Cream of east Antrim’s athletes recognised at sports awards

Local athletes were celebrated last night (Thursday) at the sixth annual Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Sports Awards.
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Shortlisted athletes, teams, coaches and others from across the borough’s sporting community gathered at Carrickfergus Amphitheatre to contend the awards across eight categories.

Hosted by media personality Claire McCollum, the awards were sponsored by Boomin, Hastings Financial Services, NFU Mutual Larne, Pollock Lifts, Rainbow Signs, Ryobi, Stirling Trophies and Wilson’s of Rathkenny.

For the second year running, Claire Taggart was crowned both ‘Sportsperson of the Year’ and ‘Sportsperson with a Disability’, having competed in the Tokyo Paralympics and claimed a silver medal at the World Boccia European Championships in Seville within the past year.

Mid and East Antrim's sports personalities were recognised at the awards event.Mid and East Antrim's sports personalities were recognised at the awards event.
Mid and East Antrim's sports personalities were recognised at the awards event.

Robert McGaughey received the awards for ‘Services to Sport’ in recognition of over 30 years’ service to local athletics. Larne FC, meanwhile, was named ‘Team of Year’ after a record year in 2021 that saw the club win its first senior trophy in over 30 years, reach the Irish Cup final and qualify to participate in the UEFA Conference League.

The Junior Sportsperson of the Year award went to Tom Coulter (Sailing) and Larne Grammar School’s 1st XI Hockey team won the School Sporting Performance accolade.

Meanwhile, former Ireland player Ryan Eagleson picked up the Manager/Coach of the Year gong (Carrickfergus Cricket Club) and Latharna Og’s Camogie players won the Community Participation prize.

Two bursaries, sponsored by Balon Sportswear, were awarded to Adam Courtney and Hannah O’Toole – both for athletics.

Mayor, Cllr William McCaughey said: “Our local athletes and teams within the borough have provided us all with moments of which we can be hugely proud, and, on behalf of council, I extend my warmest congratulations and encouragement to all those shortlisted for awards.

“Sport plays an important role in our community every day and brings benefits that reach far beyond physical wellbeing and fitness. It provides avenues for young people to learn and develop life skills through team and individual sports; it brings communities together with shared goals; it strengthens local networks which reinforce a sense of place; and it reaches all walks of life, from youth to old age.

“We appreciate and value all that sport and leisure, at all levels, offers our borough. We are proud of the elite flagship sports events we attract and continue to ensure these benefits are enjoyed by all our communities and are accessible to everyone.”