Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

In Pictures: Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2012

Ballyclare High School
Ballyclare High School
Cheryl Mulholland and swimmer Bethany Firth
Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlon, Stephen Martin, Jenny Campbell, Jimmy Kirkwood, Rebekah Chambers and Gillian Chambers.
Mairead McCotter and Liam Watson from Loughgiel Shamrocks
Craig Peacock, Mark Brooks , Gemma Bell and Matt Towe
Laura McBurney and Michael McKillop
Brian Henning, Chairman, Sport Northern Ireland, Sycerika McMahon and Pat Jennings
Michael ONeill and Pat Jennings
Player of the Year - Ryan Farquhar. Ryan Farquhar receives his award from Wendy Houvenaghel
Gary McClintock, Wayne McBrien, Joe Robinson and William McClintock from Donnemanna Cricket Club
Michael O'Neill and Jim Shaw
Players from St Oliver Plunketts
Gerry Armstrong with his family at the awards
Gerry Armstrong with his wife Debby
Tommy Bowe, Johann Muller and Paddy McAllister
Paddy Barnes and Mari Burns
Craig Gilroy and Mark Anscombe
Darren Brown, Paddy Barnes and Tom Cunningham
Johnny Campbell, Liam Watson, Barney McAuley and Neil McGarry from Loughgiel Shamrocks
Gillian Hetherington, Jim Gracey, Ruth Gorman and Ailish Rutherford
Trevor Ringland, Jane Wells and Keith Crossan
Allan Ewart, Wendy Houvenaghel and James Tinsley
Bethany Firth
Gerry Armstrong
Janice McGeagh, Sarah Weir, Ruth Gorman and Wendy Houvenaghel
Anca Bejenaru and Claudia Ionescu
Newenham de Cogan, Hazel Busby and Leslie Busby
Brendan Gallagher, Rosaleen Gallagher, Catherine Maguire and John Maguire
John Palmer, Yvonne Craig, Margaret Tollerton and Ivan Davis from Lisburn City Council
Steve Beacom, Pat Murray and Declan Bogue
Joanne Armstrong, Gerry Armstrong Snr and Rosaleen Murray.
Mark Brown and Yvonne McKernan
Steve Beacom and Richard McCormick
James Tinsley, Pamela Ballantine, Margaret Tollerton, Ivan Davis, Yvonne Craig and Allan Ewart
Brian Henning, Chairman, Sport Northern Ireland
Local Heroes Award: Fiona Haldane. Fiona Haldane receives her award from Nick Harkness, Sport Northern Ireland
Sports Person with a Disability: Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop. Jason Smyth's grandfather, Robert Smyth, left, and Michael McKillop receives their award from John Spottiswoode, MD Disability Needs Ltd
Team of the Year: Ulster Rugby.
Team of the Year: Ulster Rugby Ulster Coach Mark Anscombe and Captain Johann Muller receives their award from Michael Gibson
Young Team of the Year: St Oliver Plunkett FC U16. Coach Stephen Lynch, Captain Josh Lynch and other team members from St Oliver Plunkett FC U16 receives their award from Alistair Gillespie, Linwoods
Hall of Fame  - Gerry Armstrong. Gerry Armstrong receives his award from Pat Jennings, Billy Hamilton and John Maguire, Group Managing Director of Belleek
Sports Star of the Year - Rory McIlroy. Eddie Harper receives the award on behalf of Rory McIlroy from Mike Gilson (Editor Belfast Telegraph) Brian Henning, Chairman of Sport NI and David Lawlor of Linwoods.
Manager/Coach of the Year: Coach P J O' Mullan from Loughgiel receives his award from Phil Simmons
George Best Breakthrough Award - Michael Conlon. Michael Conlon receives his award from Michael ONeill
Paddy McAallister, David Lawlor and Tommy Bowe
Michael Conlon, Steven Murphy from Tesco and Paddy Barnes
Neil Brittain, Pamela Ballantine, Claire McCollum and Steven Johnston
Bethany Firth and Andrew Bree
Tiffany Brien
Alastair Gillespie, Claire, David McMahon
Mark Beattie, Donna McGuinness, Ruth McQuillan and Andrew Bree from Swim Ulster
Rory Winters, Mark Gribben and James Harrison from Methody
Lauren Curley, Jessica West and Tori Wallace from Ballyclare High School.
Jackie Fullerton and Claire McCollum
Sycerika McMahon and mum Mary McMahon
lMike Gilson
Janice McGeagh, Wendy Houvenaghel and Todd Kelman

We will never forget 2012. It was a stunning year for Northern Ireland sport — possibly the best ever, with our sporting heroes delivering time and time again.



Every passing week brought something new to admire with superstar Rory McIlroy shining brightest of all, earning him the coveted crown of 2012 Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year.

The 23-year-old from Holywood took our breath away with his glorious golf in a 12-month period which saw him claim several stunning tournament victories, including his second Major, to finish top of the money list in Europe and America. Magnificent.

He also played a significant and dramatic role in helping his continent triumph in the Ryder Cup in the States. And, of course, he became the world number one in his sport.

For as long as I have been involved with these awards we have had four stars on the shortlist for our main prize, but such was the excellence shown by our athletes last year, this time 12 were nominated in tribute to their marvellous feats.

Rory won the Sports Star of the Year prize but Olympic medal winners Paddy Barnes, Alan Campbell, Peter Chambers, Richard Chambers and Michael Conlan, Paralympic gold medal winners Bethany Firth, Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth, boxer Brian Magee, who became world champion in 2012, legendary jockey Tony McCoy, who rode to glory in the Gold Cup, and Curtis Cup golfing star Stephanie Meadow made up an illustrious list that may never be bettered in terms of Northern Ireland sporting achievement.

On a star-studded night at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, some of those mentioned above won prizes such as Olympic rowing heroes Alan Campbell and the Chambers brothers plus London 2012 boxing sensations Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan who were recognised with Special Achievement awards. Michael also took away the prestigious George Best Breakthrough prize.

Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth shared the Sports Person with a Disability award while Bethany Firth was named Young Sports Star of the Year.

The record-breaking Ulster Rugby squad enjoyed more success with the Team of the Year prize while the inspiration behind a club hurling All-Ireland title for Loughgiel Shamrocks, PJ O'Mullan, was the Manager of the Year at the Belfast Telegraph awards, sponsored by Linwoods and supported by Sport Northern Ireland.

The Local Heroes prize was awarded to fencing stalwart Fiona Haldane, with Ken Nixon a well-deserved winner of the Paddy Patterson award. The St Oliver Plunkett football team claimed the Young Team of the Year accolade.

Footballing great Gerry Armstrong, over 30 years on from that iconic winning goal against Spain in the World Cup, was inducted into our Hall of Fame, with motorcycling ace Ryan Farquhar a popular winner of the hotly- contested Player of the Year prize.

Our thanks to Linwoods, Sport NI and BBC NI for use of their footage on the night and presenters Jackie Fullerton and Claire McCollum, who did such a fine job.

Thanks too, to my fellow judges Shaun Ogle from the Sports Institute Northern Ireland, Rosemary McWhinney from the NI Sports Forum and hockey legend Jimmy Kirkwood for their invaluable input and expertise on making so many difficult decisions, after our readers provided hundreds of nominations.

We have many magical memories from 2012. Here's to more glorious moments ahead for our sporting heroes in 2013.

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