Over 445 people gathered at the Armagh City Hotel on Wednesday 30 September to celebrate what was an unforgettable year of sporting glory at a local level as the inaugural Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Junior Sports Awards 2015 honoured the rising sporting stars of the Borough.
The prestigious event, which was compered by Denise Watson from UTV Sport with local Irish Hockey International Eugene Magee as special guest, featured a total of 66 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 2014/2015.
The ceremony was one of the first major awards events for the new Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough and was organised in partnership with Armagh Sports Forum, Banbridge District Sports Association and Craigavon Sports Advisory Council.
The evening brought together amateur athletes, coaches and volunteers from 31 disciplines, recognising and rewarding their achievements and celebrating commitment to and excellence in participation and performance.
Speaking to the young nominees at the awards Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Darryn Causby, said: “It is an honour to be here with you this evening to celebrate your achievements. Each of you are here because your dedication, commitment and hard work have enabled you to excel in your sport of choice. You are a credit to the Borough and an inspiration to us all.”
The Joint Sports Advisory Committee 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.
In a joint statement, the Chair of each of the three Sports Advisories extended their thanks to the Lord Mayor and to the support offered from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council which enables them to organises such important events celebrating the sporting excellence across the Borough. They also wanted to pay thanks to headline sponsor Linwoods and each of the individual category sponsors.
Full list of winners below gallery
The awardees recognised at this year’s awards ceremony include:
Volunteer Award (18 and Under) sponsored by Linwoods:
Rachel McDonnell from Banbridge and Rathfriland Karate Club; Alana Kerr from Banbridge Netball Club; and Orla Young from Armagh Special Olympics Swimming Club.
Sports Person with a Disability sponsored by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craiagvon Borough Council :
Joint winners from Ski Ability – Caolan McConville and Jonathan Lyness who were gold medallists at the Giant and Novice Slalom advancement competitions.
Junior Male of the Year sponsored by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council:
Ballyvally Archer Jake Walsh who finished 2nd in the Europa Cup.
Junior Female of the Year sponsored by Rushmere Shopping:
World Kickboxing Champion Jesse-Jane McParland.
Junior Club Team of the Year sponsored by Raffles:
All Ireland Handball Champions Clann Eirean GAC – U14 Doubles Team.
Junior School Team of the Year sponsored by House of Sport:
Ulster Primary School’s McGreevy Cup winners St Patrick’s Primary School, Armagh, Gaelic Football Team.
Youth Male of the Year sponsored by Donaghy’s Shoefair Sports:
European Silver medallist from Banbridge Cycling Club – Mark Downey
Youth Female of the Year sponsored by Armagh Sports and Trophies:
Irish, Scottish and Welsh Open Champion and Youth Olympic Games competitor – Tandragee Golf Club’s Olivia Mehaffey.
Youth Club Team of the Year sponsored by Rushmere Shopping:
UK Novice Eventing Champions – Iveagh Branch of the Pony Club.
Youth Club Team of the Year Sponsored by Ian Donnelly Associates:
Ulster School’s Burney Cup winners and Irish School’s semi-finalists – Banbridge Academy 1st XI Boys Hockey Team.
School Coach of the Year sponsored by Sport Northern Ireland:
Dromore High School’s Rugby Coach – Jacques Benade
Junior Club Coach of the Year sponsored by Sport Northern Ireland:
Banbridge and Rathfriland Karate Club’s Kevin Broderick
Chairman’s Award sponsored by Armagh Sports Forum, Banbridge District Sports Association and Craigavon Sports Advisory Council:
Ballyvally Archer Rebecca Lennon