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Woman Of The Year 2014 - Sport: A glam slam for the Ladies Ireland Rugby team

In Pictures: Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards 2014 RUGBY Close

Belfast Telegraph Sportswoman of the Year winner: Ulster players of the Ireland Women's Rugby  - Rosie Baxter, left, mother of Ashleigh Baxter collects award on behalf of the girls. Presented by: Squadron Leader Jacs Rankin, Executive Officer on 502 (Ulster) Squadron, RAF Reserves.

Belfast Telegraph Sportswoman of the Year winner: Ulster players of the Ireland Women's Rugby - Rosie Baxter, left, mother of Ashleigh Baxter collects award on behalf of the girls. Presented by: Squadron Leader Jacs Rankin, Executive Officer on 502 (Ulster) Squadron, RAF Reserves.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Overall winner  Una Crudden

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Overall winner Una Crudden

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Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner Una Crudden

Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner Una Crudden

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Deputy Editor Gail Walker addresses the Woman of the Year gala dinner

Deputy Editor Gail Walker addresses the Woman of the Year gala dinner

Guests listen as Deputy Editor Gail Walker opens the proceedings

Guests listen as Deputy Editor Gail Walker opens the proceedings

Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner Una Crudden with her daughter Lisa McGarry

Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner Una Crudden with her daughter Lisa McGarry

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner: Una Crudden with her husband Felix

Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner: Una Crudden with her husband Felix

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner: Una Crudden (second from right) with sponsor Siobhan McKeown and Chris Nelmes from The OUTLET and Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson

Overall Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year winner: Una Crudden (second from right) with sponsor Siobhan McKeown and Chris Nelmes from The OUTLET and Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with The Outlet, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Inspirational Woman of the Year Margaret McGuckin

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with The Outlet, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Inspirational Woman of the Year Margaret McGuckin

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Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with The Outlet, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Inspirational Woman of the Year Margaret McGuckin, centre, with Gemma Bell, Diageo, and Wendy Austin, left

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with The Outlet, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Inspirational Woman of the Year Margaret McGuckin, centre, with Gemma Bell, Diageo, and Wendy Austin, left

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Hair, Beauty and Fashion. Winner: Leisa Stafford (left)

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Hair, Beauty and Fashion. Winner: Leisa Stafford (left)

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Education. Winner: Mary Roulston (left)

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Education. Winner: Mary Roulston (left)

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Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in the Voluntary Sector. Winner: Rachel Smith (centre)

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in the Voluntary Sector. Winner: Rachel Smith (centre)

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Belfast Telegraph Businesswoman of the Year winner: Claire Hunter (left)

Belfast Telegraph Businesswoman of the Year winner: Claire Hunter (left)

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in the Arts. Winner: Sinead Morrissey (left)

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in the Arts. Winner: Sinead Morrissey (left)

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Woman of the Year in the Health Sector. Winner: Dr Madeleine Rooney (left)

Woman of the Year in the Health Sector. Winner: Dr Madeleine Rooney (left)

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Belfast Telegraph Mum of the Year winner: Catherine McFerran (left) at the  
Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Belfast Telegraph Mum of the Year winner: Catherine McFerran (left) at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Richard Kane and Leona Kane at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Richard Kane and Leona Kane at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Lisa and Glen McLarnon at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Lisa and Glen McLarnon at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Alison and Will Abernethy at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Alison and Will Abernethy at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Belfast Telegraph's editor Mike Gilson, Jan Jack and Siobhan McKeown at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Belfast Telegraph's editor Mike Gilson, Jan Jack and Siobhan McKeown at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Katie McKernan and Paul Stafford at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Katie McKernan and Paul Stafford at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Diane Baxter, Rosie Baxter and Hazel Whan at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Diane Baxter, Rosie Baxter and Hazel Whan at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland  -  27th February 2014 -  Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.

Siobhan McKeown, Sarah Weir and Karen McGarvey

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th February 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Siobhan McKeown, Sarah Weir and Karen McGarvey

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Siobhan McKeown, Sarah Weir and Karen McGarvey at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Siobhan McKeown, Sarah Weir and Karen McGarvey at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Kate Thompson, John Miskelly and Victoria Carrigan at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kate Thompson, John Miskelly and Victoria Carrigan at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Joanne Dobson and Chris Nelmes at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Joanne Dobson and Chris Nelmes at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Kathy O'Neill and Joanne Magee at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kathy O'Neill and Joanne Magee at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Katie Richardson and Holly Anne Lowden at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.

