Paul Kimmage at this afternoon's announcement on Dawson St, Dublin. INPHO/Billy Stickland

'Engage' takes top Irish sports book award for Hampson and Kimmage

Paul Kimmage is first author to win Irish and international William Hill prize for his book with former English rugby international.

‘ENGAGE – THE FALL and Rise of Matt Hampson’ has won this year’s Irish Sports Book of the Year award.

The Paul Kimmage-penned book came out on top ahead of runners-up, “Life, Death and Hurling” by Michael Duignan and“One Hell of a Ride” by Paul Carberry.

It means Paul Kimmage is the first to win both the Irish and International William Hill award, which he won for “A Rough Ride” in 1990.

Engage focuses on the life of former English rugby international Matt Hampson who was paralysed from the neck down after a scrum collapsed during an England U-21 training session in 2005.

The book charts Hampson’s promising career alongside the likes of Jonny Wilkinson through his rehabilitation and into this chapter of his life.

“The writing of ‘Engage’ pushed me to the brink of insanity but the response has been fantastic and I’m thrilled to have won,” said Kimmage.

“I’m thrilled for myself, obviously, but mostly for my friend, Matt Hampson, whose guts and courage and unique sense of fun, inspires me every day.

“Over the last few weeks, we’ve had tons of newsprint devoted to the tragedy of sport stars who choose death but almost nothing devoted to those like Matt who choose life…Funny old game.”

Matt Hampson added: “Engage is not just my story it is also my families, close friends and other people who have been spinally injured. Paul and I would like to dedicate this award to the late Stuart Mangan an inspirational friend of mine who I’m sure as a proud Irishman would have been delighted by this achievement.”

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