The 3rd Annual RILSA Awards took place at the Dolmen Hotel Carlow recently followed by our fundraiser in the Teach Dolmain Pub in Carlow Town.

A fantastic evening was had by all in attendance, both at the Dolmen Hotel and the Teach.

A huge thank you to everyone who bought horses for our race night and tickets for the raffle.  Thanks to those of you who turned up on the night in support and stayed at the Dolmen Hotel.  Thanks to Tina, Val, Tara and Annette for providing items for the raffle and to the Dolmen Hotel, Shaws Carlow and Sam McCauleys Chemist for their kind sponsorship.  Thanks to Dave, Rory and staff of the Teach Dolmain along with a big thank you to Leo the DJ on the night who all contributed to the success of the event in Carlow.

Thanks to our President Margaret Browne who officiated at the Awards and sold all the tickets on the night for the raffle which contributed well to the fundraiser.

Below is the citations on our awards evening and we congratulate all those who received awards and those who were nominated.

CLUB OF THE YEAR AWARD – SHARKX NEWBRIDGE

Clubs Nominated – Sharkx & Joeys

Both Paul & Bernie of Sharkx Newbridge have been so supportive towards our promotions over the past 5 years with reduced rates for our members along with facilitating free table time for our young juniors on the scholarship programme, is simply amazing.  The facility of space at the rear of the club as our Academy and meeting room is so much appreciated by us in RILSA.

Many of our National events along with all of our National Billiards events are now held at Sharkx and we certainly hope this continues for many years.  This award is so deserving of their efforts and kind support towards our organisation.  Thanks Valerie Maloney who received the award on behalf of Sharkx.

 

SCHOOL OF THE YEAR AWARD – ST MARKS NEWBRIDGE

Schools Nominated – Ballinabranna – St Laserians – St Marks

Since we introduced snooker into St Marks in Newbridge in 2013 with the installation of a full size table, the interest has continued to grow year on year at the School.  Aileen O’Brien, Alma Carley the principal and Mary at reception are an absolute delight to work with, as they appreciate the difference the sport has made to their school and students, along with the many benefits it gives to the lives of all those involved.  The school has dominated special needs snooker on the National scene since joining RILSA with Rachel Bradley taking the National title on two occasions along with Alan Beale and Stephen Sheerin winning the National men’s Special needs titles with Stars Academy Ireland in their short time involved in the sport.

St Marks really deserved this award for all their hard work and dedication to our initiatives and after 49 girls from the school have taken part in National RILSA events in the past 5 years is astounding to say the least.  Thanks to Mark Bradley who received the award on behalf of St Marks.

 

JUNIOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR – GRACE BYRNE

Juniors Nominated – Emirjeta Doda – Grace Byrne

11 year old Grace Byrne from Carlow has come onto the RILSA Tour in 2017 making a huge impact especially after her runner up result in the International Intermediate Open at Joey’s Dublin in August.  We knew in June 2017 that Grace was improving during the season when she reached the semis of the National 6 Red Championship after reaching 4 x Q Finals before that.  Her first win was the National Primary School Championship followed with a runner up to Emirjeta in the RILSA U21 National Championship.  Grace continued to hold form with a semi-final place in the RILSA Intermediate ranking in November 2017 only to go one better last February with a runner up place in the next Intermediate ranking.  Her progress in the sport shows her holding a top 8 place this season on the National rankings and again making a top 4 on the Intermediate rankings, so a player to watch out for in the future, she deserves this award for her progress in such a short period in the sport.

 

SPECIAL NEEDS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – RACHEL BRADLEY

Special Needs Players Nominated – Christine Carr – Shannon Wilson – Rachel Bradley

Rachel Bradley from Newbridge in Kildare and attending St Marks has made a huge impact on the Special Needs RILSA Tour since its inception back in 2014 where she reached the inaugural final only to go one better in 2015 taking the National title.  Out due to injury in 2016, Rachel returned in 2017 to be the first player to win two RILSA Special Needs titles.  She has dominated the sport in this area and we feel will continue to do so for a number of years to come.

On the National Tour Rachel has been very consistent in the Intermediate scene with a number of semi-final and runner up places over the past few years, also she was runner up in the County Kildare Championship the last two seasons.  Currently number 1 on the National Special Needs Rankings and provisionally ranked 13th on the main tour with a provisional 4th on the Intermediate tour shows much improvement for her over the last 4 years.  A great achievement for Rachel to take this award for 2018.

