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Celebrating Local Sporting Talent

Celebrating Local Sporting Talent

22 October 2022

Sport Lisburn & Castlereagh has paid tribute to local sporting talent during the 2022 Draynes Farm Sports Personality of the Year Awards. The sell-out event took place at a prestigious ceremony at La Mon Hotel & Country Club.

Hosted by broadcaster, Claire McCollum, the event included a special celebration which recognised the achievements of NI women in sport. A number of special guests were invited to the evening to provide inspiration to the nominees looking to follow in their footsteps.

Special guests included netball coach, Elaine Rice who led the NI Senior Team to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and NI Women’s most capped footballer, Julie Nelson BEM. Guest of Honour at the event was Lady Mary Peters who this year celebrated the 50th anniversary of her historic Olympic gold medal in Munich 1972.

The Sports Awards recognise the wealth of sporting talent of individuals and teams from Lisburn & Castlereagh. The event honoured the sporting achievements of both individuals and teams either through direct participation in sport or contribution as a coach or administrator.

Gymnast, Ewan McAteer was named Senior Sports Personality of the Year. This year, Ewan competed at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, making him the first ever gymnast from Northern Ireland to achieve this success on the vault. He was also selected for the European Championships to represent Ireland and has recently competed at his first World Cup as a senior. Jog Lisburn Club runners Stephen Hoey was awarded second and Karen Wilton third place in this category.

Junior Sports Personality of the Year was won by Taekwondo athlete, James Nicholson. James is the only athlete to represent Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland internationally. Training at elite level from the age of 9, he has recorded his highest achievement to date picking up a bronze medal at the Korean Ambassadors World Championships last October. Cyclist Curtis McKee was placed second and trampoline gymnast athlete, Jacob Dumigan third place.

Sports Person with a Disability of the Year was a new category introduced this year. Athlete Mark Millar was awarded first place in this category. Following a long period of rehabilitation, Mark topped the podium in the Cozumel Ironman Physically Challenged Division and finished 5th in the 2022 Paris Marathon. The highlight of Mark’s career came on 25 July, when he represented Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, finishing 6th in the marathon. Para swimmer, Siomha Brady finished in second place with athlete Freddie Wallace picking up third.

Another new category was Disability Sports Team of the Year. The award was won by Lightning Powerchair Football Club, which is a disability football club based at Lagan Valley LeisurePlex. Playing in the AIPF Premiership, the club has NI representatives at both senior and development levels. In 2022, Lightning had the most players called up to the Northern Ireland Development Squad for the Home Nations, with one of their players taking away the top goal scorer award. Second place was presented to Simply Judo Adaptive Team and third place Hillsborough Boys’ Learning Disability Football Team.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, the Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Scott Carson said, “It is fantastic to see the return of the Draynes Farm Sports Awards and again celebrate the wealth of sporting talent we have in Lisburn & Castlereagh.

 “A wide range of sports are represented tonight which highlights the diversity of sport within our Council area and the opportunities that are available to the local community to try a new activity. I am particularly delighted to see the introduction of two new award categories; Disability Sports Team of the Year and Sports Person with a Disability of the Year which further showcases the range of sports on offer.

“I would also like to thank our special guests Lady Mary Peters, NI netball coach Elaine Rice and NI Women’s Footballer, Julie Nelson BEM for taking the time to attend the event.  I know their stories will provide great encouragement to the next generation of local sporting heroes.”

Councillor Aaron McIntyre, Chair of the Council’s Leisure & Community Development Committee added, “Lisburn & Castlereagh has a proud history of sporting success producing many World, Olympic, Commonwealth, European and National Champions.

“The Council has endeavoured to support these teams and individuals who aspire to reach the highest levels of performance and competition. They have also aimed 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.

“Within Lisburn & Castlereagh, the Council takes pride in providing first class facilities for visitors and athletes including 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 the highly popular Lisburn Half Marathon, 10k and Fun Run, which attracts both beginner and experienced runners.

“I would like to congratulate all the award winners for their achievements and to everyone behind the scenes for their commitment to sport. I would like to thank Sport Lisburn & 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.”

Sports Club of the Year was won by City of Lisburn Salto Gymnastics Club with Simply Judo taking second place and Jog Lisburn third place. Senior Sports Club of the Year was awarded to Lisnagarvey Hockey Club Men’s 1st XI with Derriaghy Cricket Club 1st XI taking second place and Lisburn Cricket Club 1st XI third place.

Carryduff GAC Girls’ U15 Team picked up Junior Sports Club Team of the Year and Carryduff GAC Boys’ U13 Team was presented with second place and Lisburn Youth FC 2009’s third. The School Sports Team of the Year title was won by Friends’ School Lisburn Minor Boys’ Badminton Team while Lagan College Girls’ U14 Hockey XI took second and Lisnagarvey High School Year 11 Boys’ Football Team third place.

Conor Campfield from Cathal Brugha Water Polo Club was honoured with the Sports Coach of the Year Award for his hard work and dedication developing the club. Second prize was awarded to Erroll Lutton from Lisnagarvey Hockey Club and third place went to Stevie Houston from Ballymacash Rangers Football Club.

The Merit Award was presented to six individuals to recognise the essential and valuable service they provide to their clubs in the pursuit of success in their chosen sport. The Alison Slater Junior Merit Award was achieved by James Nicholson from Ulidia Carryduff Taekwondo Club and Lilly Addis from The Trampoline and Gymnastics Network. The David Edwards Senior Merit Award was presented to Hazel Campbell of Lisburn City Archery Club, Paul Bracken of Jog Moira Running Club, Mark Montgomery of Simply Judo and Liam Scott from Ulidia Carryduff Taekwondo Club.

Jimmy Walker, Chair of Sport Lisburn & Castlereagh added his support for the event: “The Sports Awards is definitely one of the highlights of the year for Sport Lisburn & Castlereagh as it gives us the opportunity to congratulate athletes, teams and coaches for their hard work and dedication in their chosen sport. We hope our nominees will inspire others to participate in sport and help develop sporting talent and healthier lifestyles in Lisburn & Castlereagh. “