Belfast Telegraph

Boxing coaches in the frame to land ‘Tele’ prize

By Frank Brownlow

It’s time to get voting for managers and coaches in the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards — and there are several outstanding candidates.

We want you, our readers, to let us know who should walk away with the prestigious ‘Tele’ award, won last year by Antrim GAA boss Liam Bradley.

Northern Ireland’s boxers had an outstanding Commonwealth Games in Delhi — and the men behind that success were coaches Stephen Friel and Michael Hawkins.

Friel and Hawkins guided five fighters — out of a team of nine — into Commonwealth finals and that translated into golds for Paddy Barnes, Eamonn O’Kane and Paddy Gallagher and silvers for Tommy McCarthy and Steven Ward.

David Jeffrey’s trophy laden career as Linfield manager continued with yet another Irish League title — his seventh since taking charge at Windsor Park in January 1997.

The Blues are the front runners in the current championship race and few would bet against Jeffrey making it title number eight come the Spring.

Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin, after a promising first season in charge, really got his team firing on all cylinders at the start of this term, building on their strong finish to the end of the last campaign.

Ulster were unbeaten until last Sunday, with victories over Ospreys, Aironi, Edinburgh and Glasgow — as well as a draw away to Connacht — in the Magners League, while the Heineken Cup challenge started well with a comprehensive 30-6 victory over Aironi before the 35-15 setback in Biarritz.

Raymond Munroe racked up his second All Ireland Minor title as Tyrone boss in three years when the Red Hand youngsters beat Cork in last month’s Croke Park final.

Three Ulster titles were also picked up under Munroe in a management team that included Cathal McAnenly and Roger Keenan.

James McCartan went oh so close to bringing the senior All Ireland title back to Ulster as well.

McCartan, in his first season in charge and against all the odds, guided Down to last month’s All Ireland final where they eventually lost out to favourites Cork by the narrowest of margins, 0-16 to 0-15.

It was a heartbreaking defeat but one that contained signs the Mourne County can be a force over the next few years.

The Belfast Giants continue to make their presence felt in British ice hockey, and Steve Thornton guided the side to the Play-Off crown last season.

It's a cracking line-up — and the choice is all yours.

Belfast Telegraph


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