Local sporting heroes and accomplishments have been celebrated at the 2015 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.
Sport Northern Ireland was sporting partner of the prestigious ceremony, held at the Ramada Hotel Belfast, which recognised local sports superstars, emerging new talent, grassroots administrators and legendary figures from Northern Ireland sport.
Congratulating all winners and nominees, Sport Northern Ireland Chair Brian Henning said: “Sport Northern Ireland is once again extremely proud to support the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards as its sporting partner. 2015 was once again a fantastic and inspirational year and this event gives us the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the tremendous wealth of sporting talent from right across Northern Ireland.”
Several Sporting Ambassadors were among the winners at the ceremony, with Michael Conlan named Sports Star of the Year after an incredible year which saw him become the first Irish male to win a senior World Amateur Championship title. 2015 also saw the bantamweight winning Gold at the European Championships and securing qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics via the World Series of Boxing.
Another Sporting Ambassador and World Champion honoured at the Awards was Michael McKillop, who won the prize for Sportsperson with a Disability. The award followed Michael’s successful defence of his T37 1500m title at the IPC World Championships in Doha in October 2015, his sixth World Championship gold medal.
The Sport Northern Ireland-sponsored Local Heroes award went to handballer Aisling Reilly, and was presented to her by Sport NI Chair Brian Henning and Tyrone Manager Mickey Harte. Aisling enjoyed a glittering 2015, during which she won US Open and All-Ireland titles, as well as defending her World Championship title.
The Young Player of the Year, also sponsored by Sport Northern Ireland, was awarded to swimmer Conor Ferguson, who made massive waves in 2015 by scooping gold in the 100m backstroke at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa as well as silver in the 100m and 50m, having also picked up two silvers at the European Youth Olympics. Conor was presented with his award by Sport Northern Ireland Interim Chief Executive Arthur Scott and Olympic legend Dame Mary Peters. Conor’s fellow Commonwealth Youth Games Teammates were also recognised, with the Northern Ireland team being named Young Team of the Year.
After their historic Euro 2016 qualification, the Northern Ireland football team was also honoured, with the squad taking the Team of the Year prize, Captain Steven Davis winning the Malcom Brodie Player of the Year award, and Manager Michael O’Neill triumphing in the Coach / Manager of the Year Category. Another Northern Ireland footballing hero was honoured during the ceremony, with Martin O’Neill inducted into the Hall of Fame by fellow footballing legends Pat Jennings and Gerry Armstrong.
View the night in photos on our Facebook page
Full list of winners:
• Sports Stars of the Year: Michael Conlan
• Hall of Fame: Martin O’Neill
• Team of the Year: NI Football Team
• George Best Breakthrough Award: Iain Henderson
• Coach of the Year Award: Michael O’Neill
• Paddy Patterson Award: Danny O’Connor
• Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year: Steven Davis
• Local Heroes award: Aisling Reilly
• Sports Star with a Disability: Michael McKillop
• Special Recognition Award: Paul Hearty
• Special Recognition Award: Olivia Mehaffey
• Young Team of the Year: NI Commonwealth Youth Games Team
• Young Player of the Year: Conor Ferguson