Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

AP McCoy riding better than ever

Tony McCoy
Tony McCoy

The great Tony McCoy was speaking on stage at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards. Inside a packed room, 500 admirers were hanging on his every word.

On that January night, AP, having won our 2013 Sports Star of the Year prize, talked about his stunning career, his 4000 winners and his joy at receiving the trophy from his childhood hero Pat Jennings.

To the audience's surprise McCoy admitted that, despite all his triumphs, he still had doubts over his ability. The finest jump jockey of all time also revealed that an insatiable appetite to improve had kept him going all these years.

Now 40, respected racing judges will tell you, AP is riding better than ever.

Fellow county Antrim man Brendan Rodgers is 41.

He's all about getting the best out of yourself too.

Like AP, Brendan left home early to follow his dream and while injury curtailed his football career, he had the same drive and determination as McCoy to never give up, even when the going got tough.

Rodgers stayed in England to coach. His hard work, innovative ideas and man management skills have won him respect and taken him far... all the way to being boss of Liverpool, who have excelled under his guidance.

Today Tony and Brendan receive honorary degrees from the University of Ulster in Coleraine.

The pair of them, doing Northern Ireland and themselves proud, deserve the recognition.

They are a lesson to the students at the same graduation ceremonies, and the rest of us, that when you put your mind to it just about anything is possible.

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