Limerick rugby referee Joy Neville has been named as the Sports Person of the Year at the 43rd running of the People of the Year Awards.
Neville was an integral part of the 2013 Grand Slam winning side and was capped 70 times for her country as well as a glittering club career with UL Bohemians and six interpro titles with Munster.
Turning her attention to refereeing, the trailblazer became the first female referee to officiate in a European match in 2016, first woman to referee an international test match, as well as overseeing the Women’s World Cup Final last year in Belfast.
— Joy Neville (@JoyNevilleRef) April 15, 2018
The Awards were broadcast live on RTÉ One from Dublin’s Mansion House on Sunday night and Neville’s victory comes on the back of claiming the World Rugby Referee of the Year for 2017.
Neville thanked her family for their support and dedicated the award to women in sports.
She added: “My family, particularly my wife Simona, have shown unconditional support throughout my entire career. Without them, I don’t think I would be accepting this award. I want to dedicate this award to all the young sportswomen in Ireland, and beyond, so that they too can dream and achieve.”
Rugby veteran @JoyNevilleRef has been a mould breaker all her life. Wearing #8 for @IrishRugby she won a #grandslam and capped 70 times. She continues to excel as a referee and break down barriers. #peopleoftheyear pic.twitter.com/woJy5ZAS3H
— People of the Year (@peopleawards) April 15, 2018
Ireland’s longest-running and most prestigious awards event, the People of the Year Awards are widely recognised as one of Ireland’s highest accolades. Nominated by members of the public, and finalised by a panel of adjudicators, a total of ten awards were presented at the ceremony.
Mo Flynn, Rehab Group Chief Executive, organisers of the Awards, said:
“We have services throughout Ireland that support thousands of people with disabilities. Every day our teams in communities across the country meet people who are also doing great work, but they do not seek the limelight or get the recognition they deserve. The Awards serve to highlight all that is good about Ireland and honours those whose courage, resolve and bravery is boundless.”