Tennis veteran wins top award

ONE of Northern Ireland's most influential coaches has been honoured at the annual Moyle Sports Awards.

Greer Parker has spent most of his life dedicated to nurturing tennis talent throughout the province and on Saturday night at Ballycastle Golf Club, he received the most prestigious award of the evening - Outstanding Contribution to Sport.

Mr. Parker was presented with the award by former UTV sports editor, Adrian Logan, who said it was richly deserved.

Reviewing his past association with tennis, Mr. Logan said Mr. Parker had, at one stage, been ranked third in Ireland and had proved himself an outstanding coach.

He was attached to Cavehilld Tennis Club where he concentrated on the development of young players taking hundreds of children to a higher level.

He was also a respected tournament referee and was held in the highest regard throughout the tennis community.

Mr. Parker was brought to Ballycastle when the club was reformed to help progress the talent there and subsequently organised the July County Antrim championships and was still coaching at Cavehill Tennis Club.

Mr. Parker, who is 70 years old, told the large audience that he was "shattered" by the award.

"I never expected this, but I am very grateful. I plan to continue with my work in the future," he said.

Despite the dreadful weather conditions, the organisers were delighted with the turn out and the evening proved almost a clean sweep for the GAA fraternity with teams from Cushendall and Ballycastle taking most of the honours.

There were some outstanding performances most notably from Matthew Donnelly who led the Cross and Passion College to back to back all Ireland hurling titles.

Ciaran Clarke, the 17-year-old hurler and footballer, received glowing praise for his achievements so far and after he was awarded the under-18 sportsman title, Adrian Logan asked for an extra round of applause for the teenager.

Cormac Donnelly was judged the sportsperson of the year, one of the other major awards of the evening.