2009 European indoor bronze medallist Mary Cullen was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the inaugural Ocean FM Sports Awards that took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa in Sligo on Saturday night.
The Sligo woman attended the awards ceremony expecting to present an award but was left completely shocked when it was announced that she would be entering the Hall of Fame.
“It was such a lovely night and I felt very honoured that Ocean FM Sport gave me such an award,” Cullen said.
“It was a lovely surprise. I genuinely thought I was there to present an award. Thank you to all my family for coming to support me, the amazing crowd who gave me such love on the night and all the amazing, kind, loving messages I have received since. It will take me a while to get back to everyone.”
Mary Cullen inducted into Hall of Fame
Cullen had a memorable career representing Ireland with distinction down the years.
She is widely regarded as one of if not the greatest Irish athlete not to make the Olympic Games, having been blighted by injury setbacks on several occasions.
In 2019 she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer while pregnant with her son Ellis. She had surgery at 13 weeks, before giving birth at 32 weeks.
Later in the year she travelled to Germany where she underwent 36 rounds of proton radiation therapy and six weeks of chemotherapy.
It is fair to say that she is both a warrior on and off the track.
Eamonn Harvey from Tír Chonaill AC was also honoured on the night as he won Volunteer of the Year.
There was no joy for Chris O’Donnell (North Sligo AC), Kelly McGrory (Tír Chonaill AC) or Seamus Somers (Sligo AC).
O’Donnell, who helped the Irish Mixed 4x400m team reach the world final in Budapest, had been nominated for Male Sportsperson of the Year which was won by jockey Derek Fox.
McGrory, who also made a world final in the Women’s 4x400m relay, had been nominated for the Female Sportsperson of the Year award which was won by swimmer Mona McSharry.
McSharry would also win the Sports Personality of the Year award, which Seamus Somers had been nominated for.
A fantastic achievement nonetheless for all three to be nominated.