The brilliant weather seemed to bring out friends and families, on the Thursday night especially the function room was packed to capacity as Stanley Galbraith welcomed everyone and went on to outline the successes and continued progression of the senior academy over the previous 12 months.
The mini soccer awards the previous night were a great success,over 100 children attended the school this year during the two sessions and every child received an award for their development and progression this season.
The Thursday night saw a host of silverware on display, pride of place being the NIBFA cup secured by the under 11s.
The under 13’s secured their own National League, only losing one game all season along with securing the prestigious Larne Sevens tournament.
The main goal however, as with any Academy, is the targeting of first team football eventually at the parent club and Jamie Davidson’s attendance on the night was a reminder of what can be achieved, the United striker being the first to make the journey from 5 year old mini soccer starlet to first team player.
The full list of prizewinners was
Ballymena United: Player of Year - Josh Kirkpatrick; Players’ Player of Year - Robbie Richie; Top scorer - Scott McCullough; Most improved player - Seanie McIntosh.
Ballymena Town: Player of year - Dylan King; Players’ Player of Year - Sam Millar/Blake Douglas; Top scorer - Blake Douglas; Most improved player - Ben Turtle.
Player of Year - Trai Hume; Players’ Player of Year - Trai Hume; Top scorer - Matthew Lorimer; Most improved player - Ruari Hagan.
Development squad: Player of Year - Dylan McMordie; Top scorer - Andrew Farquhar; Most improved player - Jay Smyth.
Ballymena United: Player of Year - Jack Heron; Players’ Player of Year - Scott Marcus; Top scorer - Reece Hemphill; Most improved player - Logan Hammil.
Development squad: Player of Year - Ryan McLaughlin; Players’ Player of Year - Ethan McKeown; Top scorer - Robbie Balmer; Sportsman of year - Joshua Wharry.
Ballymena United: Player of Year - Lorenzo Dawkins; Players’ Player of Year - Eamon McLaughlin/Jack O’Mahony; Top scorer - Mark Cochrane; Sportsman of Year - Andrew Heaney.
Player of Year - Owen Best; Players’ Player of Year - Sam Armstrong; Top scorer - Calvin Purse; Sportsman of Year - Jamie Timms.
Player of Year - Luke Calderwood; Players’ Player of Year - Daniel Black; Top scorer - Daniel Black; Sportsman of Year - Shane Gibson.
* For a full picture spread from the awards dinner, see this week’s Ballymena Times.