Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards mark our greatest ever year

By Steven Beacom

What a year it has been for Northern Ireland sport. Indeed there is a strong argument to suggest 2014 has been the greatest sporting year ever for this place we call home.

Think about it... Rory McIlroy won two major golf titles, Carl Frampton became champion of the world, fellow boxers Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan struck gold at the Commonwealth Games, Kelly Gallagher had the same colour of medal around her neck at the Winter Paralympics, motorcycling star Michael Dunlop continued to dominate on the roads, racing car driver Colin Turkington did the same on four wheels, the Belfast Giants claimed the Elite League title, Ulster stars like Andrew Trimble, Rory Best, Chris Henry and Tommy Bowe played influential roles in helping Ireland enjoy an incredible 12 months triumphing in the Six Nations and defeating all before them in the autumn Tests plus the country's footballers created history with three successive victories in the Euro 2016 qualifiers giving themselves a glorious chance of reaching the finals.

And that's just for starters!

All this and much, much more will be celebrated when the great and good of Northern Ireland sport attend the 2014 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, sponsored by Linwoods, on January 26 next year at the Ramada Plaza Hotel.

This is the 20th year of the most prestigious sports awards in Northern Ireland. Our sporting heroes sure have marked the anniversary in style with their remarkable performances.

They have done their bit. YOU still have a chance to do yours.

On Monday, December 1 nominations for all our awards categories close, so if you haven't put forward your favourite already you had better get your skates on.

To nominate, please log on to our website www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk and go to the Sports Awards section.

There you will see 12 categories. They include the Linwoods sponsored Sports Star of the Year, won by legendary Moneyglass jockey Tony McCoy last time, the Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year, the George Best Breakthrough award, a Special Recognition award, Sports Person with a Disability and the Hall of Fame prize, sponsored by Belleek. We will induct an Ulster sporting great into our Hall of Fame in January and we would welcome your ideas on who you think should join the superstars already there.

Also tell us who you think should be considered for Team of the Year, sponsored by Volvo, Young Team of the Year and Young Player of the Year. There is also a Local Heroes award supported by Sport NI and the WJ Paddy Patterson Services to Sport trophy which will be decided by the NI Sports Forum.

And when you are finished with that, join the thousands upon thousands who've already voted in our Greatest Northern Ireland Sports Star ever poll. There are 20 iconic figures to choose from, with the winner announced on awards night.

Starting next week in the Belfast Telegraph we will look in more detail at the 20 sporting heroes shortlisted for this monumental accolade.

Get your votes and nominations in and play YOUR part in this sensational sporting year.

Belfast Telegraph

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