Rugby ace chosen as overall winner in Sports Awards
The Westmeath Independent Sportsperson of the Year award winner for 2020 is rising rugby star Béibhinn Parsons.
Parsons was chosen for the award by virtue of the sensational impact she made for the Ireland women's rugby team last year.
Béibhinn is the third female winner of the overall award in a row, as she follows in the footsteps of fellow rugby international Michelle Claffey (2018) and Athlone showjumping star Katie Derwin (2019).
Parsons is the youngest player to be capped by Ireland at senior level in either men's or women's rugby, at the age of 16.
She began her rugby career with Ballinasloe RFC and now plays with Blackrock College and Connacht.
Béibhinn's amazing intercept try against Scotland was one of the highlights of Ireland's 2020 Six Nations campaign. The talented winger showed her pace by running almost the entire length of the field to score a try which proved crucial to Ireland's victory over the Scots.
The Ballinasloe native enjoyed a tremendous season with Ireland and, balancing international rugby with her studies, she scored three tries during the 2020 Women’s Six Nations.
Despite having to opt out of part of the Six Nations to concentrate on preparations for her Leaving Cert, Béibhinn was awarded Rugby Writers of Ireland Women’s Player of the Year.
Béibhinn (now 19) is part of the Ireland women's squad which is currently preparing for the rescheduled 2021 Six Nations competition.
Ireland are due to start their campaign away to Wales this Saturday, April 10 (kick-off 5pm), with a home game against France at Energia Park to follow a week later.
A daughter of Evelyn and Vincent Parsons, Béibhinn is now studying Biomedical Science at UCD, and she is a past pupil of Ardscoil Mhuire, Ballinasloe.
Westmeath Independent Sports Awards - previous overall winners
2006: David Flynn
2007: Liam Heavin
2008: John Keane
2009: Joe Ward
2010: Joe Ward
2011: Dessie Dolan
2012: Mark Rohan
2013: Robbie Henshaw
2014: Robbie Henshaw
2015: Joe Ward
2016: Robbie Benson
2017: Martin Ward
2018: Michelle Claffey
2019: Kate Derwin
The 2020 Westmeath Independent Sports Awards were broadcast online (due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions) last Friday night. The event was supported by the sponsorship of Action Physio, Byrne Carolan Cunningham Solicitors, Baysports and the Shamrock Lodge Hotel.
See more about the Westmeath Independent Sports Awards in this week's print edition.
WATCH - Click below to watch the awards ceremony, including an interview with Béibhinn Parsons: