Borough’s top talent honoured at ABC Senior Sports Awards
There was an overwhelming sense of pride at the ABC Senior Sports Awards last night (Wednesday 5 April) when 150 guests gathered at the Seagoe Hotel to honour the A-list of the local sporting community and celebrate their impressive achievements over the past year.
Organised by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Sports Forum and supported by headline sponsor Ulster Carpets, the gala awards ceremony was awash with glitz, glamour and gongs in celebration of the individuals, teams and clubs who had represented Ulster and Ireland at European, Commonwealth and world competitions. It also recognised coaches and volunteers who helped them achieve sporting success at the highest level.
The wealth of sporting talent in the borough was once again front and centre on the night with some 42 shortlisted nominees vying for an award across 10 categories.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Lord Mayor Councillor Paul Greenfield said: “As these awards demonstrate, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough has a proud tradition of producing great sportspeople.
Congratulations to all nominees on their sporting achievements and for showcasing the wealth of talent that thrives here. It takes dedication, determination and much personal sacrifice to become elite athletes, excel in major competitions and win championship titles.
You are all good role models to the next generation of athletes. The same can also be said for the coaches and volunteers for the work they do behind the scenes. Tonight we are all basking in the glory of your sporting success.”
Before the winners were announced, compere U105’s Denise Watson invited local Irish international hockey player Matthew Bell up on stage to share his inspirational journey of overcoming a brain tumour and getting back on the pitch playing for his home club, Banbridge. The audience heard how his passion for playing hockey spurred him on to make a full recovery.
The coveted Sportswoman of the Year Award went to Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls Team Member, Chloe Wilson from Portadown Ladies Bowling Club, who also won Team Gold at the European Championships.
Commonwealth Games silver medallist Daniel Wiffen scooped the Sportsman of the Year Award. He set numerous records including being the first Irish swimmer to break a European record and in the 4th fastest time ever in the short-course pool.
Dale Moore from Armagh Special Olympics Swimming Club, who won two gold medals at the Ulster Advancement Games, took home the Sports Person with a Disability Award.
Banbridge Rugby Football Club’s Mixed Ability Team, who were bowl winners at the International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament World Cup, clinched the Sports Team with a Disability Award.
Banbridge Bowling Club’s Pairs Team, Jack Moffett and Kyle Blakely, were crowned the winners of the Senior Team of the Year. They were both the Northern Ireland Bowling Association’s Pairs Champions and the Irish Bowling Association’s Open Pairs Champions. The duo will now go on to represent Ireland at the British Isle Championships.
The Club of the Year Award went to St Peter’s Athletic Club. It organises the weekly Junior Park Run in Lurgan Park, hosted the ‘Rock the Lough and Lakes Festival’ and have had individual and team success. The also put members through their coaching qualifications.
Head coach of Craigavon Aztecs Volleyball Club’s Senior Men’s Team, Callum Grieve, won the Senior Coach of the Year Award. He was instrumental in helping the team win the Northern Ireland Premier League and League Cup. He is also Interim Head Coach of the Northern Ireland Senior Men’s Volleyball Team.
Declan Maher from Sean Treacy’s Hurling Club and Dorothy Johnston from Dots Swim Club and Lough Neagh Monster Dunkers took home a Service to Sport Award.
The Chairman’s Award went to Commonwealth Games cyclist Matthew Teggart from Banbridge Cycling Club, who narrowly missed out on a medal in the Road Race event but won both the Irish National Road Race Series and the Sprint competition at the Tour of Britain.
A Volunteer Award was presented to Kathryn Morton (Ballyvally Archers, Banbridge), Gavin Duffy (Gilford Amateur Boxing Club), Neil Teggart (Banbridge Cycling Club), Mary McMahon (Sean Treacy’s Hurling Club), Teresa McDonnell (Banbridge and Rathfriland Karate Club), Matthew Potts (Portadown Rugby Football Club) and Chris Judge (Lough Neagh Monster Dunkers).
Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Sports Forum Chairman, Cathal O’Neill, thanked ABC Council for the support in organising the awards along with the individual category sponsors and the Ulster Carpets.