Ballymoney’s annual sports awards produced one of the best arrays of talent from the sports achievers in the Borough in recent years.
The Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre was packed to capacity with representatives from a variety of sports whose exploits, according to event host BBC journalist, Stephen Watson, reflected a Borough which punched well above its weight.
There were Ulster, Irish, and British and even European champions which also prompted praise from special guest, Simon Best, the former Irish International Rugby Captain whose career was cut short by illness.
The evening saw Ballymoney United Youth Academy picked up the Junior Sports team after they had won the Under 11 Foyle Cup and were crowned North West League and Cup champions.
Eventing specialist, Kathy Woodrow, took the Junior Sports woman title after being selected lat year for the Northern Ireland team.
She was also pickedto compete for Great Britain in the world wide international pony club mounted games in Canada.
Another junior Mary Parkash the number one tennis player in Ulster and ranked third in Ireland in under-12 picked up the Most Promising Under-14 award.
Eighteen year old wrestler, Alexander Henry, won the Junior Sports man award after winning the British, Northern Ireland and Ulster junior wrestling titles.
Because of the closeness of the judging, it was decided to award Logan McIntyre (judo and wrestling) with another Most Promising Under-14 award. Logan is the Northern Ireland Schools, Ulster and N.I. closed champion in judo. He is also a good wrestler taking a gold medal in the Ulster championships.
Brenda Boyle, whose passion for netball, has elevated the status of the sport in the Borough was crowned Sports Administrator while Chris McFadyen was awarded Coach of the Year for his success in tutoring archery.
Chris’s club has 140 members with the majority honoured at international level.
One of the most deserved awards of the evening was the Sports Team Merit which was lifted by Ballymoney Cycling Club.
A proud Maurice McAllister, who has done so much to promote cycling in the area, and some of his associates, took to the stage to thank everyone for their support and to state how cycling had become one of the most popular sports in the Borough.
There were bursaries for Kathy Woodrow, Alexander Henry and John Nicholl.
The surprising aspect of the evening was the absence of recognition for Ballymoney Ladies Hockey who scooped a number of awards last season.
Megan Fraser the top sportswoman pipped her colleague Sammy Jo Greer for the title as well as Eventing’s Rosie Alcorn.
Dessie Scott, a popular winner, also took two big scalps for his title of Sportsman of the year – Michael Dunlop, motorcycling and Ian McClure, bowls.
The special award for a person with disability went to Causeway Archery Club member, John Nicholl, who was thrilled to go on stage to collect his prize.