HISTORIC AWARD

Kenendy K McArthur
Kenendy K McArthur

SOME three months after locals celebrated the 100th anniversary of his success in the Olympic Games in Sweden, Kennedy K McArthur has been posthumously honoured by Ballymoney Sports Advisory Committee.

McArthur who stormed to victory in 1912 in Stockholm, recording the win in a record time of 2 hours 36 minutes and 54.8 seconds, was inducted into the Hall of Fame for 2012 at the annual sports awards in the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre.

It was a fitting tribute to a man who inspired many and whose success led to a spectacular celebration in both Ballymoney and Dervock earlier this year.

At Saturday night’s ceremony which attracted an audience of 250 people made up mainly of sports stars from across the Borough, McArthur’s great great nephew David Stockman and South African born, Lisa Ackerman, who featured as McArthur’s wife in a play at Ballymoney Town Hall, were present to pick up the award.

They were joined on stage by Keith Beattie from Ballymoney Borough Council, who played a key role in the celebrations and who revealed that more celebrations would be taking place early next month.

Accepting the award, Lisa Ackerman said they had always considered McArthur to be South African, but this was now their way of giving him back to Ballymoney.

Mr. Stockman said he was very proud to accept the award on behalf of his family.

McArthur is the second person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with Joey Dunlop receiving that honour in 2010.

The other main awards of the evening were dominated by Loughgiel hurlers.

The squad who won the All-Ireland club championship for the second time this year were voted Team of the Year, hardly a surprise given their marvellous achievement. They beat Loughgiel Senior Camogie Team and Ballymoney Senior bowls team for the prize.

And to round off the evening for Loughgiel, Liam Watson won the Sportsman of the Year title.

Having proved himself a prolific goalscorer throughout the competition, Liam was an obvious choice pipping Dessie Scott from Weightlifting and Howard Beverland (football) for the award.

When asked by compere Stephen Watson what were Loughgiel’s chances this year of back-to-back successes, Liam said they had every chance.

“We intend to keep her lit” was his reply.

Sammy-Jo Greer beat Claire Wilkinson (athletics) and Rosie Alcorn (eventing) for the Sportswoman title. Sammy-Jo went into the record books having won the Junior Award in 2007.

Ballycastle girl, Lucia Quinney Mee, picked up a special award recognising a sports person with a disability who has achieved success in their sport at a local, national or international level.

Lucia is a competent swimmer who earlier in the year carried the Olympic torch in her home town.

Tommy Smith, a tireless worker in bowling circles, won the Services to Sport award. His achievements were lengthy and the award was roundly applauded by all present.

Another man who holds a great deal of respect in his field, Kenny Bacon, was voted Sports Administrator. Kenny spearheads the Springwell Running Club and has almost single-handedly boosted the sport considerably in Ballymoney over the recent past.

Alan Ashcroft won Coach of the Year for his work in developing Judo and wrestling. Alan has won top awards and his sons have also achieved much success in recent times.

Katie Mullan, the young hockey player, was judged Junior Sports woman of the year and Cara Telfter (Swimming) picked up a Most Promising Award.

Russell Blair (Rugby) was the Junior Sports man. Russell plays his rugby for Ballymena and represented Ulster at under-18 level and was voted Ulster Youth Player of the Year.

Stewart-Lee MacFadyen (Archery) picked up the Most Promising Award.

Junior Sports Team was Dalriada Under 18 girls volleyball team.

The awards, part funded by Ballymoney Borough Council as well as by local private enterprises, was described by Stephen Watson as the best in the country.

Special guests were Hannah Craig who finished tenth in the recent Olympic Games canoeing (K1 slalom final). Hannah is originally from Armoy.

She was joined by Sally Brown, a 17-year-old, who took part in the Paralympic games. She finished sixth in the 100 metre final.

The Mayor of Ballymoney, Councillor Evelyne Robinson, was present along with a number of Councillors. Representatives of Moyle and Coleraine Sports Advisory Committees were also in attendance.