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Johnny Sexton Caps Astounding Year With RTE Sportsperson Of The Year Award

Johnny Sexton Caps Astounding Year With RTE Sportsperson Of The Year Award
By Gavin Cooney
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Jonathan Sexton's 2018 earned its final laurel tonight, as he was announced as the RTÉ Sport Sportsperson of the Year for 2018. The award follows weeks after he was crowned as World Rugby's Player of the Year.

Sexton won all there was to win this year - a Six Nations Grand Slam with Ireland along with a Pro14/European Cup with Leinster. In addition, he was part of an Irish team that beat the All Blacks in Dublin for the first time having already won a Test series against Australia in the Southern Hemisphere. The only game Ireland lost all year was the one Sexton didn't start: the first Test against the Wallabies.

Sexton finished ahead of a success-stuffed shortlist that featured Sinead Aherne, Thomas Barr, Brian Fenton, Kellie Harrington, Ellen Keane, Cian Lynch, Rhys McClenaghan, Ayeisha McFerran, Dominant Sanita Puspure, Davy Russell, Jason Smyth, and Katie Taylor.

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This year's award was picked by a panel of expert judges, having been awarded to James McClean on a public vote last year.

Rhys McClenaghan, meanwhile, won the Young Sportsperson of the Year award having become the first ever Irish gymnast to claim a European gymnastics medal by winning gold on the pommel horse in Glasgow.

The Manager of the Year award went to Irish hockey's Graham Shaw, having led the Irish women's team to an unprecedented appearance at the 2018 World Cup final. It's a considerable achievement made even more impressive by the quality of the field, with Shaw picked ahead of generation-defining coaches like Joe Schmidt and Jim Gavin.

The Team of the Year award, meanwhile, was decided by a public vote and went to the Irish hockey team.

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Elsewhere, Ray Houghton received the RTÉ Sport Hall of Fame Award, 30 years after sticking the ball in the English net.

See Also: What A Year! Here Are All The Irish Medals Our Sports Stars Have Won In 2018

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