Belfast Telegraph

Monday 3 August 2015

Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2011: Who will be our top stars this year?

By Steven Beacom

Published 06/10/2011 | 00:15

US Open champions Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell - last year's Tele Sports Star of the Year - and Open champion Darren Clarke
US Open champions Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell - last year's Tele Sports Star of the Year - and Open champion Darren Clarke
Graeme McDowell with his 2010 award
Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast Natalie Barr, Joanne Orr, Vanessa Surgeoner, Leah Ewart
Proud mum and dad Marian and Kenny McDowell collect son Graeme's Telegraph award at the Ramada Plaza last night.
Claire McCollum and Pat Jennings.
Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Jackie Fullerton.
Kenny and Marian McDowell with Alan Simpson.
Belfast Telegraph Sports Editor Steven Beacom pictured with Claire McCollum.
Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2010
Radio DJ Alan Simpson (left) pictured with Stephen Graham.
Our Local Heroes award went to Banbridge Academy hockey boys, presented by Brian McCargo of Sport NI to Mark Cordner (left) and Hugh McShane.
Shea McGarrity, captain of Young Team of the Year, Tyrone GAA Minors, with Down legend Sean O’Neill.
Young Player of the Year, athlete Ciara Mageean with Maeve McKeefry of sponsors Linwoods.
Members of the Northern Ireland Netball Team.
Kenny and Marion McDowell receive son Graeme's award from Joanne Hayden (Linwoods) Eamonn McCartan (Sport NI) and Mike Gilson (editor, Belfast Telegraph).
AP McCoy's sister receives the Hall of Fame award from Pat Jennings.
Blackpool and Northern Ireland star Craig Cathcart accepts the George Best Breakthrough award from Nigel Worthington.
Managers of the Year, boxing coaches Stephen Freil and Michael Hawkins, collect award from rugby star Stephen Ferris.
Ulster rugby stalwart Bryn Cunningham took the Special Award, handed over by legend Jack Kyle.
Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Team of the Year are honoured by Sports Minister Nelson McCausland.
Rowing guru Bobby Platt accepts his WJ 'Paddy' Patterson backroom award from Ken Nixon of the Northern Ireland Sports Forum.
Richard Brown, father of Sally Brown, currently in New Zealand collects her Sports Person with a Disability award from John Spottiswoode of Disability Needs.
Player of the Year, boxer Paddy Barnes accepts his award from boyhood hero Barry McGuigan.
Barry McGuigan chats to Stephen Ferris.

It's been another stunning year for Northern Ireland sport. We have watched in admiration as our sporting heroes have delivered time and time again.

Take golf for example with Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke enjoying major success in a magical summer.

They weren’t the only Ulster stars to shine with the great Tony McCoy winning a remarkable 16th jump jockey title.

In football Steve Davis and Kyle Lafferty shone with Rangers as they clinched the SPL crown while Jonny Evans helped Manchester United claim their 19th league title and Carnlough’s finest Brendan Rodgers led Swansea City into the Premier League.

In boxing Paul McCloskey and Brian Magee may have lost world title bouts but proved they can mix it with the best. Ditto Eugene Laverty and Jonathan Rea on motorcycling circuits across the globe.

Our rowers Alan Campbell, Richard Chambers and Peter Chambers walked on water with their performances while our female stars, cyclist Wendy Houvenaghel and squash ace Madeline Perry also hit the heights.

All their achievements and many, many more will be celebrated when the Belfast Telegraph once again honours Northern Ireland’s leading sports stars of the year at the Ramada Plaza Hotel on January 16.

And we want you, the readers, to help us.

Today we launch the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards for 2011, a selection process that will culminate with that gala banquet early next year when the winners will be revealed.

Regarded as the most prestigious sports awards ceremony in the country, sponsored by Linwoods and supported by Sport Northern Ireland, The Belfast Telegraph is proud to celebrate our sporting successes.

Below you will see how you can recommend your choice of winner from the various categories.

Last year our top award, the Sports Star of the Year, was won by brilliant golfer Graeme McDowell for his US Open and Ryder Cup heroics.

So, who will walk away with the big prize this time?

