Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Sports Star of the Year winner: Rory McIlroy

Sports Star of the Year award
Eddie Harper (second left), from Holywood Golf Club, accepts our Sports Star of the Year award on behalf of Rory McIlroy whose talent as a three-year-old Eddie spotted at the club in his role as Juvenile Convenor. Also pictured (from left) Brian Henning, Sport NI chair, David Lawlor of sponsors Linwoods and Mike Gilson, Editor of the Belfast Telegraph
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

Rory McIlroy is most definitely on the A plus list in sport these days. He's up in the same stratosphere as Lionel Messi, Roger Federer and Usain Bolt. Some going for the cool kid with the curly hair from Holywood in County Down.

In the 2005 Belfast Telegraph Sports awards, Rory was Young Player of the Year. A few years later he won the George Best Breakthrough prize at the glittering ceremony and completed a unique treble in 2009 by claiming our premier award, the Sports Star of the Year trophy.

The outrageously talented 23-year-old has done it again — he now has two Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year prizes to go with his two major titles.

Amid fierce competition for the 2012 award, golfing great McIlroy came out on top after having a brilliant year on the fairways and greens around the world.

Not only did he finish top of the money list in Europe, he finished top in the United States — a superb feat helping him become the world number one.

Rory enjoyed five tournament victories in 2012 and this in a year when some cast doubts over the Ulsterman's ability to fulfil his potential.

For the record those victories came in the Honda Classic in Florida in March, back-to-back FedEx Cup playoff events the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship in September and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November thanks to five birdies in the last five holes.

Best of all though was his second major, the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island when he blitzed a world class field to win by a record breaking eight shots in August. McIlroy was breathtaking in his final round shooting a 66 confirming that when he is on top of his game, nobody can touch him.

Sometimes he doesn't even need a proper warm-up as he showed in the Ryder Cup at Medinah. He just about made it in time for his singles battle with Keegan Bradley before playing some sensational golf to claim a crucial point in Europe’s brilliant win against American.

Rory has become such an iconic figure in modern day sport. He has travelled a long way and the journey is far from over.

Nominations

With so many outstanding performances by Northern Ireland's sporting stars in 2012, the judges felt they could not limit the shortlist for the Sports Star of the Year award to just four. Here's a rundown on all those who deserved their nominations for our top award.

Boxers Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan won Olympic bronze medals in the ring. Rower Alan Campbell took home the same colour of medal at London 2012 while Richard and Peter Chambers both have silver medals to cherish.

Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth each won two gold medals on the track at the Paralympics in London, where Bethany Firth secured gold in the swimming pool.

Away from the Olympics and Paralympics, Tony McCoy continued his incredible run of success by winning his 17th jockeys’ title and the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Synchronised to complete another thrilling season.

Portrush golfer Stephanie Meadow holed the winning putt in the Curtis Cup as Great Britain and Ireland beat a fancied American side and she followed up by triumphing in the much sought-after British Amateur Championship at Carnoustie.

Boxer Brian Magee became the WBA super-middleweight world champion after having his interim title upgraded by the governing body. Magee, hugely well liked in Ulster sporting circles, defeated Denmark's Rudy Markussen early in 2012 but lost his world title late in the year to another great Dane, Mikkel Kessler, ending a memorable 38-day reign as champion.

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