Student Sport Ireland National Student Awards 2023-24

Mark Smyth, DCU, was awarded Sportsperson of the Year 2023-24.

Student Sport Ireland congratulates the 8 award-winners of this year’s SSI National Student Awards.

Mark Smyth, of Dublin City University Athletics Club and Raheny Shamrock AC, was awarded Sportsperson of the Year 2023-24. Mark is completing his master’s degree in Emerging Media, while smashing records in the 200m. He is the current National Outdoor 200m Champion and in 2023 became the fastest Irish man ever Indoors in the 200m. Mark started the indoor season with big intent, running a PB of 6.89 seconds in the 60m at the DCU vs UL meet in Nenagh in November. He retained his IUAA Indoor 200m title in February clocking 21.08, just 0.06 off the IUAA record. Mark’s contribution to DCU AC has been huge over the past 5 years, and he has become a natural leader and mentor for younger athletes.

Chris Kenny, student at Technological University Dublin and chairperson of the Surf Club, picked up the Club of the Year Award on behalf of his club. It is the university’s largest club, with 524 members this year. Thanks to the work of this very active committee, the club has successfully created a wonderful community of surfers. The club hosted 43 individual events during the year, collaborated with other college sports and successfully promoted the club on the ground, on social media and of course on the water!

Runners up for this award included Dublin City University Volleyball Club and University College Cork Mountaineering Club.

Team of the Year was awarded to the Ulster University Gaelic Football Sigerson Cup Winners. This outstanding team won this year’s Sigerson Cup, which was a first in 16 years for the college. The team won 10 out of 12 competitive games and had 7 players recognised in the team of the tournament.

Runners up included Trinity College Dublin Women’s Soccer Team and Dublin City University O’Connor Cup Ladies’ Gaelic Football Team.

The Sailing Intervarsities 2023/24, hosted by University College Dublin, won the Event of the Year Award. College sailing events in Ireland this year were beset by insurance and logistical challenges, resulting in 2 of the 4 annual events being cancelled. UCD Sailing Club were determined for the Intervarsities competition to go ahead and reached out to dozens of sailing clubs in Ireland seeking a potential host club. They finally secured Schull as the venue and the committee worked tirelessly to ensure smooth running of the event from accommodation to on the water. Despite poor weather conditions and frustrating efforts to get on the water, the sailors got loads of racing in!

UCC Trampoline Club (Intervarsities) and MTU Cork (LGFA O’Connor Cup Weekend) were shortlisted for the award.

Brooke Stewart, student in Ulster University, won the Leadership Award. Brooke has made outstanding contributions to the college Netball Club this year. As chairperson, she organised training sessions, team nights, fixtures, umpires, fundraisers and sponsorships as well as coaching and organising an international tour for the club in June. Brooke is also very strong on the SSI Netball scene and has been ever-present in organising fixtures, attending finals and welcoming SSI and opponents on site in Jordanstown on finals day. She has completed two years on the SSI Women’s Student Coaching Academy and this year took part in ambassador videos for SSI during our tour of colleges and universities in September.

Rachel McCann (Queen’s University Belfast) and Angelina Foley (Dublin City University) were shortlisted for the award.

The Performance Athlete of the Year went to Joe McCarthy, Trinity College Sports Scholar. Joe studies Global Business while playing professionally for Leinster Rugby. He represented Ireland both at the Rugby World Cup and Six Nations this year. During his six nations campaign, he was named Player of the Match versus France. Joe still finds the time to give back to Trinity Rugby Club and the wider community. He has helped to lead inclusive coaching sessions with students from Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disability and represented Trinity in the Energia All-Ireland League before being called up to Leinster and continues to support and guide those club players.

The SSI Competitions Recognition Award was awarded to Anastasiya Bogoslovskaya, from Trinity Badminton Club. Over the past 2 years, Anastasiya has been a very active member of her club, and one of the highest performing athletes in Student Sport Ireland competitions. This year, her team captured both the SSI League and Cup double and her contribution on and off the court was crucial in this success. She is an extremely talented young athlete, and an inspiring leader to her teammates.