BILLIARDS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – ANNETTE NEWMAN

Billiard Players Nominated – Valerie Maloney – Christine Carr – Annette Newman

Annette has dominated the ladies billiards since the inaugural Championship in December 2015.  Annette has won every event since and holds the number 1 spot on the National Rankings for the last 3 years along with 3 National Billiards Championship Titles.  Her commitment to women’s billiards is outstanding and she truly deserves this award for 2018.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR – SUSAN HANLON

Susan Hanlon’s first season with RILSA saw her make a good impression among the girls as they commented that she is one to watch in the years ahead.  The 2016/2017 season saw Susan win two Intermediate ranking events while reaching the quarters of the main rankings on 3 occasions.  The 2017 National Intermediate Championship title was a hard fought event when she overcame the improving Aine Brennan in the final 2-0 to take her first National RILSA title in such a short period.  Susan showed great improvement at the Ladies Irish International Open in Dublin last year when she qualified out of the groups to the main event where she reached the semis.  She has continued to improve this season with another Intermediate ranking win and this time reaching two semi-finals of the main events.  Clearly much improved and deserves this award for 2018.

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD – TINA KEOGH

Volunteer Award Nominated – Tina Keogh – Valerie Maloney

First of all both these nominations are fantastic women who have given so much to RILSA in their short time with us and have made such a difference to our promotions and fundraising over the 4 years they have been with us.

However just piping Valerie at the post for the award is Tina this time.  Tina is our current National Secretary and is a vital asset to our organisation.  Her commitment and dedication is outstanding.  She is always thinking of ways to improve and develop the association and made a great impact in negotiations at our meeting with Sport Ireland last year.  Tina is so deserving of this new award and we thank her for all her help and support towards RILSA.

INTERMEDIATE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD – CHRISTINE CARR

Intermediate Player of the Year Award – Christine Carr

Christine started the new season with a runner up spot in the first intermediate ranking followed with a win in ranking two and again made it to the final of ranking 3.  Intermediate ranking four saw her win in style, giving her number 1 on the National Rankings.  Christine has dominated the intermediate RILSA tour during the season and she really deserves this award for all her great efforts during the season.

MOST CONSISTENT PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD – PAULA JUDGE

Most Consistent Player of the Year Award – Paula Judge

Paula has been very consistent during the RILSA Tour season, having started with the National Title for the first time and followed with another first with the International Irish Open title in August 2017.  The RILSA Tour National Ranking events have seen Paula dominate to date with wins in the Stars Academy Masters and Dublin Open recently, putting her into provisional 6th place on the National rankings.  With one more ranking remaining, Paula is aiming for a top 4 spot by seasons end.

Her domination on the RILSA Tour this season and the impact she is making in women’s cue sports here in Ireland, makes her a force to recon with in the future.  Paula deserves this award for her great progress on the tour this season.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD – ANNETTE NEWMAN

Player of the Year Award Nominations – Paula Judge – Cathy Dunne – Sandra Bryan – Annette Newman

The player of the year award for 2018 was put to a vote by you the players and members of RILSA a number of weeks ago with the top 4 players been nominated.  While it was good to see all those nominated receive votes it was Annette who came out way ahead in votes.  This speaks for its self as the membership recognises the commitment and dedication that Annette has and is still giving women’s cue sports here in Ireland in both as a player and organiser.  Annette is always there helping and encouraging our players and especially the young girls who appreciate her and look to her for guidance.  With over 30 years of dedication and since we reformed RILSA back in 2014, has never missed an event, such is her commitment.  Her position with the Board as National Treasurer is much appreciated and her broad knowledge of the sport and its organisational structure is a valuable asset to RILSA.

In her playing ability, Annette has been to the forefront of Irish Ladies snooker for many years and her season to date is outstanding, having reached the semis of the National Championship and the final of the National 6 Red for the 3rd time. Won Billiards Ranking 4 to secure number 1 in the Billiards.  3 finals in a row with the International Irish Open the Griffith Cup ranking 1 and the inaugural ladies National Masters to go on to reach another ranking semi in October 17.  However her National Ranking win came in November adding the Leinster masters to her tally of wins over the years.  Annette finished 2017 off with the National Billiards Championship title for the 3rd time in a row and started well in 2018 with a semi-final place in the Dublin Open to secure her the National number 1 in Ladies Snooker with an event remaining, for the 3rd season in a row.  Annette is the first woman to hold number 1 in Ireland for 3 seasons in a row and to top this she includes both cue sport disciplines as number 1 snooker & billiards.  Thanks to the players for their votes and recognising Annette’s qualities within the sport.