Senior sports stars go for gold at awards

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Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre, rolled out the red carpet on Wednesday 28 March to welcome over 200 guests to the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Senior Sports Awards 2018 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 57 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 2017.

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, Alderman Gareth Wilson, 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 Chairman of the Sports Forum extended ther 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 Centre and each of the individual category sponsors.

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

Volunteer Awards sponsored by Raffles

Emmanuel Bell, Craigavon Cowboys American Football Club; Toni Hannigan, Banbridge Cycling Club; Joan Ross, Banbridge Special Olympics Club; Brian Campbell, Tullylish Gaelic Athletic Club; Andrea Wilson, Dromore Ladies Hockey Club; John McConville, Banbridge and Rathfriland Karate Club; Eileen McKinney, Armagh Special Olympics Swimming Club; Eilidh Gilmour, Portadown Panthers Learning Disability Tag Rugby Club.

Sports Person with a Physical Disability sponsored by Irwins Quality Aggregates
World bronze medallist Niall McVeigh from Banbridge District Badminton Club

Sports Person with a Learning Disability sponsored by Ulster Carpets
Special Olympics Winter World Games Silver and bronze medallist Cyril Walker from Ski Ability Northern Ireland

Senior Team of the Year sponsored by House of Sport, Intersport
Irish Senior Cup winners Waringstown Cricket Club’s Men’s 1st XI

Senior Coach of the Year sponsored by Sport Northern Ireland:
Irish Cup and League winning 1st XI head coach from Banbridge Hockey Club
Mark Tumilty

Club of the Year sponsored by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council
Tullylish Gaelic Athletic Club who developed their facilities and also excelled on the field reaching 8 championship finals.

Chairman’s Award sponsored by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Sports Forum:
Hanover Football Club

Service to Sport Award sponsored by Henry Murray & Co:
Greg Loughran, Craigavon Cowboys American Football Club; Collette McKeever, St Patrick’s Camogie Club, Keady; Gerald Beggs, Banbridge Cycling Club

Sportswoman of the Year sponsored by Rushmere Shopping Centre:
7th in the World University Games & Double Irish Champion Emma Mitchell from Queen’s University Belfast Athletics Club

Sportsman of the Year sponsored by Rushmere Shopping Centre:
Double World Cup Gold Medallist Mark Downey from Banbridge Cycling Club