Rugby hero inspired budding sport stars

A Rugby Union champion, once lauded as the world’s best tight-head prop, was guest-of-honour at Robert Gordon University’s sporting event of the year on Friday 20 April. 

Blues Ball 2012Paul Wallace - former Ireland player and British and Irish Lion - delivered a keynote speech to over 500 guests before presenting a series of awards at the RGU: SPORT Awards Ball, sponsored by international energy consultancy, Xodus Group.  

Throughout his sporting career, Paul has played for a variety of teams from varsity through to professional levels, winning a total of 46 caps for his country between 1995 and 2002.

Career highlights include touring South Africa in 1997 with the British and Irish Lions and representing Ireland in the 1995 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Since his retirement in 2003, Paul has become a mainstay commentator for Sky Sports, the Irish Daily Mail, Rugby World and Today FM’s The Last Word.

Hosted within the Garthdee-based sport facility, the RGU: SPORT Awards Ball is the highlight of the University’s sporting calendar which recognises and celebrates the achievements of sports clubs and talented individuals.

On the night, the main sports hall was transformed into a grand ballroom where guests settled down to an elegant three-course meal after the keynote speech and awards ceremony commenced.

The awards categories were: Full and Half Blues, Recognition Awards, Fresher of the Year, Sports Person of the Year, Best New Club, Most Improved Club, Presidents Performance, Club of the Year and Team of the Year sponsored by Kukri. 

Nicola Scott is currently in her second term as President of Sport and Physical Activity at the University - a position that includes taking a lead role in the organisation of the annual ball.  She said: “I’m delighted that Paul appearing as guest-of-honour at this year’s event. As an inspirational sportsman who has led a fantastic career on the field, his presence further boosted the excitement and energy on the night.

“In addition to being a fun evening for all attendees, the Ball was a great opportunity to thank Xodus Group and all the supporters, funders and volunteers who support the clubs, and make vital contributions to initiatives like Street Sport and the Sports Scholarship Programme. Their support is invaluable and allows us to foster a vibrant sporting community.”

A keen advocate of sports engagement, Xodus Group has supported RGU: SPORT scholar Hannah Miley throughout her rise in recent years, and continues to do so in her campaign for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  

Stephen Swindell, Chief Operating Officer at Xodus Group said: “We are very proud to have supported Hannah over the years as she has progressed to become the Olympic contender she is today. We wanted to get behind the RGU awards as they encourage and honour young sports people who have started from grassroots and could develop into the champions of the future.”

Hannah Miley, who was selected as Sports Person of the Year for the second year running, added: “The Sports Ball is a great opportunity for us to take a moment and look back at the achievements that we as a community have made throughout the year. Sports engagement, health and wellbeing are at the centre of the University’s ethos and I’m proud to be part of that.”

The winners on the night were as follows:

  • Fresher of the year-         Jamie Wilmshurst, Swimming & WP, Football
  • Sports Person of the Year-     Hannah Miley, Swimming
  • Best New Club-         Handball
  • Most Improved Club-     Squash
  • Presidents Performance-     Swimming, BUCS
  • Team of the Year-         Woman’s Football
  • Club of the Year-         Football


  • Recognition awards

NAME                SPORT   
David Fraser             Shinty
Sam Peacock             Squash
Amie Reid             Swimming and Waterpolo
Joanna Waite             Hockey
Logan Neave             Rugby
Joanna Geddes         Netball
Robert Kelly             Gaelic Football
Jamie MacDonald         Squash
Suzanne Byrne         Cheerleading
Calum Scott             Football
Calum Cruickshank         Football
Ashleigh Clark             Football
Patrick Fitzgerald         Gaelic Football
Ruth Wright             Rowing
Callum Johnson         Shelterstone
Steven Brown             Sport and Physical Activity
Melissa Hutcheon         Sport and Physical Activity

  • Half Blue Awards

NAME                SPORT
Callum Johnson         Shelterstone
Dayni McConnell         Shelterstone
Paul Kinnaird             Shelterstone
Craig Thomson         Swimming
Kelly McIntosh         Swimming
Lindsay-Jane Ackers         Squash
Tim Devine             Hurling
Rory Dunne            Hurling
Jenny Flannery         Camogie
Sam Lyon             Athletics
Sean Brindley             Athletics
Eimear Harding         Camogie
Edward McKenzie         Athletics
Dawn Chessor         Swimming
Gemma Collier         Football
Emily Blake             Archery
Christina Toomey        Shinty
Treasa Hurley            Shinty
Patrick Fitzgerald        Shinty

  • Full Blue Awards

NAME                SPORT       
Stuart McIntosh        Swimming
Tom McIntyre             Rowing
Lucy Bonnamy         Rowing
Lizzie Hughes             Swimming
Ambrose McCormack         Gaelic Football
Andrew McGovern         Swimming
Damien Curry             Gaelic Football
Odmar Faeroe         Football
Caitlin Sedgeworth         Rugby
Aurelie Bernadet         Table Tennis

Photo caption:
(From left) Paul Wallace, Nicola Scott (RGU President of Sport and Physical Activity), Filippo Antoniazzi (RGU Director of Sports), Hannah Miley.

Issued by:

Andrew Youngson
Communications Officer | Faculty of Health and Social Care

Robert Gordon University
AB10 1FR
Tel: 07921 587530