A GALAXY of local sporting stars have received one of the biggest civic honours Limerick can afford to its citizens.
Mayor James Collins honoured nine individuals and groups for the contribution they have made to the city and county, and the pride they have brought to Shannonside through their achievements in sporting arenas globally.
More than 100 people were at City Hall for a special ceremony, in which a civic reception was afforded.
Among those who received scrolls from the mayor were paralympian soccer player Aaron Tier, from St Mary’s Park, who said: “I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for my friends, coaches and family. They are the ones who laid the foundations for my success.”
Also honoured were Munster’s Irish international rugby contingent, including CJ Stander, Keith Earls, Conor Murray and Leinster’s Limerick-born hooker Sean Cronin.
Speaking on behalf of the quartet, Moyross man Keith said: “It genuinely is a true honour to stand here tonight with fellow Limerick athletes. Limerick is the sporting capital of Ireland. For myself, CJ and the lads it's a massive honour for us to represent our country, to represent Munster. But no matter where we go in the world, it’s most important to represent the people of Limerick City and County.”
Raheen hockey star Roisin Upton, who played a starring role as Ireland’s ladies team defied all the odds to come runners up at the World Cup, was also honoured, and said: “I count myself very lucky with all the support and recognition I have received. It’s incredible to have such a broad range of sports, talents and successes here this season. It says so much about Limerick.”
Transplant games star John Loftus, Clarina, deemed himself “exhilarated and humbled” to receive the reception.
Mayor Collins said: “It has been a wonderful year for Limerick and while our hurlers were celebrating their win, many of you were still battling, training and fighting for your own place in the history book. The journey to success is one of dedication, commitment and absolute single-mindedness.”
People being awarded, he added, “have been remarkably successful, some of them in the face of almost unthinkable odds.”