories to select the final 18 nominees.