SPORTS AWARDS: Coach Debbie’s ambition ‘Byrnes’ as brightly as ever

Michael Smyth, of sponsors Wrightbus, presents Debbie Byrne with the Coach of the Year award. INBT06-223AC
Michael Smyth, of sponsors Wrightbus, presents Debbie Byrne with the Coach of the Year award. INBT06-223AC

Debbie Byrne prowess in coaching Ireland’s young equestrian stars to more success on the international stage saw her win the Coach of the Year award for the second year in succession.

Debbie’s Irish Junior European Event team which followed up their success of 2013 by retaining the title, winning team gold and individual silver.

That ‘class of 2013’ has now progressed into the Young Rider category (under-21)and won team gold and individual bronze in Portugal in 2014.

The development of a system that nurtures both rider and horse to enable them to compete at international and European level is essential to their success.

“It is all down to commitment and development,” she said.

“There is a programme in place which they believe in, they have committed to it and the results are there to be seen.

“There is a consistency, a thread that runs through all the age groups and we are seeing the talent coming through.”

Debbie travels all over Ireland, coaching and mentoring, and her consistency in results is a testament to her passion and commitment.

“I love it. Maybe my family life suffers a wee bit during the summer but I try to make up as many Brownie points as I can during the winter!

“This year’s cycle starts again in a couple of weeks. The European event isn’t until August but the hard work has started already,” added Debbie.

Also short-listed: Gary Marshall (equestrianism); Sean O’Brien (Gaelic football).