Ennis rewarded with AIRC’s top Lancelot Award

Tony Ennis was rewarded last Saturday when he became the latest recipient of the Association of Irish Riding Clubs Lancelot Award for his outstanding contribution to the Irish Sport Horse industry.

The news, which was greeted by a standing ovation from those present, was announced at the Lancelot Awards which took place at the Bloomfield House Hotel near Mullingar Co. Westmeath.

Ennis has given so much to the equestrian world through so many different avenues. He is ever present on the front line as a coach, trainer, dressage judge, show jumping judge and course designer, to name just a few.

Ennis has, and continues to work, tirelessly on various committees within various Equestrian organisations including the Horse Sport Ireland, The Irish Pony and the Association of Irish Riding Clubs.

Our recipient’s knowledge of the industry, be they technical or general, is second to none.

Tony, was taken unawares as the when his named was announced as he said afterwards, “it really was a huge surprise as I didn’t know an award was going to be presented today. Nobody ever said a word.”

“I grew up with the Association. I’ve been part of it for quite a long time and while lots of other people have come and gone, I’ve kind of stuck with it through thick and thin. I’m really there at heart for the ordinary person who think they don’t have a say but I’m there routeing for them all the way,” he added.

Four other awards were presented on the day with a jury and vote of registered clubs deciding the honours where Castle Carraig picked up two of those.

Castle Carraig's Margaret Corry accepts the Club Secretary of the Year Award from Helen Mangan, Honorary President
Castle Carraig’s Margaret Corry accepts the Club Secretary of the Year Award from Helen Mangan, Honorary President

The Clare based club received the much coveted Club of the Year award as just a few years ago it was nearly gone, only for a few members but in recent years it has bounced back. The club has recently secured a base for the next 5 years at the County Show Grounds, while it also purchased a set of grand prix jumps.

The clubs chairperson, Majella Collins said afterwards, “our members are delighted and thrilled to have won the Club of the Year award. It is a great honour to receive such a prestigious award and is recognition for all the hard work and dedication our members have committed to the Club.”

“In turn this award will inspire and motivate club members to continue to participate at A.I.R.C. events and to further enhance and the development of the club in the years ahead,” She added.

Meanwhile Margaret Corry picked up the clubs second award of the day from when she was named Club Secretary of the Year for her inspirational success in driving the club forward.

She was over the moon with the announcement, “I could not do it without our committee. I love the positive attitude they have and it spills all the way down to our members who are just so supportive.”

Elsewhere Caoilinn De Bairead was a popular winner of the Person of the Year Award. The Corrib member epitomises the ethos of the Association through her sportsmanship. Her bravery and courage, inspires many members throughout the country.

Corrib's Caoilinn De Bairead accepts the Person of the Year Award from Tony Ennis, AIRC chairman.
Corrib’s Caoilinn De Bairead accepts the Person of the Year Award from Tony Ennis, AIRC chairman.

De Bairead said, “I was very humbled when I read what my club had said in their nomination for this award. I would like to say a huge thanks to the Association for all that they do to facilitate the riding clubs and their many events. We have so much fun and enjoyment at these shows, there is always great camaraderie and team spirit.”

“Every day that I am riding my horse I feel so lucky and it is that joy which I hope keeps us all riding,” she added.

Adrienne Bogan, who is a long-time member of Carne Riding Club, received the Club Member of the Year award.

The Wexford resident was described as one of the hardest working members of the club as she is the first one at meetings, to enter events in the region, to come up with ideas for events, to text back when help is required or the one to take the photographs. Adrienne could not attend the awards on the day

The Lancelot Awards are presented annually by the Association of Irish Riding Clubs to recognise the sterling efforts of its members who regularly go beyond the call of duty in organising or helping at club, regional or national level.

For previous winners of the Lancelot Awards, click here

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