Ballymoney’s world class motor cyclist, Michael Dunlop, was crowned the Borough’s Sportsman of the Year for 2014 before revealing that he had parted company with BMW.
His shock news came at the annual Sports Awards in the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre on Saturday night during an interview with the BBC’s sports correspondent, Stephen Watson, who hosted the show for the eighth year in succession.
Dunlop (25) who became the youngest ever recipient of the Freedom of Ballymoney in January of this year appears to be without a ride for next season. However, he did assure a large audience that he would be appearing at the Isle of Man.
Last year Michael had four Isle of Man TT wins and became the first rider to win four raes in consecutive years. Given Dunlop’s outstanding ability, it is almost certain that he will have no trouble in securing a deal in time for the major events.
Sportswoman of the year was Ashleigh McKinnon, a young woman who is making a name for herself on with Glentoran Ladies, a team who won the league and also made the semi-finals of the cup competition.
Loughgiel Shamrocks hurlers were awarded Sports team of the year having again dominated the game winning the Ulster championships and the County Antrim championships for the fourth year in a row. They also went on to reach the semi-finals of the All Ireland. More inside on page 46.
A special award was given to Adam Martin, swimming. The award is for a sports person with a disability who has achieved success In their sport at a local national, or international level.
The coveted Hall of Fame Award was deservedly awarded to Lyndsey McVicker who been a towering figure in women’s hockey down the years having played for Ballymoney and gaining an astonishing 158 caps for Ireland.
Rob Skelly was awarded the Services to @Sport award for water-skiing. The award is presented to an ‘Unsung Hero’ who has dedicated their life to sport.
Ballybogey Football team who the Sports Team Merit Award after winning both the league and cup.
Sports Administrator went to Jackie Morrison from Glebe Rangers who provided a few laughs in his acceptance speech. Coach of the year was Karen McCormick, under-14 Loughgiel Camogie.
Junior sportswoman was Emma Kernohan, Ballymoney Hockey Club, and Most promising award went to Cerys Bartlett (under 1 Judo).
Jamie Knipe was voted Junior sportsman of the year in golf. Jamie won the Leinster Boys under-18 amateur open. Loughgiel under-14 camogie team were the Junior sports team of the eyar.
Special guest was Phillip McCallen, the former motorcyclist from Portadown. He had an outstanding career on the local circuits but has now set up his own company which caters for all the needs of a motorcyclist from bikes and their parts to clothing.
He also works for the BBC as a pundit.