Ballymoney Sports Advisory Committee held their Regional Sports Awards on Saturday night in Ballymoney Town Hall and what a perfect celebration of local sporting talent it was.
Sports men and women from across the Borough were there to honour the many talents present ranging from volleyball to boxing. However, it was the Causeway Archery Club who cleaned up, taking home no less than four awards.
Chairman Tom Skelton welcomed everyone before Deputy Mayor, Councillor Darryl Wilson said a few words to get the proceedings underway.
The first award was presented to the Junior Team of the Year and there were three nominees. Loughgiel Girls Camogie U14; Ballymoney Youth Academy Under-10s and the Route Hunt Pony Club Junior Showjumping Team.
The award was won by the Route Hunt Pony Club Junior Showjumping Team who were second in the UK championships and also N.I Winners.
The next category was Junior Sports Woman. The nominees were; Niamh Carr (Horse Riding). Niamh was UK Championships Team Runner-up with a faultless score throughout the championship, she competed in the Tetrathlon Open Championships and also competed for Northern Ireland in the mounted games. Tori Hastings (Hockey). Tori played for Ulster and Irish U18 International side and is also a member of Ballymoney First XI and Roisin McCormick (Camogie). Roisin was captain of the winning All Ireland Loughguile U14’s and County Antrim U14 Captain and also a member of Loughguile Camogie U16 team. The winner was Niamh Carr.
There were three nominees in the Junior Sports Man category - Stewart Lee MacFadyen (Archery). Stewart was ranked first in UK for U16 archery, he was All Ireland U16 national champion for the second year in a row, a Member of the All Ireland Senior Team Winners and also Northern Ireland National Champion (6 years in a row).
Arthur Taggart (Cycling) Won 4 Gold medals at the Irish National Track Championships and also represented Ulster and Club at Track Championships in Manchester and Glasgow. Thomas Hunter (Athletics) is the All-Ireland and Ulster Under 16 School Boy Triple Jump Champion. The award was presented to Stewart Lee MacFadyen (Archery).
A number of other awards were presented, first up was Sports Administrator 2015 which went to Maurice McAllister for his services to Ballymoney Cycling Club.
This was followed by Coach of the Year which was won by Ballymoney Blaze Volleyball Coach Johnny McClenaghan.
The Sports Merit Award was pressnted to Davy Walker and Martin McAleese. Davy and Martin represented Ireland at bowls and they won the British Isles ‘A’ Series title in Wales. they have both been selected again for Ireland to retain their title. Also in this category were; Ballybogey Football Team who won the Coleraine & District Morning League and Cup and Springwell Ladies Cross Country Team who were NI League Winners.
The Special Award touched everyone present in the Town Hall as it was presented to a very special Sportsman. John Nicholl is the only deaf and blind archer in the UK and he has achieved tremndous heights in his sport. John attended the British Visually Impaired Championships in Lilleshall, Telford in May and he is currently the leading Visually Impaired Archer throughout the Country and is now ranked Number 3 in Great Britain after finishing on the podium in third place.
Keeping archery as the theme, the next award was presented to Chris MacFadyen who set up the Causeway Archers. Chris was presneted with the Services To Sport Award by Deputy Mayor Councillor Darryl Wilson.
The Sports Team of the Year had three nominees: Ballymoney Blaze Senior Volleyball Team who were Senior League Runners-up; Cup Winners and will represent Northern Ireland in the European Cup this weekend. The Causeway Senior Archers are Northern Ireland Club champions and also All Ireland Champions and third - Loughguile Senior Camogie who were County and Ulster champions and Irish semi-finalists.
The winner of the Sports Team of the Year was The Causeway Senior Archers and the award was picked up by Daniel McCloskey, Stewart MacFayden and Michael Brolly.
Two very talneted ladies were in the running for Sports Woman of the Year. Sonia Knox (Athletics/Cycling/Swimming) is European Duathlon Champion, she was the first Gold Medalist in the Titanic Triathlon, came 5th in the Half Iron-man Triathlon and is a Member of the Ireland Duathlon and Triathlon Squads.
Racquel McCarry (Camogie) was part of the Ulster and Antrim Loughguile Senior Camogie Team Winners and was voted the Toughest Camogie Player in Ulster. However, the panel decided that the Sports Woman of the Year award should go to Sonia Knox.
Three nominees were shortlisted for the Sports Man of the Year. Dessie Scott (weightlifting) who is British Masters Champion, came second in the European Masters Championships and is N.I Master Champion.
Michael Glendinning (Boxing) is the Ulster Senior Champion and won the Best Boxer In the Ulster Finals. William Dunlop (motorsport) is the Irish road race champion in Superbike and 600cc classes. The panel decided to present the Sports Man of the Year award to boxer Michael Glendinning.
The final award of the night was a new award - International Sports Person of the Year and it was between Sonia Knox (Athletics/Cycling/Swimming); Dessie Scott (weightlifting) and Andrew Mills (Karate).
The winner was Andrew Mills and the award was collected on his behalf by his mother June. Andrew won the World Shotokan Championship in the discipline of Kata and Kumite. He was sixth place at the European championships, second place in the karate Union of GB Shotokan Cup and the youngest male in Northern Ireland to achieved third Dan in Zanshin Shotokan.
All the Ballymoney Regional Winners will now go forward to the Causeway Coast & Glens Sports awards which take place on November 7th in the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine and we wish them all every success as they battle it out against the regional winners from Coleraine, Moyle and Limavady.
Ballymoney Sports Advisory Committee Regional Award Winners 2015
International Sports Person of the Year - Andrew Mills
Sports Man of the Year - Michael Glendinning
Sports Woman of the Year - Sonia Knox
Sports Team of the Year - Causeway Senior Archers
Services To Sport Award - Chris MacFadyen
Special Award - John Nicholl
Sports Merit Award - Davy Walker & Martin McAleese
Coach of the Year - Johnny McClenaghan
Sports Administrator - Maurice McAllister
Junior Sports Man - Stewart Lee MacFadyen
Junior Sports Woman - Niamh Carr
Junior Sports Team - Route Hunt Pony Club