Sport Lisburn and Castlereagh has paid tribute to local sporting talent during the 2019 Draynes Farm Sports Awards held at a prestigious ceremony at Lagan Valley Island, Lisburn.
The event, which was attended by over 200 guests, was hosted by Sports Journalist, Thomas Niblock and included an in depth interview with gymnast Rhys McClenaghan on his superb Commonwealth, European and Word Championship medal successes.
The Sports Awards recognise both individuals and teams from Lisburn and Castlereagh who have excelled in their chosen sport as well as individuals who have contributed to sporting success through coaching or as Club administrators. The aim of the event is to celebrate the immense sporting talent within the Council area and encourage greater participation in sport.
Boxer, Kurt Walker was named Sports Personality of the Year. This year, Kurt had a sensational year from winning a gold medal at the 2019 European Championships in Minsk to a spectacular display at the 2018 Commonwealth Games to obtain a silver medal. With his unanimous victory over Mykola Butsenko of Ukraine in the European Championships, Kurt has proven he can compete at the highest level against a group of very talented boxers. Crossfit Irish number 1 and Commonwealth Games athlete, Emma McQuaid was awarded second and Special Olympic World Games gold medallist, Sarah-Louise Rea third place in this category.
Junior Sports Personality of the Year was won by golfer Aaron Marshall who had an unstoppable year becoming Irish Boys’ Amateur Champion and securing a prestigious spot representing Great Britain and Ireland against Europe in the Jacques Leglise Trophy. Second place was presented to 800 metre athlete Victoria Lightbody who achieved 1st in the UK at under 16 level and 3rd in Europe, while third place was won by Taekwondo medallist Amy Stewart who impressively racked up over 20 medals this year.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, the Deputy Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Johnny McCarthy said: “It is a great honour to attend the 2019 Draynes Farm Sports Awards and recognise the wealth of sporting talent represented by teams and individuals from the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council area.
A wide range of sports are represented across all nominations, which highlights the diversity of sport within our Council area and the opportunities that are available to the local community to get involved in sport or try a new activity.
“I would like to thank gymnast Rhys McClenaghan for taking the time to attend the Sports Awards and I know listening to his story about his medal successes at the Commonwealth Games, European Championships and more recently the World Championships will provide great encouragement to the next generation who inspire to excel within their sport on a world stage.”
Alderman James Tinsley Chairman of the Council’s Leisure and Community Development Committee added: “Lisburn and Castlereagh has a proud history of sporting success and tonight we have celebrated the achievements of current sporting champions who have competed at national, Commonwealth, European and World Championship level which showcases the calibre of sporting talent in the Council area.
“Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council has endeavoured to support these teams and individuals who aspire to reach the highest levels of performance and competition but they also aim to encourage greater physical activity in the wider community by delivering programmes to help those wishing to improve their fitness or take part for the fun and enjoyment of sport.
“The Council takes pride in providing first class facilities for visitors and athletes such as Lagan Valley LeisurePlex and Dundonald International Ice Bowl. It also offers a varied programme of activities through the Council’s Sports Development Unit such as Couch to 5k, Parkrun, Bootcamps and the popular Lisburn Half Marathon which helps people take their first steps on the road to physical activity. This year the Council also launched their new Vitality Membership which offers households and individuals access to an extensive range of activities, classes and courses across all six of the Council’s leisure facilities which helps more people, get active more often.
“I would like to congratulate all the award winners for their achievements and to everyone behind the scenes for their commitment to sport within our local communities. I would like to thank Sport Lisburn and Castlereagh for their continued partnership with the Council and also local company, Draynes Farm, for generously sponsoring the event and acknowledging the important role sport plays in our area.”
Club of the Year was won by Simply Judo Club with City of Lisburn Salto Gymnastics Club taking 2nd place and Carryduff GAC third place. School Team of the Year was awarded to Lagan College Year 8 Football Team with Wallace High School Boys’ 1st XI Hockey Team taking second place and Ballymascash Primary School Girls’ Football Team securing third place.
Martin McGann from Lisburn City Swimming Club was presented with the Coach of the Year Award for his hard work and dedication developing the club. Second prize was awarded to Amy Irwin from Dundonald National Ice Skating Association and third place was shared with Abigail Hall from Ballymacash Rangers Youth Football Team and DJ Morgan from Carryduff GAC.
The Senior Team of the Year was won by Carryduff GAC Senior Male Football Team with Simply Judo Club Senior Team taking second place and Lisnagarvey Hockey Club Men’s 1st XI third place. St Joseph’s GAC U16 Boys’ Football Team was awarded first prize in the Junior Sports Team of the Year. Carryduff GAC U14 Girls’ Football Team achieved second place and ICAN Judo Youth Team a third place.
The Merit Award was presented to three individuals to recognise the essential and valuable service they provide to their clubs in the pursuit of success in their chosen sport. Awards were achieved by Jenny Cosgrove from Lisburn Triathlon Club, James Corry from Lisnagarvey Hockey Club and Garry McGuigan and Gavin Price from Lisburn Distillery Football Club.
Jimmy Walker, Chairman of Sport Lisburn and Castlereagh added his support for the event: “The Sports Awards evening is definitely one of the highlights of the year for Sport Lisburn & Castlereagh as it gives us the opportunity to recognise, honour and congratulate athletes, teams and coaches for their hard work and dedication to their chosen sport. We hope our nominees will inspire others to participate in sport and help develop sporting talent and healthier lifestyles in Lisburn and Castlereagh. Finally I would like to thank Draynes Farm for kindly supporting tonight’s event, and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council for its continuing funding support to Sport Lisburn and Castlereagh.”