Ireland and Ulster rugby star Jacob Stockdale has capped a stand-out year by being named BBC Sport NI Sports Personality of the Year.
Although he has some unfinished business with Ulster before the end of the year, the Newtownstewart-born man has had an impressive year.
The 22-year-old made a huge impact on the international scene, scoring a record breaking seven tries in the Six Nations as Ireland claimed a third Grand Slam.
Stockdale was named player of the tournament and played a key role in the summer series victory over Australia.
He finished an unforgettable year with the only try of the game in Ireland’s historic victory over New Zealand in Dublin.
Stockdale edged out four time World Superbike Champion and 2017 winner Jonathan Rea, and Ireland women’s hockey hero Ayesha McFerran to the main award after another 12 months to savour in local sport.
Jane Tohill, Executive producer, BBC Sport NI said: “In another exceptional year for Northern Ireland sport, the quality of the sportsmen and women in contention was of the highest standard, but the panel felt that the historic nature of Jacob’s remarkable exploits in 2018 set him aside.
“He is a worthy winner of the award, following in the footsteps of the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jonathan Rea, Sean Cavanagh, Margaret Johnston, Carl Frampton and David Healy.”
Stockdale, a former Wallace High School pupil and the ambassador of Lurgan Tigers mini rugby, said: “It is a massive honour and totally unexpected.”
He went on: “I am incredibly thankful for getting picked.
“It has been a very fast moving year from start to finish, but it’s been really, really enjoyable.
“There have been a lot of big games in there that I feel really lucky to have been a part of.
“I actually thought if I was making the bench with Ireland at the start of this year I would be doing well,” Stockdale confessed.
“Obviously a few things went my way and I managed to start and it was a matter of hanging onto the jersey for the next game with Ireland.
“Scoring against the All Blacks in that win in Dublin was a great way to finish it off.”