Borough’s senior sporting stars shine at awards

Staff Reporter

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The Belmont House Hotel, Banbridge, rolled out the red carpet on Thursday 3 March to welcome 150 guests to the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Senior Sports Awards 2022 sponsored by Ulster Carpets. The evening celebrated two years of sporting glory at a local level and paid tribute to the sports stars of the Borough.

The prestigious event, which was compered by Denise Watson from U105 Radio, featured a total of 39 nominations shortlisted across eight 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 the past year.

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 over a disruptive two years in the sporting calendar.

Addressing the award nominees, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Barr, said, “Events such as this demonstrate that our Borough really is home to some exceptional talent. Participating at the highest level requires dedicated determined effort, sacrifice and substantial support from backroom specialists, friends and family. The honour you have brought to the Borough through your success in sport is greatly appreciated by all of us and it is a pleasure for the Council to recognise your achievements through these Awards.”

The Sports 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, World and Olympic Level.

The Chairman 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 new headline sponsor Ulster Carpets and each of the individual category sponsors.

Special guest for the evening were the Borough’s Tokyo 2021 Olympians – Mark Downey, Russell White and Daniel Wiffen, with Philip Doyle unable to attend due to training commitments in Italy. The three athletes talked about the honour in representing Team Ireland and paid thanks to the Council for their support.

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

Volunteer Awards sponsored by Irwins Quality Aggregates

Shannon Russell-Cowan (Ballyvally Archers, Banbridge), Kathleen O’Hare (St Brenda’s Camogie Club, Ballymacnab), Mark Kendall (Banbridge Cycling Club), Mark Beattie (Portadown FC), Shaun Casey (Ballymacnab Round Towers GAC), Raymond Reid (Banbridge RFC), David Wellwood (Lurgan RFCC), Ashley Nesbitt (Armagh Special Olympics Swimming Club)

Sports Person with a Disability Sponsored by Rushmere Shopping Centre

Paracyclist Chris Burns from Banbridge Cycling Club who finished 11th at the UCI Paracycling World Cup as well as winning multiple Irish Titles.

Senior Team of the Year sponsored by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council

Dunbarton Bowling Club’s Over 55’s Rink who won both Irish and Private Greens Senior Fours Championships

Senior Coach of the Year sponsored by Sport Northern Ireland

Successful head coach of Clann Eireann GAC Senior Men’s Football team who won the Armagh Senior Championship Tommy Coleman.

Club of the Year sponsored by Campbell’s Eurospar

St Brenda’s Camogie Club, Ballymacnab who won the Senior, Minor and U16 Division 1 Championship, qualified 22 new coaches and initiated a community response to the pandemic setting up ‘Helping Hands’ delivering food and medicine to those most in need and secured funding to support those in financial stress.

Service to Sport Award sponsored by Kingspan Water & Energy Ltd

Stephen Curran (Banbridge Cycling Club), Joanne Morton (Longstone Riding for the Disabled), Hubert Watson (Dollingstown FC), David Dodds (Banbridge RFC)

Chairman’s Award sponsored by Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council

Banbridge Golf Club who have embraced a ‘One Club’ philosophy, and made huge progression in their 5 year plan driving forward a club that is fit for the future.

Sportswoman of the Year sponsored by Ulster Carpets

Armagh’s successful county captain Kelly Mallon who led the team to back to back Ulster Championships wins and won the Armagh Senior Championship with Armagh Harps in both 2020 and 2021. A dual player, playing Camogie for St Joseph’s, Kelly is also the All Ireland Road Bowls Senior Champion.

Sportsman of the Year sponsored by Ulster Carpets

Philip Doyle who made his debut Olympic appearance representing Team Ireland where he finished 10th in Double Sculls, and finished in 2nd place at the Rowing World Cup II

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