Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland heroes honoured at Belfast Telegraph Sports awards 2018

Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Local sporting heroes were dressed to impress last night at the annual Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.

There was no shortage of triumphs to celebrate at the glittering Waterfront Hall event, and it was four-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea who was named Sports Star of the Year for the second time.

"Seventeen race wins was beyond my wildest dreams," he said, singling out his double victory in Imola, Italy, as his personal high point.

"That gave the momentum to carry us through the middle part of the year, and from Laguna forward we just won every race. It was just a huge bubble we were living in for that summer period."

Asked what keeps him out in front, the Ballyclare racer said: "To be honest, it's about the fear of not being the guy, of not winning. You feel smarter each year, but there's always areas I can improve."

Awards were presented in two categories last night: platinum for professionals and gold for amateurs.

Football manager Oran Kearney was named Coach of the Year (platinum), having won the Irish Cup with Coleraine before getting the call to manage Scottish Premiership side St Mirren. He admitted watching footage of the winning moment of the Irish Cup final hundreds of times.

"The emotion of it was brilliant and will live with me for a long time," he said.

Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte was named the gold Coach of the Year after leading his team to the All-Ireland final.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019.
15. Sports Star of the Year   Jonathan Rea and his wife Tatia Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. 15. Sports Star of the Year   Jonathan Rea and his wife Tatia Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Sports Star of the Year Jonathan Rea shows off his award.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. 15. Sports Star of the YearÊÊ Jonathan Rea receives the Sports Star of the YearÊaward from Chris Nelmes Boulevard, Banbridge and Sarah Little, Belfast Telegraph. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Claire McCollum and Ruth Gorman pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. Holywood Golf Club girls team Katie Kevin, Heidi McMillen, Olivia McCrystal and Celina Hamill pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2018 in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. Kirsty Hegarty, Clare McAllister, Electric Ireland and Wendy Houvenaghel pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2018 in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. Kerry Jones and Elaine Junk pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2018 in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Glenn Irwin and laura McGee pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. 13. Special Recognition Award 1 Eugene Magee receives a Special Recognition Award from, Stephen Martin, Jimmy Kirkwood and Kieran Kennedy from ONeills. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. 14. Special Recognition Award 2 Rory BestÊreceives a Special Recognition Award from Willie John McBride and Jennifer Morton, Centra Brand Manager Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Terry Crothers receives the Paddy Patterson Award from Richard Johnson, NI Sports Forum Chair and Norman McBride, Hasting Hotels. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. 11. Rising Star Award Rhys McClenaghan receives the Rising Star Award from Jeremy McWilliams and Colm Conyngham, Bridgestone Tyres Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. Jennifer Hanna, winner of the Local Heroes Award, receives her award from Brian Magee and Antoinette McKeown, Sport NI. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. Sommer Lecky and Rory Best pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2018 in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. John Minnis, Ken Nixon and Stephen Smith pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2018 in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. 7. Hall of Fame Award Michael Dunlop receives the Hall of Fame Award on behalf of his late brother William, from Glen Irwin and Emma Meehan, Down Royal. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. Terry Crothers and Eilish Rutherford pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2018 in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. Katherine Parke pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2018 in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. 5b Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year PLATINUM Jacob Stockdale receives the Malcolm Brodie Platinum Player of the Year award from Mike Gibson and Paula Quinn from Celerion. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. 5b Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year PLATINUM Jacob Stockdale receives the Malcolm Brodie Platinum Player of the Year award Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. 5a. Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year GOLD Lizzie Colvin accepts the Malcolm Brodie Gold Player of the Year on behalf of Ayeisha McFerran from Pat Jennings and Paula Quinn from Celerion. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. 4. Young Player Award Sommer Lecky received the Young Player Award from Michael McKillop and Eilish Rutherford, Mary Peters Trust. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. Ruth Gorman and Shirley McCay pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2018 in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Jonathan Rea and Jeremy McWilliams at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.
William Dunlop has been inducted into the Belfast Telegraph Hall of Fame.
Shirley McCay receives the Game Changer Award from Wendy Houvenaghel and Clare McAllister from sponsors Electric Ireland Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. 2. Sportsperson with a Disability Philip Robinson (coach) receives the Sportsperson with a Disability on behalf of James McSorley from Michael ONeill and Una ONeill from JMK Solicitors. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. 1. Jimmy Nicholl receives the George Best Breakthrough Award on behalf of Gavin Whyte from Ronan McKenna, Better Leisure Centres and Gyms. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. Staff from Musgrave pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2018 in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. Staff from Revive Active pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2018 in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Oran Kearney and Michael O'Neill pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Rhys McClenaghan and girlfriend Rebecca Gilbert pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Pamela Ballantine and Alan Graham pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. Ruth Gorman and Claire McCollum pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2018 in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Zach, Thomas, Sophie, Helen and Chris Earley pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Ken Redpath Nixon Armstrong pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Willie John McBride CBE and Pat Jennings pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Paul mckeever willie Anderson pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Mervyn Whyte MBE and wife Hazel pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Oran Kearney and wife Lauren pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Nigel Ringland Cairan Donaghy pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Craig Gilroy and Chris Nelmes pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Craig Gilroy and Chris Nelmes pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2019. BELFAST TELEGRAPH SPORTS AWARDS 2018 Pamela Ballantine and Alan Graham pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in the ICC Belfast. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.

Ice hockey stars the Belfast Giants were platinum Team of the Year, while Waringstown Cricket Club took gold.

Cricketer James Mitchell (22) said strong friendships on and off the pitch were key. "I think what's special about our team is that we're all mates and we work hard for each other," he said.

After announcing himself as a new force in world rugby, Ulster and Ireland hero Jacob Stockdale was named the Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year (platinum).

Ayeisha McFerran was named gold Player of the Year for helping the Irish hockey team to the World Cup final and being named goalkeeper of the tournament.

Also attending was Northern Ireland football manager Michael O'Neill, who said he was glad to be staying on at the helm.

"I have no regrets," he said.

His top sporting moment outside football? "Easily, it's Rhys McClenaghan on the pommel horse. I loved it."

The 19-year-old gymnast from Newtownards picked up the Rising Star award, having won both Commonwealth and European Championship gold.

Wheelchair basketball player James MacSorley was named Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability, while Ulster and Ireland rugby captain Rory Best received a special recognition award alongside Ireland's most capped hockey player, Eugene Magee.

Jonathan Rea and Jeremy McWilliams
Jonathan Rea and Jeremy McWilliams
Oran Kearney and wife Lauren at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.
Claire McCollum and Ruth Gorman
Glenn Irwin and Laura McGee
Willie John McBride and Pat Jennings
Rhys McClenaghan and girlfriend Rebecca Gilbert
Sommer, Adrian, and Heather Leckey
Mervyn Whyte and his wife Hazel

Northern Ireland goalkeeping legend Pat Jennings praised the wealth of talent on show. "I live in England and just can't believe it when I come back and see the amount of talent here," he said.

"Outside of football, I watched Jonathan Rea. He's unbelievable - but he frightens the life out of me any time I watch him race."