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Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2015: New generation of stars battle it out for votes

By Frank Brownlow

Published 26/11/2015

Young guns: Portora Royal School Boat Club Boys Junior Coxed Eight receive their 2014 Young Team award from Sport NI Young Ambassador Bethany Firth and Richard Archibald of SINI
Young guns: Portora Royal School Boat Club Boys Junior Coxed Eight receive their 2014 Young Team award from Sport NI Young Ambassador Bethany Firth and Richard Archibald of SINI

Local sport is enjoying a golden age thanks to the exploits of Carl Frampton, Rory McIlroy and the Northern Ireland football team.

And it's clear that the future is bright as well, with many gifted young performers shaping up to be the province's stars of tomorrow.

The Belfast Telegraph Young Player of the Year and Young Team of the Year Awards aim to identify our finest talents and recognise their feats.

These are two of the most popular accolades in the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, which identify outstanding sporting achievement and recognise individuals and teams making a unique contribution to Ulster Sport.

The winners of the 2015 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards - supported by overall sponsor Linwoods - will be announced at a glittering bash at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast on January 25.

The Young Player of the Year Award will go to an individual aged 19 or under on December 31, 2015 whose sporting performances or achievements are seen as outstanding. Winners of this award include bowler Chloe Watson, Paralympian Bethany Firth, racing driver Wayne Boyd, athlete Ciara Mageean and swimmers Sycerika McMahon and Conor Leaney.

Patrick Huston, winner of the award in 2013, struck gold in the Indoor Archery World Cup in Marrakech at the weekend, triumphing in the recurve event.

The Young Team Award will be won by a side whose members are aged 19 or under on December 31, 2015 and previous winners include Portora Royal School rowers, St Oliver Plunkett U16 football team, Lurgan College 1st XI girls hockey, Royal School Armagh 1st XI hockey team, NI Commonwealth Games Youth Team and Armagh Minors GAA.

There was a first for local football when a county side triumphed in the Milk Cup's Premier Section for the first time, Co Antrim lifting the prestigious trophy with a 3-2 penalty shoot-out victory over Mexican side Club America at Ballymena Showgrounds following a 1-1 draw.

Ballymena United player Matthew Shevlin played his part in that triumph and also featured for Northern Ireland's Under 19s who are through to the Elite Round of the European Championship, finishing ahead of Russia and Norway in their group and just behind table topping Slovakia.

In rugby, Royal Belfast Academical Institution won the Schools Cup for the 30th time, while in GAA the MacRory Cup was lifted by St Patrick's College, Cavan for the 12th time.

Belfast Telegraph Sports Editor Steven Beacom said: "These are great times for sport in Northern Ireland and with the level of talent being demonstrated by the next generation, it is clear there are wonderful times ahead as well.

"Our readers, as always, will come up with a host of contenders for Belfast Telegraph Young Player of the Year and Young Team of the Year, making the job of the judges extremely difficult - which is exactly what we want."

We're sure you'll have plenty of ideas of your own for Belfast Telegraph Young Player of the Year and Young Team of the Year - and we'd love to hear them.

To vote simply visit www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sportsawards2015

Nominations close on Monday at 5pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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