Over 445 people gathered at the Armagh City Hotel on Wednesday 28 September to celebrate what was an unforgettable year of sporting glory at a local level as the second Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Junior Sports Awards 2016 honoured the rising sporting stars of the Borough.
The prestigious event, which was compered by Joel Taggart from BBC Sport with special guests from the Belfast Giants, featured a total of 86 nominations, shortlisted across 12 categories. This wealth of talent demonstrated that the Borough has a vast, rich and diverse pool of young people who merit recognition for their outstanding sporting achievements and performances throughout 2015/2016.
The ceremony was hosted by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and was organised in partnership with Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Sports Forum. The evening brought together amateur athletes, coaches and volunteers recognising and rewarding their achievements and celebrating their commitment to and excellence in participation and performance.
Speaking to the young nominees at the awards the Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Garath Keating, said, “I am delighted to be here with you all this evening to celebrate your achievements. All of you are here because of your hard work, commitment and dedication which has enabled you to excel in your sport of choice. You are an inspiration to us all’.
The Sports Forum were overwhelmed by the volume of nominations and the exceptionally high standard which included Ulster, Irish, and Great Britain representation and competitors at European and World Level. Council and the Sports Forum extend their thanks to the headline sponsor for the event Forest Feast and to each of the individual category sponsors.
Tim McVicker, Commercial Director at Forest Feast, said: “Forest Feast was delighted to share in the achievements of all those involved in the ABC Junior Sports Awards – the young sports stars, their parents and the coaches that have supported them all on their journey to success.
“Supporting local organisations and encouraging young people to adopt healthier lifestyles is high on our list of priorities as a local company and employer but many of us are also parents ourselves, and we feel very passionate about supporting young people to get into sport and fitness. We want to again congratulate every junior athlete nominated and all those who won on the night and would like to wish them all the very best of luck in all of their future sporting sporting pursuits.”
The awardees recognised at this year’s awards ceremony include:
Volunteer Award (18 and Under) sponsored by Forest Feast: Courtney Morris from Banbridge & Rathfriland Karate Club; Matthew Wickham, Portadown Panthers Learning Disability Tag Rugby Club Shenna McKiverigan from Powerhouse Sport Cycling; Eva McIlroy with from Forest Feast and Belfast Giants Captain Adam Keefe.
Sports Person with a Disability sponsored by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craiagvon Borough Council: Winner of two Gold Medals and one Silver at the Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles Dearbhail Savage from Saddle & Reins Special Olympic Club with Councillor Garath Keating, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.
Junior Male of the Year sponsored by Rushmere Shopping: Double Irish Schools Champion in the 80 metres hurdles and triple jump Ethan Williamson from Clounagh Junior High School with Peter Beckett, ABC Sports Forum and Martin Walsh, Rushmere Shopping Centre.
Junior Female of the Year sponsored by Forest Feast: Double Gold Medallist at the WAKO European Championship, Kickboxing Champion Jesse-Jane McParland with Eva McIlroy, Forest Feast and Willie Gribben ABC Sports Forum.
Junior Club Team of the Year sponsored by Armagh Credit Union: Northern Cricket Union Cup Winners, Waringstown Cricket Club Under 11 Boys Team with Maurice Mayne, ABC Sports Forum and Kevin Powell, Armagh Credit Union.
Junior School Team of the Year sponsored by House of Sport: Ulster and Irish Schools Athletics Team Champions, Clounagh Junior High School with Aaron Findon, House of Sport and Dwyer O’Hagan, ABC Sports Forum.
School Coach of the Year sponsored by Sport Northern Ireland:
Ulster and All Ireland plus HDM European Schools Winners, Banbridge Academy’s Hockey Coach, Mark Cordner with Richard Bullick Sport NI and Councillor Paul Greenfield, Deputy Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon.
Club Coach of the Year sponsored by Sport Northern Ireland:
Multiple club individual medals at the Ulster and Irish Championships, and team success winning the Provincial Towns League Division 1 title, Banbridge Amateur Swimming Club Coach, David Wilson with Councillor Jonathan Buckley, Vice-Chair of Leisure & Community Committee and Richard Bullick, Sport NI.
Youth Male of the Year sponsored by Donaghy’s Shoefair Sports: Captain of the Ireland Team which competed in the European Under 18 Hockey Championships, Kyle Marshall from Banbridge Academy with Seamus McGrath, ABC Sports Forum and Anne Donaghy, Donaghy’s Shoefair Sports.
Youth Female of the Year sponsored by Armagh Sports and Trophies:
World Handball Champion was Megan McKenna who couldn’t be there on the night. Collecting on her behalf is Niamh McSherry with Anton Fields, Armagh Sports and Trophies and Lily Clifford, ABC Sports Forum.
Youth Club Team of the Year sponsored by Rushmere Shopping:
Winners of the Ulster Fred Daly Trophy, Tandragee Junior Golf Team with Martin Walsh, Rushmere Shopping & Adam Keefe, Belfast Giants.
Youth School Team of the Year Sponsored by Ian Donnelly Associates:
Ulster and All Ireland plus HDM European Schools Winners, Banbridge Academy Senior Boys 1st XI Hockey Team with Councillor Glenn Barr, Chair of Leisure & Community Committee and Ian Donnelly, Ian Donnelly Associates.
Chairman’s Award sponsored by Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Sports Forum Vice-Captain of the Ireland U15 Cricket team which won the European Under 15 Cricket Championships, Jack Carson of Waringstown Cricket Club with Edith Jamison, Joint Chair of ABC Sports Forum.