Belfast Telegraph

Joey Dunlop voted Northern Ireland's Greatest Sports Star Ever by Belfast Telegraph readers

By Nevin Farrell

Joey Dunlop has raced past George Best and Rory McIlroy to be declared Northern Ireland's Greatest Sports Star Ever - as decided by Belfast Telegraph readers.

The major award was warmly welcomed by the Dunlop family at last night's awards ceremony.

The late motorcycle star's daughter, Donna McLean, said it was unbelievable that her dad had beaten football magician Best and world's number one golfer McIlroy.

The honour was handed out at the 20th Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, where Donna was accompanied by mum Linda and sister Joanne at the star-studded ceremony.

"I am absolutely honoured," said Donna. "After this amount of years that he has not been here, it is a privilege that daddy is still thought of in such a way.

"He would have been honoured with this award and it is unbelievable to beat the likes of George Best, who is so highly thought of.

"For somebody like daddy to win such an honour is great."

Dunlop was tragically killed at the age of 48 in 2000 in a race accident in Estonia.

But during a glittering career he won the Ulster Grand Prix 24 times, the North West 200 13 times and the Isle of Man TT 26 times.

In 1986 Joey won a fifth consecutive TT Formula One world title.

Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson said thousands of readers had voted for Dunlop, a runaway winner and much-loved hero.

"Nobody could be surprised that a humble legend like Joey Dunlop is Northern Ireland's greatest ever sports star," he said.

"Joey represented all that is best about his sport and his country.

"This is the Belfast Telegraph's 20th Sports Awards, and there could not be a more appropriate winner for this special anniverary.

"The fact that our awards have been running for two decades shows the Belfast Telegraph's clear commitment to sport in Northern Ireland."

Belfast Telegraph

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