Belfast Telegraph

Game on for Belfast Telegraph's coveted manager/coach award

By Steven Beacom

Being named the Manager/Coach of the Year at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards takes some doing. The competition for this particular prize has always fierce and 2016 is no different.

There are a host of candidates in the running to be crowned this year's Manager/Coach of the Year at the glittering ceremony which will take place in Belfast early next year.

The winner at the 2015 awards was Michael O'Neill for guiding Northern Ireland to the Euro 2016 finals.

He is sure to be one of the contenders again for what he has achieved this year, having guided the nation's football team into the knockout stages of the tournament, where they were unfortunate to lose to Wales. It was a fantastic achievement cheered by all the supporters in France and those who stayed at home.

Since Euro 2016, O'Neill has continued his excellent work as Northern Ireland boss with the side in second place in their World Cup group and looking good for a short at qualifying for the finals next year.

The Republic of Ireland are on course for Russia with Ulsterman Martin O'Neill inspiring them to the top of their group after enjoying a successful Euro 2016.

Like his namesake and Northern Ireland counterpart, the elder O'Neill showed his tactical awareness by taking the Republic to the last 16 in France only to be beaten by the hosts.

The O'Neills aren't the only football managers in the running. Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter continues to work wonders at Seaview. In 2016 he was the inspiration behind the Shore Road men lifting their second Irish League title in succession. And don't forget Glenavon's Gary Hamilton, who was in charge of the Mourneview men when they won the Irish Cup.

Another manager overjoyed to see his side lift silverware this year was Tyrone boss Mickey Harte. Forever revered for leading his county to three All-Ireland titles, Harte showed he had not lost any of his magic touch by steering Tyrone to Ulster Championship glory.

Former Ulster coach Mark McCall will also be a name in the frame for the coveted award. As Director of Rugby for Saracens, the Bangor man has savoured a stunning year of success.

Not only did McCall lead Saracens to English Premiership glory, but there was also a European Champions Cup triumph to enjoy. Under McCall, Saracens became kings of Europe for the first time defeating French outfit Racing 92 21-9 in the decider.

Lisnagarvey hockey coach Errol Lutton also had plenty to celebrate this year leading his side to the EY Hockey League Champions trophy.

Carl Frampton's coach Shane McGuigan was nominated for this prize before and will be in the mix again after playing a crucial part in the Belfast man becoming the first Northern Ireland boxer to claim two world titles at two different weights.

And let's not forget Nelson Lindsay, coach of swimmer Bethany Firth who won an extraordinary three gold medals and a silver at the Paralympic Games.

We're sure you'll have a few suggestions of your own for Belfast Telegraph Manager/Coach of the Year. To nominate please email or write to Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, c/o Jcomms, Sylvan House, 232-240 Belmont Road, Belfast, BT4 2AW. Please include your reasons why you believe they should win the award. Nominations close on December 9.


As well as looking for your nominations in the various categories of the 2016 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, you can also vote for Northern Ireland’s greatest sporting moments of the year.

Pick your sporting moment of 2016

As well as looking for your nominations in the various categories of the 2016 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, you can also vote for Northern Ireland’s greatest sporting moments of the year.

Please see the 10 options below... you can vote for your favourite at in the Sports Awards section.

  • Gareth McAuley’s Euro 2016 NI goal v Ukraine
  • Carl Frampton beating Leo Santa Cruz
  • Jonathan Rea retaining his World Superbike title
  • Bethany Firth’s golden world record
  • Jason Smyth’s gold at Paralympics
  • Michael McKillop’s gold at Paralympics
  • Rory Best leading Ireland to victory over New Zealand
  • Rory McIlroy winning FedEx Cup
  • Tyrone lifting the Ulster Championship
  • Alastair Seeley breaking Robert Dunlop’s NW200 record

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