Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Our Manager of Year will be difficult call

Winners: Mickey Harte, winner of the Gold Manager/Coach Award and Oran Kearney, winner of the Platinum Manager/Coach Award receive their awards from Gerry Armstrong and Stephen Allen, Linwoods last year
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

After a year of sensational team achievements in Northern Ireland sport, at the 2020 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards we will recognise the incredible work done by the coaches and managers of some of those sides.

The Manager/Coach of the Year prize, which is sponsored by event host Crowne Plaza Hotel, is typically one of the toughest to judge in our prestigious awards, and this year is no exception.

With so many amazing team achievements over the past 12 months, this award is split into platinum and gold categories, rewarding both a professional and an amateur for their dedicated work.

On the professional (platinum) side of the accolade, Northern Ireland men’s senior football team manager Michael O’Neill is in the running yet again after leading his side to the Euro 2020 play-offs, but he faces some stiff competition.

Ireland senior women’s hockey coach Sean Dancer will surely have a strong case after leading them to their first ever appearance at the Olympics, Linfield manager David Healy is also in the running for almost taking the Blues to the Europa League group stages after winning the Irish League title, and Ulster Rugby head coach Dan McFarland would also be a worthy winner for leading the province to the knockouts in both Europe and the Guinness PRO14.

On the amateur (gold) side, it will also be a tough contest, with karate coach Liam Haslem, Bethany Firth’s swimming coach Nelson Lindsay, who led her to four medals at the World Para-swimming Championships, Kilcoo manager Mickey Moran, whose side won their first ever Ulster Club title, and double-winning Pegasus hockey head coach Greg Thompson all in the running.

This year, we are delighted to have our awards ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belfast, which will be held in their recently renovated Grand Ballroom, and we are also thrilled that they will also sponsor this award.

The hotel’s recent refurbishments have raised it to a new level, firmly positioning it as a top Belfast venue for accommodation, dining, weddings, events and conferences.

The Crowne Plaza boasts extensive dining options, including locally-sourced produce and fine wine in The Green Room, modern Indian cuisine in The Spice Club and relaxed yet stylish dining in The River Bar & Lounge.

The hotel offers 21 modern event spaces, from sleek boardrooms to the Grand Ballroom accommodating up to 900 people, catering for conferences, gala dinners and celebrations of varying sizes.

The hotel also offers a superior choice for wedding celebrations with its romantic setting and impeccable wedding services.