Sports awards - the final countdown!

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council's Sports Awards are to be held soon and while the winners won't be announced until the glittering gala event on Thursday 23 February (Larne Leisure Centre), more details are now available on the nominees.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Mayor, Councillor Audrey Wales, MBE pictured launching Mid and East Antrim Borough's Sports Awards Sportsperson of the Year Awards

Top of the list of nine award categories to be presented at the awards ceremony is the Sportsperson of the Year.

“Four top ranking sportspeople have been nominated in this prestigious category,” said Mid and East Antrim Borough Mayor, Councillor Audrey Wales, MBE.

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“Their sporting achievements are numerous and are typical of the many people from this Borough who have excelled in their sport of choice over the past year,” she added.

“While Sportsperson of the Year is just one of the categories, it is one of the most sought after with nominees particularly successful,” Cllr Wales said.

In no special order, they are, Andrew Kyle; Eileen Burns; Martin McHugh and Jenny Lewis.

Andrew Kyle was the sole representative for Ireland at the World Bowls Cup held in Sydney, Australia, when he came home with a Silver. Andrew then represented Ireland at the World Indoor Bowls Council Singles and Mixed Pairs tournaments, in Jersey and won Gold as World Champion. He then took part in the World Invitational Singles and Pairs in Hong Kong and returned with another medal, this time Bronze in the Singles.

Eileen Burns is a cyclist in Ballymena Road Club. Eileen took national time trial records over 25 mile and 50 mile distances and that success won her selection for the Ulster Women’s Road Racing Team. She achieved the Leaders Jersey at the Omagh Three-day Stage Race and then represented Ulster at the International Women’s Stage Race, the ‘Ras na mBan’ when the team picked up the Best Irish Team accolade. Eileen then represented the National Irish Elite Female Track Team and won Gold at the Dublin International event in the Individual Pursuit and also competed at the Track World Cup in Glasgow and European Track Championships in Paris.

Martin McHugh is a bowler who, in 2016, won the British Isles Singles for the third time in his career. He also represented Ireland at his fifth appearance at the World Bowls Championships, picking up a bronze medal in the Fours Event and reaching the quarter finals in the Triples. Within the domestic game, he won the NIBA Triples and the Irish Triples.

Jenny Lewis is a netballer who captaining her university side at Glasgow Caledonian University and was then picked for the Northern Ireland U21 squad. Jenny then captained the U21 squad at the 2016 European Championships in Cardiff, which also doubled up as 2017 Netball World Youth Cup Qualifiers and she led the squad to qualification for these finals. She also appeared for the full Northern Ireland Open Squad.

As well as the Sportsperson of the Year, (detailed above) the rest of the categories are varied: Junior Sportsperson of the Year; School Sporting Performance of the Year; Manager/Coach of the Year; Sportsperson/Team with a Disability; Veteran’s Award; Team of the Year; Services to Sport and Sporting Hall of Fame.

As previously announced, the nominees are as follows:

Junior Sportsperson of the Year finalists, are: Michael McAuley, Athletics; Neve Megan Jones, Rugby; Lauren Roy, Athletics; Jenna McCarlie, Sailing.

School Sporting Performance finalists are: Larne GS 1XI Hockey Team, Hockey; Lauren Roy, Athletics; Larne GS 4 x 100m Boys Relay, Athletics; Ellen McCartney, Pole Vault.

Sportsperson/Team with a Disability finalists are: Claire Taggart, Boccia; Gillian Craig, Athletics; Emmett Woods, Athletics; Carrickfergus Chargers, Wheelchair Basketball; Katie Morrow, Wheelchair Basketball.

Coach/Manager of the Year finalists: Paul Mulholland, Gaelic Football; Johnny Hastings, Football; Seamas McAleenan, Camogie; Stephen Beattie, Judo; Rodney Kerr, Camogie; Jonathan Magill, Football.

Veteran’s Award finalists: Charlie Meban, Athletics; David Clarke, Athletics; Ryan Eagleson, Cricket; Patricia Blair, Athletics.

Team of the Year finalists: Cairndhu Golf Club Ulster Cup Team; Con Magees U14 Gaelic Football Team; Cairndhu Golf Club Belfast & District Team.

Services to Sport finalists: Colin De Fleury, Sailing; Thomas Wilson, Football; Audrey Davis, Gymnastics; Alec McQuillan, GAA.