Castlerea native Lisa O’Rourke rounded off 2022 in style when she was honoured at the recent Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year Awards, following what was a memorable year for the Roscommon boxer.
In what was a fantastic year for Irish boxing, the achievements of O’Rourke and fellow boxer Amy Broadhurst, who shared the award, deserve special mention. Before the World Championships, Katie Taylor, Kellie Harrington and Michael Conlan had been Ireland’s only amateur world champions. Within the space of a half hour at the championships in Istanbul in May 2022, that number had grown to five, with the names of O’Rourke and Broadhurst being added to the list.
Before the championships, she said her expectations had been quite low: “My goal was, and I remember saying this to my older sister Aoife, that I wanted to win my first fight,” she said. “That’s all. Just going was such an achievement for me”.
Sister of another of Ireland’s finest fighters, Aoife O’Rourke, Lisa is a gifted sporting all-rounder, playing Gaelic football for her county, with a few basketball medals to her name too. In fact, shortly after returning from Istanbul, the versatile sportswoman inspired Roscommon to a 4-10 to 2-14 championship win over Kildare, scoring three points from play.
Both O’Rourke and Broadhurst collected prize money of $100,000 for their world title successes, which will be no small help in allowing them focus on their sport – although Lisa faces a challenge in the quest for Olympic qualification, with the weight category she fought in in Turkey not being included in the Paris programme. O’Rourke, who is recovering from a wrist injury, has indicated she is looking at moving down to that category, as sister Aoife competes at 75kg and also hopes to compete at Paris 2024.
O’Rourke and Broadhurst were presented with the Sportswoman of the Month award for May at a gala lunch in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin just before the Christmas break.