Katie Richardson and Holly Anne Lowden at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Joanne Uprichard, Irene Fitzsimons, Karen McGarvey, Pauline Moore and Sarah Little at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Joanne Uprichard, Irene Fitzsimons, Karen McGarvey, Pauline Moore and Sarah Little at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Cara Gribben, Emma Gribben and Sarah Gribben at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Cara Gribben, Emma Gribben and Sarah Gribben at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Cara Gribben, Maria Burke, Sharon Barrett, Emma Gribben and Sarah Gribben at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Cara Gribben, Maria Burke, Sharon Barrett, Emma Gribben and Sarah Gribben at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Elaine Waterworth, Chris Nelmes, Oonagh Haughian and Meilynn Cheung at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Elaine Waterworth, Chris Nelmes, Oonagh Haughian and Meilynn Cheung at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Mary and Norman Adams at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Mary and Norman Adams at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Alison and Will Abernethy at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.

Alison and Will Abernethy at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Noella McConnell Logue and Conor McCafferty at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Noella McConnell Logue and Conor McCafferty at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Tracy and Joe Donnelly at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Tracy and Joe Donnelly at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Education winner: Mary Roulston. Presented by D Sarah Little, Commercial Director, Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Education winner: Mary Roulston. Presented by D Sarah Little, Commercial Director, Belfast Telegraph

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Ramada Hotel staff at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.

Ramada Hotel staff at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Gemma Bell and Karen Laverty at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.

Gemma Bell and Karen Laverty at Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Shauna Ross and Francine Gormley at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.

Shauna Ross and Francine Gormley at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Violet Malcolmson and Karen Gamble at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Guests from Diageo. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Violet Malcolmson and Karen Gamble at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Guests from Diageo. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Melissa McCready - Shaw and Olivia Mehaffey at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Guests from Diageo. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Melissa McCready - Shaw and Olivia Mehaffey at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Guests from Diageo. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Eugene and Gerardine Kielt at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Guests from Diageo. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Eugene and Gerardine Kielt at the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Guests from Diageo. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Guests from Diageo. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Awards in Association with THE OUTLET, Banbridge at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Guests from Diageo. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

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Belfast Telegraph Sportswoman of the Year winner: Ulster players of the Ireland Women's Rugby - Rosie Baxter, left, mother of Ashleigh Baxter collects award on behalf of the girls. Presented by: Squadron Leader Jacs Rankin, Executive Officer on 502 (Ulster) Squadron, RAF Reserves.

When the ladies Ireland Rugby team made history last year by securing their first ever Six Nations Grand Slam win it was due in no small part to the contribution from a strong Ulster contingent.

The talent of local players Ashleigh |Baxter, Larissa Muldoon, Stacey-Lea Kennedy, Amy Davis, Grace Davitt and Lauren Day helped bring the 15-strong team their sweetest ever victory over Italy last March.

The girls were more than worthy winners of our Woman of the Year in Sport Award sponsored by RAF Reserves.

Their victorious team beat all the Home Nations in their opening three matches |of the RBS Six Nations before clinching |the championship with victory over France.

Then, in a magnificent clean sweep, they ended a glorious campaign with a hard-fought 6-3 victory over Italy in Milan to complete their historic Grand Slam.

Poignantly one player, Lauren Day, dedicated the victory to her late sister Channing, who was killed by insurgents in Afghanistan in October 2012.

Unfortunately the girls could not be there in person to pick up their award and the honour fell to Ashleigh Baxter’s mum Rosie who happily stepped onto the stage in their place.

With training for the World Cup this year, all of the girls are using their holidays to prepare for the matches and couldn’t attend.

Speaking on behalf of her teammates, Ashleigh Baxter said: “It was such a |surprise and an honour for us to win the award, especially when we heard who|the other nominees in our category were.

“We are very grateful for the interest the Belfast Telegraph has taken in our success last season and ongoing Six Nations this year.”

Through their historic achievement the girls have helped to lift the profile of |Ireland Rugby and boosted numbers taking up the sport in Northern Ireland, inspiring a whole new generation of young players.

And they have also been doing their bit off the pitch to give the sport a boost, touring local schools and colleges.

There are currently 14 clubs with a dedicated women’s section in Ulster Rugby with four clubs looking to set up women’s rugby in the 2013/14 season, largely due to the success of the local women at national level.

As a result of funding from the Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure, Ulster Rugby now has two designated female rugby officers to act as a point of contact for all inquiries relating to female rugby within Ulster.

‘It was such a surprise and an honour for |us to win the award, especially when we heard who the other nominees in our |category were’

Belfast Telegraph


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