Irish rugby star Rob Kearney has been announced as one of Louth’s People of the Year at a gala ceremony which took place in The Westcourt Hotel, Drogheda. The Louth People of the Year Awards, now in their twenty first year, are organised by Rehab and sponsored by Louth County Council, Nature's Best, The Argus, Drogheda Independent, Coca Cola, Apple Green, Wogan Interiors, BWG Value Centre, Oriel Autos and Rehab Bingo.
LMFM's Gerry Kelly was the host for the evening , with nine awards being presented to people who have made a significant contribution to local communities in Louth across a range of fields, from humanitarian and charitable causes to entrepreneurial initiatives. The overall winner was Colin Maher, founder of St John’s ambulance in Louth, with Rob Kearney receiving the Sports Person of the Year Award for his outstanding sporting achievements with both the Leinster and Ireland rugby teams. The Hall of Fame Award was presented to botanist, entomologist, author and radio broadcaster Éanna ní Lamhna for her lifelong contribution to wildlife.
Upon learning that he was to receive the award, Rob Kearney said, “I am very proud of being from Louth and to be recognised by my own county is a real honour. Although I play my rugby outside of the county, I actually got my love of sport playing GAA with Naomh Mhuire, and the Cooley Kickhams! I’d like to congratulate all the other winners whose work is making a real difference in communities across the county.”
Rob grew up in the Cooley Peninsula with his parents David and Siobhan Kearney and his younger brother David who now plays alongside his brother on the Leinster team. From a young age Rob was actively involved in Gaelic football, ultimately representing Louth at minor level. At Clongowes Wood College he also excelled at playing rugby and went on to represent the University College Dublin team while achieving a BA in Economics. Rob played for both Leinster and Ireland at schoolboy and U-19 level before going on to represent his provinces and country at a senior level.
Rob helped Leinster to victory in the Magners League in 2007-08 and the Heineken Cup in 2009 and 2011. 2009 was a great year for Rob who was part of the victorious Irish team that won the Six Nations Championship, Triple Crown and Grand Slam as well as being a member of the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa. He has made commendable use of his high media profile to lend his support to various charities including Dundalk Women's Aid and the Irish Cancer Society.
Speaking at the awards ceremony Mary Gamble, Rehab fundraiser, said, “These awards recognise the endeavours of both individuals and groups who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make a real difference in their local communities. Their tireless devotion to their chosen causes has not only changed lives but has enriched the areas where they live and work. Rob Kearney is a great inspiration and role model to young people in the county and these awards give us the opportunity to recognise that and to thank him.”
In Louth, Rehab provides services for 186 people with disabilities and others who are marginalised through its RehabCare resource centres and supported accommodation, and National Learning Network centre in Dundalk.