Vote for Northern Ireland's top sporting moment of 2016 in Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards
It's been a year to savour for Northern Ireland sport with much to celebrate and cherish. So, in conjunction with the 2016 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, we have decided to run an online poll for YOU to decide what Northern Ireland’s favourite sporting moment was in 2016. We have selected 10 for you to choose from.
Please go to www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk and place your vote. The winner will be announced when the glittering Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards ceremony takes place early next year...
Take a look at Steven Beacom’s options below, choose your favourite, go to our website and get voting.
Seeley breaks Dunlop’s record (May 12, 2016)
Carrickfergus ace makes history by notching up 16th NW 200 win
Alastair Seeley has enjoyed many great moments at the North West 200 road races, but none as magical as when he won for the 16th time, breaking the record for victories at the meeting.
The fact that in doing so he passed the late, great Robert Dunlop’s number of wins over the Triangle circuit meant the world to him. The Carrickfergus man had been level with Dunlop going into the opening Supersport race at the world-renowned event. Seeley duly showed his class by pulling away from Ian Hutchinson and Martin Jessopp to triumph and clinch a historic success.
McAuley heads NI to Euro glory (June 16, 2016)
Goal the springboard for win as O’Neill’s men overcome Ukraine
It was 0-0 in Lyon in the 49th minute in Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 clash against Ukraine in a group game Michael O’Neill’s men needed to win to have a chance of reaching the knockout stages.
For thousands of fans inside the stadium and many more back home time stood still as Gareth McAuley leapt to connect with Oliver Norwood’s perfectly flighted free-kick. Then came the euphoria as McAuley’s brilliant header hit the net for Northern Ireland’s first goal in the tournament, sparking incredible scenes of celebration and inspiring a famous 2-0 victory, with Niall McGinn scoring late on to seal the monumental success.
Tyrone triumph in Ulster Final (July 17, 2016)
Red Hand county produce stirring comeback to claim title in Clones
Tyrone fans had not enjoyed Ulster Championship success since 2010, so when they bridged the gap by beating Donegal in a compelling final, there were great celebrations in the Red Hand county.
At one stage in the final Donegal led by four points, but Mickey Harte’s men would not be denied and mounted a stirring comeback to win 0-13 to 0-11 in Clones. Captain Sean Cavanagh, one of the heroes for Tyrone on a memorable day, was overjoyed to lift the Anglo-Celt Cup to roars of appreciation from his team’s supporters. It was the county’s 14th Ulster Championship success and one of their best.
Firth is GB’s golden girl (September 9, 2016)
Bethany delivers in spectacular style claiming three wins in Rio
Bethany Firth made a triumphant return to Northern Ireland from the Paralympics in Rio with four medals — three gold and one silver. What started the ball rolling was a sensational swim in the final of the S14 100m backstroke. The Team GB star was the favourite and delivered in spectacular style, breaking her own world record in a time of 1:04.05.
It was a huge moment for Firth, laying down a marker for the Games and giving her the confidence to win more golds in the 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley plus a silver in the 100m breaststroke.
Frampton is King of New York (July 30, 2016)
Jackal becomes first NI fighter to win world titles in two divisions
Two great warriors had just finished enthralling us with a breathtaking battle in Brooklyn. Now Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz waited for the result. When it came, the scenes in the Barclays Centre were something to behold as Frampton, his manager Barry McGuigan, his coach Shane McGuigan and all his fans celebrated a glorious victory on points taking the WBA world featherweight title away from Santa Cruz.
It was a stunning victory for Frampton, who became the first Northern Ireland fighter to win a world title in two different weight divisions.
Smyth’s high five in Rio (September 9, 2016)
Jason proves he is the man for the big occasion with yet another gold
No one flew into Brazil for the Paralympic Games under more pressure than sprinter Jason Smyth.
Unlike in previous Games, the Eglinton athlete, only had one race to compete in and as odds-on favourite to win the T13 100m had to come up with the goods. No problem. Smyth, who relishes the big occasion, raced home first in 10.64 seconds finishing 0.14 ahead of his nearest rival. It was another scintillating performance from Team Ireland’s Smyth as he claimed a FIFTH Paralympic gold confirming his status as the fastest Paralympian on the planet.
McKillop maintains golden unbeaten run (September 11, 2016)
Magical Michael produces goods when it matters
Imagine being unbeaten in your field for over a decade. That’s the incredible record Michael McKillop had in Paralympic competition as he headed to Rio for the 2016 Paralympic Games.
Prior to the event in Brazil, he admitted he hadn’t been at his best, but like all outstanding sports stars, McKillop produced when it mattered to retain his T37 1500m title, collect his FOURTH Paralympic gold medal and maintain that staggering undefeated run which started way back in 2005. McKillop’s experience and quality was evident in the race when he took control halfway through and never let go, passing the finish line in a time of 4:12.11.
McIlroy magic wins FedEx Cup (September 26, 2016)
Super Rory the $10m man after thrilling late night Atlanta drama
It was a dramatic play-off that seemed as if it was going to go on forever. Then Rory McIlroy upped the ante to defeat the resilient Ryan Moore, win the Tour Championship and claim the $10m (£7.7m) FedEx Cup prize in the process.
Not winning a major title in 2016 brought McIlroy’s play into sharp focus, but at in Atlanta he showed form is temporary and class is permanent. On the fourth play-off hole, McIlroy, who hit a sparkling final round 64, rolled in a 15-foot birdie to take the honours and FedEx Cup, the PGA Tour’s season-long points race, for the first time in his stellar career.
Rea rides to World Superbike joy again (October 29, 2016)
Glory in Qatar for Ballyclare rider with back-to-back championships
Winning the World Superbike title in 2015 was a wonderful achievement for Jonathan Rea. Following it up to retain the crown in 2016 was even more impressive from the hugely talented and committed Ballyclare man.
The glorious moment when Rea retained his title came in Qatar when he finished second in the first race of the meeting to ensure that he could not be caught in the championship standings. It was another classy and professional performance from Rea in a season full of them as he became the first rider since Carl Fogarty in 1999 to win successive World Superbikes titles.
Rory’s Best day as Irish captain (November 5, 2016)
Rugby men finally overcome the mighty All Blacks after 111 years
In 111 years the Ireland rugby team had never beaten the mighty All Blacks. On November 5, 2016 the men in green finally got there defeating New Zealand 40-29 in an epic contest in Chicago.
And who was the skipper? None other than Ulster’s own Rory Best, who was an inspirational figure off the pitch leading up to the match and on it once the game began. To see a smiling Best holding his daughter Penny and son Ben after the victory was a marvellous moment. Having given his all to Ulster and Ireland down the years, captaining the national side to success over the world champions was a fitting reward. “It’s history made and we’re absolutely ecstatic,” said the Co Armagh man.