Armagh star Sinead McCleary has been named Queen’s University Sportsperson of the Year after leading their ladies gaelic team to historic success this spring.
In March, the classy Clann Eireann player captained the Queen’s side which lifted the prestigious O’Connor Cup, the All Ireland for student footballers, for the first time ever.
Queen’s had never even reached a final before but the vastly experienced McCleary, in the last year of her second degree inspirationally led them to a convincing victory over fancied Dublin City University in the decider.
The previous day, the Belfast side had shown considerable character in coming from behind in injury time of their semi-final with a last gasp goal before going on to defeat title holders University College Cork in extra-time.
The Queen’s success had a distinctly orange flavour with Armagh manager James Daly in charge of a side skippered by Lurgan woman McCleary which included five other Orchard representatives.
Their exceptional efforts were recognised at the recent end-of-term Queen’s Blues Awards as the ladies gaelic team deservedly scooped the Team of the Year title and Sinead McCleary lifted the coveted individual honour.
Daly himself missed out in the Coach of the Year category but expressed delight that the side’s historic success had earned them the tag of best student side at Queen’s and had particular praise for McCleary, describing her as “an exceptional player who deserves this great accolade.”
“I’m hugely honoured to receive the individual award considering the number of extremely talented and high-achieving sports people who are students at Queen’s, “ said Sinead.
“It is also a reflection of the great team effort which brought us this historic success.
“It was a privilege to captain this team and whatever any of us achieve with club or county I think winning this O’Connor Cup will always count as a special chapter in our careers.”