Senior sports stars go for gold at awards

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Lord Mayor – Cllr Garath Keating Rory Best (Ireland Rugby Captain) Denise Watson (UTV Sport) Martin Walsh (Rushmere Shopping) Joint Chairs of Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Sports Forum, David Livingstone and Edith Jamison ©Edward Byrne Photography

The Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre, rolled out the red carpet on Thursday 30 March to welcome 200 guests to the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Senior Sports Awards 2017 to celebrate what was an unforgettable year of sporting glory at a local level and pay tribute to the sports stars of the Borough.

The prestigious event, which was compered by Denise Watson from UTV Sport, featured a total of 56 nominations shortlisted across 9 categories. The wealth of talent being honoured demonstrated that the Borough has a vast, rich and diverse pool of people who merit recognition for their outstanding sporting achievements and performances throughout 2016.

Organised in partnership with the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Sports Forum, the evening brought together athletes, teams, coaches, clubs and volunteers, recognising and rewarding their achievements and celebrating commitment and excellence in participation and performance.

Addressing the award nominees, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Garath Keating, said, “I’m delighted to be here with all of you to celebrate your success. Participating at the highest level requires talent and dedicated determined effort, sacrifice and substantial support from backroom specialists, friends and family. The Council and the Sports Forum are in awe of your achievements and we hope that you will enjoy this evening’s event which is in honour of everyone in the room.”

The Sport Forum were overwhelmed, not least by the number of nominations, but primarily by the exceptional high standard of achievement which included Ulster, Irish, and Great Britain representation, as well competing at European and World Level.

The joint Chairmen of the Sports Forum extended their thanks to the Lord Mayor for the support offered from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council which enables them to organise such important events and celebrate the sporting excellence across the Borough. They also paid thanks to headline sponsor Rushmere Shopping and each of the individual category sponsors.

The awardees recognised at this year’s awards ceremony are as follows:

Volunteer Awards sponsored by House of Sport, Intersport:
Kenny Boyes form Waringstown Cricket Club; Nicola McKiverigan from Cycling Ireland; Conall Coleman from Lurgan Golf Club; Matthew Bushby from Banbridge and Rathfriland Karate Club; Laura Hassan from Armagh Swimming Club and Anthony McGrath from Portadown Panthers Learning Disability Tag Rugby Club.

Club Innovation Award sponsored by Irwins Quality Aggregates:
North Armagh Motorcycle & Car Club – Off Road Section for innovating practices within the Club and the successful bid to host Round 1 of the Sidecarcross and Quadcross Championships

Sports Person with a Physical Disability sponsored by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council:
Niall McVeigh, European double silver medallist from Banbridge District Badminton Club

Sports Person with a Learning Disability sponsored by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council:
Tony Lunny, 7 times gold medallist from Salto Special Olympics Club

Senior Team of the Year sponsored by Henry Murray & Co:
All Saints Tullylish Bowling Club’s Rink Team who won the World Fours Championships

Senior Coach of the Year sponsored by Sport Northern Ireland:
Mark Tumilty, Head Coach of the successful Banbridge Hockey Club’s Men’s 1st XI

Service to Sport Award sponsored by Ulster Carpet:
Angela Toal from Clan-na-Gael Gaelic Athletic Club; Ivor Park from Banbridge Cycling Club; Leslie Matthews from Banbridge Town Football Club; Sheila Sinton MBE from North Armagh Motorcycle and Car Club Ltd; George MacCormac from Banbridge Rugby Club and Geraldine Hill from Banbridge Amateur Swimming Club.

Sportswoman of the Year sponsored by Raffles:
Olivia Mehaffey, European bronze medallist and 3rd in the World Amateur Golf Rankings from Tandragee Golf Club

Sportsman of the Year sponsored by Rushmere Shopping:
Eugene Magee, the Borough’s only 2016 Olympian and part of the successful Banbridge Hockey Club’s Men’s 1st XI

Chairmans’ Award sponsored by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Sports Forum:
Russell White who had a breakthrough year moving up the World Rankings and finishing an amazing 11th place finish in the World Triathlon Series in Leeds