Belfast Telegraph

Our special recognition prize is just reward for tireless work


Winner: Caroline O’Hanlon received the Special Recognition Award last year
Winner: Caroline O’Hanlon received the Special Recognition Award last year
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

With the ceremony for the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards getting ever closer, there are only a few more awards that are up for debate.

While most of the awards have a shortlist of nominees from which the winner will be chosen, there are some prizes which are awarded to outstanding individuals by our esteemed judging panel for achievements outside of the other categories.

One of those is the Special Recognition Award, which is sponsored by O’Neills Sports Company and is determined by our judges.

This award recognises outstanding achievement and is an additional accolade agreed by the judges. More than one such prize may be presented on the night should the panel determine that more than one person is a deserving recipient.

That was the case last year when both Caroline O’Hanlon and Sara Booth were given Special Recognition Awards for their outstanding achievements.

As a dual star in both netball and Gaelic games, O’Hanlon was rewarded for her dedication to both sports, while Booth was recognised for her tireless work with women’s football in Northern Ireland.

This year the award will be given to someone who has shown similar levels of dedication to sport in Northern Ireland, joining a list of highly esteemed winners already recognised by the accolade.

Sponsors O’Neills Irish International Sports Company Limited specialise in the design, manufacture, personalisation and supply of performance multi-sports wear including playing kit, training and leisurewear.

O’Neills has built its reputation on supplying high-quality Gaelic games kit and has become the choice of champions supplying high-profile clubs and grassroots teams in rugby, netball, football, hockey, Australian rules and so on across the globe.

In 2018, O’Neills welcomed a number of new high-profile clubs in the world of rugby including Warrington Wolves RUFC, Brumbies RFC (Australia) and Catalan Dragons RUFC. Today, it’s Ireland’s largest sportswear manufacturing company employing over 900 staff on the island of Ireland and growing rapidly.

O’Neills is a vertically integrated manufacturing company with the main production facilities in Strabane, Co Tyrone and Walkinstown in Dublin. Technical fabrics are knitted in a state-of-the-art knitting facility in Strabane and dyed and finished in the dye house in Walkinstown.

The 12-acre site in Strabane includes a new distribution facility opened in the last quarter of 2018.

O’Neills operates a retail network across Northern Ireland with stores in Belfast, Newry, Craigavon, Strabane, Enniskillen, Magherafelt and Derry. Sales offices are located in Belfast, Leigh near Manchester, Somerset, France and Australia, and a growing network of overseas sales representatives serve the international export markets including the USA and New Zealand.

The success of O’Neills is based on 100 years of innovative thinking, entrepreneurial spirit and empowering athletes to achieve their best.

Quality is the oxygen of the O’Neills brand and a non-compromising obligation in everything they do. The team is constantly innovating, responding to customer demand and improving.

O’Neills is committed to sport, community and empowering athletes at all levels to become champions and reach the top of their game.