Belfast Telegraph

It's a knock-out night for Northern Ireland's boxers at Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards

By Steven Beacom

The noble art of boxing enjoyed a knockout evening at the 2014 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, winning a host of prizes.

Carl Frampton was named Sports Star of the Year along with golfer Rory McIlroy, but there was more glory for our Kings and Queens of the ring as the success of the Team NI Commonwealth Games boxing squad was celebrated time and time and time again.

Dynamic duo Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan took home Special Recognition Awards having claimed Northern Ireland's only gold medals in Glasgow, but the fun for our fighters didn't end there.

In one of the most hotly contested categories, Michael's dad John won the Coach/Manager of the Year prize for being an inspirational force in Scotland as Team NI punched their way to a record breaking nine medals - 75 per cent of the country's total haul of 12.

The hat-trick for the boxing squad, the vast majority of whom were in attendance including silver medallists Michaela Walsh and Joe Fitzpatrick, came when they were announced as Team of the Year.

It was also a successful night for bowls, who had two award winners at the 2014 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.

Teenager Chloe Watson was picked up the Young Player of the Year award, fresh from becoming the youngest winner of the Women's Singles World Under 25 Bowls title. At the other end of the scale Doreen Miskelly, an accomplished bowls administrator for many decades was presented with the Paddy Patterson award.

Football also had double success with Northern Ireland great David Healy inducted into the Hall of Fame and one of the country's current stars Conor McLaughlin winning the sought after George Best Breakthrough Award.

McLaughlin established himself in Michael O'Neill's plans in 2014 with a series of superb performances at right back as Northern Ireland made a record breaking start to the 2016 European Championship qualifiers.

Winter Paralympics skiing champion Kelly Gallagher was another popular winner, taking home the Sports Person with a Disability prize while the Portora Royal School Boat Club Boys Junior Coxed Eight, who won the All-Ireland rowing title last year, won the Young Team of the Year trophy.

Ulster rugby star Andrew Trimble, so influential in Ireland's Six Nations glory in 2014, was the victor in the Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year category.

One of the highlights of the night saw the inspirational Anto Finnegan presented with the Local Heroes award. Since being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, the former Antrim GAA star has campaigned to raise awareness and funds for the condition and received a warm reception from the 500-strong crowd.

Take a bow: the Sports Awards roll of honour...

Sports Stars of the Year  (sponsored by Linwoods):  Carl Frampton and Rory McIlroy

NI's Greatest Sports Star Ever (as voted by Belfast Telegraph readers): 1. Joey Dunlop 2. George Best 3. Rory McIlroy

Hall of Fame (sponsored by Belleek): David Healy

Team of the Year (sponsored by Outlet): NI Commonwealth Games Boxing squad

George Best Breakthrough Award (sponsored by Ramada): Conor McLaughlin

Coach of the Year Award (sponsored by Volvo): John Conlan

Paddy Patterson Award (sponsored by NI Sports Forum): Doreen Miskelly

Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year (sponsored by Linwoods): Andrew Trimble

Local Heroes award (sponsored by Sport NI): Anto Finnegan

Sports Star with a Disability (sponsored by National Lottery): Kelly Gallagher

Special Recognition Award (sponsored by Centra): Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan

Young Team of the Year (sponsored by Sport NI): Portora Royal School Boat Club Boys Junior Coxed Eights

Young Player of the Year (sponsored by mamba): Chloe Watson

Further reading

Joey Dunlop voted as Northern Ireland's Greatest Sports Star

David Healy nets a place in Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards hall of fame

McIlroy and Frampton double tops at Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2014

Rory McIlroy and Carl Frampton share Belfast Telegraph Sports Award top prize

Carl Frampton v Chris Avalos: Belfast's atmosphere second to none. I need to win and keep these big nights happening, says the Jackal 

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