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Billy Coleman Award

Posted: December 1, 2004 1:38 PM - 7329 Hits

Young Rally Driver Of The Year Title For Monaghan’s Eamon McElvaney

Billy Coleman presents the Coleman Award to Eamon McElvaney
Photo: motorsportireland.com

Irish Motorsport honoured its top performers for 2004 at a celebration lunch held in Dublin earlier today (Tuesday, 30th November, 2004). The “ Awards for Excellence in Irish Motorsport” event which brought together the leading performers from all disciplines in Irish motorsport was created by the sport’s governing body Motorsport Ireland and sponsored by Alfa Romeo.

Posted: December 1, 2004 1:38 PM

In all seven awards were presented to reflect outstanding achievement in karting, motor racing and rallying both at home and abroad during 2004.

The two major awards on the day went to the Young Rally Driver of the Year and the Young Racing Driver of the Year, both of whom received support packages of €32,000, each made up of a mix of training and finance. Twenty year old Monaghan born Eamon McElvaney became the fifth winner of the Billy Coleman/Young Rally Driver of the Year Award. He follows in the footsteps of 2003 winner Dessie Keenan, also from Monaghan.

Eoin Murray from Firhouse in Dublin took the Dunlop Sexton Trophy and the accolade of “Young Racing Driver of the Year” for the second year running.

The full list of awards presented at the Alfa Romeo/Motorsport Ireland Awards for Excellence in Irish Motorsport were as follows;-

· Craig Breen, Junior Kart Champion
· Aaron Coby, Irish Kart Champion
· Niall Maguire, Dunlop National Rally Champion
· Eoin Murray, Dunlop Young Racing Driver of the Year
· Eamon McElvaney, Young Rally Driver of the Year
· John O’Hara, International Driver of the Year
· Alec Poole, Hall of Fame Award

The Billy Coleman Award which consists of a support package of €32,000 is supported by the Irish Sports Council, Motorsport Ireland and Rally Clubs from all over the country. The winner of the award Eamon McElvaney, in his first year in rallying swept all before him with five class wins during the season and a string of highly impressive overall finishes in Limerick, Mayo, Sligo and Monaghan.

This is the fuorth year for the Young Racing Driver of the Year to carry a support package of €32,000. This package consists of finance and training and is funded by Irish Dunlop, the Irish Sports Council and Motorsport Ireland. Eoin Murray, 21 who won the award for the second year in succession, is widely acknowledged to be one of the most talented young racing drivers in the country. First shortlisted for this title in 2002 and taking the award for 2003, Murray had a hugely successful season racing in Europe in 2004. Competing in the highly competitive European Alfa Challenge Championship he had two wins a second and two third place finishes in the eleven races in which he competed.

The award for International Driver of the Year went to John O’Hara who has performed superbly in the Asian Formula 3 Championship all season. Going into the last series of races he lies second to Christian Jones son of former Formula One champion Alan Jones.

This year’s Hall of Fame Award went to Alec Poole who has been involved with Motorsport for over 40 years. Very much associated with Paddy Hopkirk with whom he finished second in the 1968 London – Sydney Marathon, he was British Touring Car Champion in 1969. He finished third in the famous Daytona 24 Hours in 1978 before leaving Motorsport to concentrate on rugby in 1979. In 1994 he came back to successfully manage a number of young drivers and to become Touring Car Coordinator at Nissan Motorsports.

At the lunch Niall Maguire was presented with his Dunlop National Rally Championship Trophy. This was the third time for the Monaghan man to take the title having previously been victorious in 1999 & 2002. For co-driver Paul McLaughlin it was a second title having previously won with Maguire in 2002.

The other awards on the day were the presentation of season championship awards to karting drivers Craig Breen (Junior Kart Champion) and Aaron Coby (Irish Kart Champion).

Speaking at the Awards luncheon John Naylor, Chairman of Motorsport Ireland spoke of Ireland’s increasing pool of young talent which during 2004 registered successes all over the world.

He paid tribute to the involvement of the Irish Sports Council not alone for their support of the Young Racing Driver and the Young Rally Driver schemes but also for their encouragement in setting up training courses for officials and even more importantly for their involvement in the recent initiative whereby all new entrants to the sport will take part in an Introduction to Motorsport Course. In that context he also paid tribute to the work of the National Coaching and Training Centre that had been instrumental in training the tutors and ultimately the coaches required to administer the new scheme.


The first presentation of the day is for the 2004 Irish Junior Kart Champion. It goes to a young man who has had an exceptional year in 2004.

He began his career in karting at the age of eight. Now 14, over the last year he won the Motorsport Ireland National Championship title as well as further titles in the Southern and the Munster.

He finished second in the IKC and was third in the Meath.
For his exceptional season he receives the Neil Shanahan Trophy plus a cheque for €1,000

Our second presentation goes to another young man who again had an exceptional year in 2004. He has been karting for five years.