Well, Graeme’s good friends Darren and Rory will be in the frame.

Holywood hero McIlroy produced some of the greatest golf ever seen to claim the US Open title — and this after recovering from his US Masters disappointment when he led at Augusta with just nine holes to go.

McIlroy’s outstanding character and ability was there for all to see at the US Open.

The same could be said of Dungannon man Clarke, as he won The Open in astonishing style. It was an extraordinary performance from big Darren amid the bitter wind and rain at Royal St Georges.

Both Darren and Rory will have enjoyed the contribution made by Ulster rugby heroes Stephen Ferris and Rory Best to Ireland’s World Cup success so far. Both were immense in the magnificent win over Australia and hopefully will help the Irish go all the way to the final.

Ireland could meet England in the last four. William Porterfield knows all about that fixture. The Donemana native excelled as he captained Ireland to a famous World Cup victory over the England cricket team earlier this year.

Wendy Houvenaghel enjoyed both individual and team success in 2011, claiming a third British Time Trial Championship crown recently and this after winning a gold medal at the track cycling World Championships in March.

Later in the year that other gifted lady Madeline Perry made it to number three in the world squash rankings.

On the athletics track Jason Smyth created history by becoming the first paralympian to compete at a European Championships while in the swimming pool teenager Sycerika McMahon won medals galore at the European Junior Championships and the Commonwealth Youth Games.

Another brilliant young talent, rower Peter Chambers, enjoyed a terrific season that saw him come first at the under-23 World Championships in Amsterdam and at the World Championships in Slovenia a month later, eclipsing his brother Richard and Alan Campbell who won bronze in their respective events.

This long list is an indication of how successful Northern Ireland sport has been this year on a global stage. Maybe you can think of someone else who deserves to be considered for the main prize.

We also have the Player of the Year award, which is made to an Ulster player who competes and excels mainly in the province.

The Team of the Year is always keenly contested while there’s also the Manager/Coach of the Year, Young Team of the Year and Young Player of the Year prizes.

As usual, we will be going beyond the big back page headlines to honour our disabled sportsmen and women and those people who make unheralded, but significant, contributions to local sport at grassroots level.

We don’t want any deserved winners to miss out . . . and that’s where you can help. Over the coming weeks we’ll update you with news about the forthcoming event and look at categories in more detail, but in the meantime, start getting those votes in.

The big evening has been a special event down the years and with the incredible drama we’ve had in sport this year, that trend is sure to continue.

Last year's winners

Sports Star of the Year: Graeme McDowell

Hall of Fame: Tony McCoy

Player of the Year: Paddy Barnes

Young Player of the Year: Ciara Mageean

Team of the Year: Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Team

Young Team of the Year: Tyrone Minors

Manager/Coach of the Year: Stephen Friel and Michael Hawkins

Sports Person with a Disability: Sally Brown

WJ ‘Paddy’ Patterson Award: Bobby Platt

George Best Breakthrough Award: Craig Cathcart

Special Recognition Award: Bryn Cunningham

Local Heroes Award: Banbridge Academy Boys’ Hockey teams

The Purpose of the Awards

The purpose of the awards sponsored by Linwoods and supported by Sport Northern Ireland , is to identify sporting achievement and recognise those individuals, teams and organisations whose contribution to Ulster Sport is outstanding. Nominations for the awards may be made by organisations, governing bodies of sport, district councils, local sport councils and individuals.





Sports Star of the Year



Player of the Year



Team of the Year



Young Player of the Year



Young Team of the Year



Manager / Coach of the Year



Sports Person of the Year with a Disability



WJ Paddy Patterson Services to Sport Award



George Best Breakthrough Award



Local Heroes



Hall of Fame



Special Recognition Award

This award recognises outstanding achievement and is an additional award agreed by the judges.

How to Nominate

Nominations close on Wednesday 23rd November at 5pm and can either be posted by clicking on one of the links above or by hard copy which should be no more than 200 words. Hard copy nominations should be posted to Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, C/O JPR, Sylvan House, 232-240 Belmont Road, Belfast BT4 2AW or email sportsawards@belfasttelegraph.co.uk.



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