When the RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year nominees were announced in early December, there were some notable absentees from the list. Gary O'Donovan, one half of the Irish Olympic silver medal-winning rowing team was not among the 12 names. Neither was Thomas Barr, the 400m hurdler who came within 0.05 of winning an Olympic medal. Barr was the first Irish athlete to reach an Olympic sprint final in 84 years.
The Waterford man says that he did not take his omission personally, but many did on his behalf. Though he appreciates such recognition, awards like RTÉ's are not why he got into sport. People telling him that his performance at the Rio Games inspired them means much more.
Barr says that due to the amount of sports which have to be recognised in this country, the number of Olympic sports on the list was limited just to medal winners Paul O'Donovan and Annalise Murphy. Paul O'Donovan also won gold at the World Rowing Championships and so was nominated without his brother.
There's so many sports in Ireland that they have to recognise. I think they [RTÉ] combined all of the Olympic events and sports into the one.
Obviously, the guys [Paul O'Donovan and Annalise Murphy] got medals and they got nominations. I'm not bitter over it or anything.
Barr believes that in future, especially in an Olympic year, the award should be broken into two categories, those who compete at a national level and those who compete internationally.
I think what might be a good idea, especially in an Olympic year, would be splitting it between national and international.
When you're talking about GAA - which I have no problem with, they're our national sports, they have to recognise their achievements - it's difficult to compare something that happens on a national level, like the All-Ireland final, to something in the Olympics where you're competing against the entire world.
It's difficult to compare the two and say, 'This is obviously better than that', when they're on completely different spectrums.
The 5th annual Affidea Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon was launched this week by radio DJ Louise McSharry and Olympic hero Thomas Barr. One of Ireland’s largest running events, which saw record number of entries last year, returns to the streets of Dublin's City Centre on 12/13 of August 2017.