Over the past year he has won three titles. As well as winning the overall Motorsport Ireland National Championship he also won the IKC and the Southern Karting Club Championships. Next year he intends to compete in Formula A in the Super 1 Series in the UK.


Our third presentation is to the winners of this year’s Dunlop National Rally Championship.

Our winners are, of course, Niall Maguire and co-driver, Paul McLaughlin.

This year Niall became the first man ever to win the National Rally Championship three times. When you add in a couple of years where he was “only” runner-up you are looking at the man who has dominated the Championship over the past six years.


Our next category is International Racing Driver of the Year with our winner receiving the Manley Memorial Trophy. Each year the winner of this award is chosen by the members of the Irish motorsport media.

The winner for 2004 is a man who really took a major step into the unknown in 2004 heading off to contest the Asian Formula Three Championships.

Such has been the measure of his success that next weekend he goes into the final series of races in second place in this hugely prestigious championship.


Our next award for the Young Racing Driver of the Year brings with it the Dunlop Sexton Memorial Trophy and the €32,000 support package courtesy of the Irish Sports Council, Irish Dunlop and Motorsport Ireland.

As in previous years there were six young drivers nominated for this award each being selected as a Young Racing Driver of the Month. From the six three candidates are shortlisted. They then had to go to Mondello to undertake a skills test as part of the judging for the award.

Happily Martin Donnelly was on hand once again to help us with the judging of the skills test and his input was hugely important.

The good news is, of course, that all our three shortlisted drivers receive financial support. Paddy Hogan, Emmet Queenan and Eoin Murray were the three shortlisted drivers.

And our winner is a young man who this man has once again raised the bar with his performances in the European Alfa Challenge.

For the second year in a row the Young Racing Driver of the Year and the winner of the Dunlop Sexton trophy is Eoin Murray.

Which brings us to the Billy Coleman Award. This award which again brings with it €32,000 in a support package for our winner is funded by the Irish Sports Council, by many of our rally clubs and also by Motorsport Ireland.

In all there were 14 candidates for the award with the judging panel shortlisting three candidates.

Once again I would like you to offer a round of applause for our shortlisted three all of whom are winners as all will benefit from financial support. That shortlist is Eamon McElvaney, Brendan Murphy and Peter Wilson.

There can be, of course, only one winner and he a young man who in his first season’s rallying has had a phenomenal year. With five wins during the season he could hardly have done better.


When Motorsport Ireland decided to instigate these awards they felt that each year one of the awards should go to an Irish person who has achieved outstanding success in motorsport down through the years.

Our winners to date have, of course, been Derek Daly, Rosemary Smith, Michael J Roe and Billy Coleman.

This year our winner has had a an equally distinguished career, or perhaps that should be a number of careers in that he competed most successfully in the sport before leaving us to become involved in rugby and then returning in a more management role in motorsport where he is still successful today.

He has actually been involved with motorsport for over 40 years. He was initially very much associated with Paddy Hopkirk with whom he finished second in the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon. In 1969 he was British Touring Champion while in 1978 he finished third in the famous Daytona 24 hour race.

Leaving the sport to concentrate on rugby in 1979 he returned in the early nineties to successfully manage a number of young drivers and to become Touring Car Coordinator at Nissan Motorsports.

Young Rally Driver of the Year to be Announced on 30th November.

Three of Ireland’s brightest young rally driving hopes have been shortlisted for this year’s Billy Coleman Award which goes to the “Young Rally Driver of the Year” along with a support package worth E32,000. The winner will be announced at the Alfa Romeo sponsored Awards for Excellence in Irish Motorsport lunch which will be held on Tuesday, 30th November.

The three drivers shortlisted for the award are;-
  • Eamon McElvaney, Castleshane, Co Monaghan
  • Brendan Murphy, Mallow, Co. Cork
  • Peter Wilson, Kells, Co Meath
The three were selected from a group of 14 finalists for this year’s award.

The other finalists all of whom were highly commended were;-
    Daniel Barry, Co. Wicklow
    Roland Doherty, Co.Limerick
    Enda Hallinan, Co.Galway
    James Kevin Kelleher, Co. Cork
    Stephen Mc Grath, Co. Cork
    Owen Murphy, Co. Cork
    Emily O’Mahony, Co. Cork
    Andrew Purcell, Co. Waterford
    Graham Quinn, Co. Meath
    James Stafford, Co. Wexford
    Willie Whitty, Co. Wexford

List of Candidates for Billy Coleman Award
1 Emily O'Mahony, Co Cork
2 Brendan Murphy, Co Cork
3 Daniel Barry, Co Wicklow
4 Peter Wilson, Co Meath
5 Eamon Mc Elvaney, Co Monaghan
6 Owen Murphy, Co Cork
7 James Kevin Kelleher, Co Cork
8 James Stafford, Co Wexford
9 Stephen Mc Grath, Co Cork
10 Willie Whitty, Co Wexford
11 Enda Hallinan, Co Galway
12 Roland Doherty, Co Limerick
13 Andrew Purcell, Co Waterford
14 Graham Quinn, Co Meath

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