Carl Frampton named Sports Star of the Year at Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards
Carl Frampton may have suffered a bruising defeat to Leo Santa Cruz, but that didn't stop the champion boxer lifting the Belfast Telegraph's Sports Star of the Year award.
The 2016 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, held at the Waterfront Hotel, also awarded other sporting heroes including Rory Best, Michael O'Neill, Michael McGovern, Jonathan Rea and Bethany Firth.
Carl Frampton delighted more than 550 guests at the event when he arrived to pick up his trophy in recognition of his sporting achievements in 2016, which included being the first home-grown boxer to win world titles at two different weights, defeating Leo Santa Cruz to claim the featherweight belt.
Northern Ireland football manager Michael O'Neill picked up his award for Coach/Manager of the Year, sponsored by Active Financial Life.
He was honoured for leading the Green and White Army to unprecedented success, reaching the last 16 of the European Championships and beating Ukraine 2-0 along the way.
The Northern Ireland squad also picked up the Team of the Year, sponsored by McComb's Coach Travel, for their performances at the Euros.
Footballer Michael McGovern won the George Best Breakthrough Award, sponsored by GYM Co for his sensational performance against Germany in Paris that earned worldwide praise as he produced a series of astonishing saves.
Snooker player Dennis Taylor was inducted into the Hall of Fame, a category sponsored by the Parr Group.
Rory Best, currently captaining Ireland in their quest for Six Nations victory, won the Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year award, sponsored by Celerion.
Bethany Firth attended to pick up her award for Sports Star with a Disability, sponsored by Crowne Plaza Belfast.
Her achievements in Rio - three gold medals and one silver - made her the most successful athlete of all for the Great Britain Paralympic squad in Brazil.
Motorsport champions Kris Meeke and Jonathan Rea both received Special Recognition Awards, sponsored by Volvo.
Up and coming sports people also featured heavily at the awards, with Methodist College Belfast's hockey team winning the Young Team of the Year Award, sponsored by Subway, while golfer Olivia Mehaffey took the Young Player of the Year Award, sponsored by Decathlon, Belfast.
Slaughtneil GAC won the Local Heroes Award, sponsored by Sport Northern Ireland, after they became the first club from Derry to win the Ulster hurling club championship and the Ulster football Championship, while their camogie team defeated Antrim in the final.
David Seaton won the WJ Paddy Patterson Award, sponsored by the Northern Ireland Sports Forum, in recognition of his commitment to athletics over several decades.
Jim Gracey, Group Sports Editor at the Belfast Telegraph, paid tribute to all the winners and finalists: "The Sports Awards was a truly uplifting night as we paid tribute to some of the most talented and dedicated in local sport."
Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards winners
- Young Team of the Year: Methody Belfast Girls' Hockey Team
- Young Player of the Year: Golfing sensation Olivia Mehaffey
- Malcom Brodie Player of the Year: Ireland skipper Rory Best
- Sports Person with a Disability award: Bethany Firth
- Special Recognition Award: Kris Meeke
- Local Heroes Award: Slaughtneil GAC
- Team of the Year: Northern Ireland football team
- Paddy Patterson Award for services to sport: David Seaton
- George Best Breakthrough Award: Northern Ireland keeper Michael McGovern
- Second Special Recognition Award: Jonathan Rea
- Manager/Coach of the Year: Michael O'Neill
- Top sporting moment of 2016 as voted by members of the public: Gareth McAuley's Euro 2016 goal against Ukraine in Lyon
- Hall of Fame award: Dennis Taylor
- Sports Star of the Year: Carl Frampton