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8 Of The Biggest Names To Never Win RTÉ Sports Person Of The Year

8 Of The Biggest Names To Never Win RTÉ Sports Person Of The Year
By Jonathan Byrne
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The RTÉ Sports Person of the Year for 2021 will be handed out this weekend and while many think it's a two-horse race, the strength of this year's nominees is a testament to a fantastic Irish sporting year.

Kellie Harrington and Rachael Blackmore will be favoured to pick up the gong but the likes of Jason Smyth, Katie Taylor and Cian Lynch dominated once again. Vikki Wall, Leona Maguire and Ellen Keane had breakout years.

Over the years - there have been some peculiar choices, such as Mick McCarthy winning the award in 2001 after securing qualification for the World Cup in 2002. There have also been some big names to never win it.

Here's a look at ten names you might be surprised never won RTÉ Sports Person of the Year:

1. Paul O' Connell

The former Ireland and Munster captain was never given the spoils despite his compatriots of ROG and BOD picking up awards in the 2000s. The 2006 Triple Crown and Heineken Cup-winning season was a standout for O' Connell.

2. Ruby Walsh 

Barry Geraghty and Tony McCoy were previous winners of the gong but Ruby Walsh never got his crowning moment. He had many a case but some standout years include the Grand National double in 2000 and riding seven winners at Cheltenham in 2009.

3. Darren Clarke 


There's a case for Clarke to have won it in 2011 after his Open Championship win that came in the twilight of his career. But his efforts at the 2006 Ryder Cup in picking up three points after the passing of his wife Heather will also be fondly remembered.


4. Stephen Cluxton 

Despite a glittering career of eight All-Ireland titles, sixteen provincial wins and six All-Stars, Stephen Cluxton never got the nod. That famous game-winning kick against Kerry in the 2011 All-Ireland final could have had him in within a shout.

5. Colm Cooper 

'The Gooch' was a standout in Kerry's championship dominance between 2004 and 2009 - picking up four All-Ireland medals in a fine run. In 2004 he had a breakout year, winning the National League and scoring 1-5 in the All-Ireland final.

6. DJ Carey 

Two hurlers have picked up the award over the years but DJ Carey wasn't one of them. The Kilkenny legend won nine All-Stars and was the man of the moment in 2000 winning Hurler of the Year and his third All-Ireland.


7. Paul O'Donovan

A lot of people are peeved at not seeing Paul O'Donovan on this year's shortlist. In 2016 he was in the mix having won single sculls gold at the World Championships and an Olympic silver medal in the doubles.

8. Robbie Keane

You'd think 2002 would have been the year for Robbie Keane with his crucial goals in Japan and South Korea but the Republic of Ireland record goalscorer never won the award. Padraig Harrington was favoured for his Ryder Cup efforts that year.

Honourable mentions - Brian Fenton, Bríd Stack, Rena Buckley, Tommy Walsh, Damien Duff, Briege Corkery, Keith Wood, Peter Canavan, Cora Staunton, Jason Smyth, Sam Bennett.


See Also: The 2015 All-Ireland Final Summed Up The Brilliance And Absurdity Of Philly McMahon

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