|Success Shines on District’s Senior Sports Stars|
09 March 2012
The district’s top sportsmen and women gathered at the Belmont Hotel on Wednesday 7 March for the annual Senior Sports Awards ceremony.
Over 170 guests attended the prestigious sporting event to honour the winners in each of the nine categories as they received their awards from Yvonne Jackson from Donaghy Shoefair Sports and Alison Wilson from Banbridge District Sports Association.
Compère for the evening was Denise Watson, sports presenter with BBC NI.
Speaking at the awards, Alison Wilson, Chairman of Banbridge District Sports Association, said: “These awards enable us to showcase some of the best sporting talent in the Banbridge District. I congratulate both the nominees and award winners who have excelled in their chosen sports and have shown great dedication and commitment to achieving sporting excellence.”
The award winners recognised at the event for their outstanding sporting achievements in 2011 were:
Special Olympic Athletes of the Year
Denise Fegan and Philip Patton were named joint winners at the event for winning gold medals at the Area Aquatic Games 2011.
Sportswoman of the Year
The winner was British Archery Field Champion, Valerie Sleith. Runner-up was Ulster Rugby and Down Senior Ladies footballer, Eliza Downey.
Sportsman of the Year
The winner was European Archery Field Championships bronze medallist, Mark Nesbitt. Runner-up was Irish U23 Time Trial Champion cyclist, Sean Downey.
Team Player of the Year
Banbridge Hockey Club’s Bruce McCandless won the award in this new category after having a very successful year with the Men’s 1st XI.
Senior Team of the Year
This was awarded to Banbridge Men’s Hockey Club 1st XI who were winners of the Kirk Cup, runners-up in the Ulster Premier League and winners of the Irish Hockey League Trophy which qualified them for the European Hockey League.
Club of the Year
Banbridge Rugby Football Club have a strong junior and senior section with over 340 members, fielding five senior and four junior teams plus a thriving mini section. In 2011 the club had five players on the Ulster Squad and one player on the Irish Squad, the highly regarded hooker Rory Best. They have their own facilities which they are continually developing. In 2011 they achieved success in both the junior and senior sections. The biggest achievement of the year was when the 1st XV reached the final of the Ulster Senior Cup for the first time in their 85-year history.
Coach of the Year
Mark Tumilty who coaches Banbridge Hockey Club’s Men’s 1st XI won this award after the team had an exceptionally successful year.
Service to Sport
Pat McFlynn from Tullylish GFC won this award after devoting almost 75 years service to Gaelic football.
Lindsay Corkin Award for Special Achievement
Annaclone Ladies Senior Gaelic team, who were crowned Senior Down Champion for the first time in the club’s 17-year history, won this award.