Belfast Telegraph

Poll: What is Northern Ireland's greatest sporting moment? From McIlroy and McCoy to Armstrong and Peters

Voting is now closed on this poll

To coincide with the 2015 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, sponsored by Linwoods, we’re celebrating Northern Ireland’s greatest sporting moments. And we need your help to select the number one. We have chosen 10 of NI’s best moments from 10 different sports. Now it is over to you. Get voting for your favourite at

Our sports department have chosen 10 of Northern Ireland's greatest sporting moments from 10 different sports and now it is up to you to decide who should be number one. Check out the wonderful list of memorable sporting moments below and then get voting. Please supply your contact details to be entered into a draw for two tickets for the big awards night, when results will be revealed.

Snooker: Dennis Taylor wins 1985 World title in black ball finish 

In the early hours of a Monday morning in April 1985, 18.5 million people sat up to watch Dennis Taylor overcome Steve Davis in the World Snooker Championship final. They were rewarded with one of the most dramatic finishes in sport with Taylor winning the compelling 68 minute last frame on the black. Earlier in the final, Coalisland man Taylor trailed Davis 8-0 before mounting a startling comeback.

After 34 frames the score was tied at 17-17. Then came that never to be forgotten deciding frame which went all the way a black ball finish. Both players had opportunities to claim the title, before Taylor finally sunk the black into the corner pocket starting crazy celebrations in the Crucible Theatre, Coalisland and all over Northern Ireland.  The final lasted 14 hours and 50 minutes, but is largely remembered for Dennis holding his nerve with the last shot of the match - a magical sporting moment.

Rugby: Ulster triumph at Lansdowne Road in 1999 European Cup final

On January 30, 1999  tens of thousands of Ulster rugby fans invaded Dublin. The reason? The European Cup final, which was being staged at Lansdowne Road. Ulster, coached by Harry Williams, had performed brilliantly to reach the decider defeating French sides Toulouse and Stade Francais on the way.

Another French outfit Colomiers were never going to spoil their big day. The forwards excelled and full-back Simon Mason kicked like a dream scoring six penalties. David Humphreys landed a drop goal for good measure as Ulster triumphed 21-6. It was an outstanding all round performance from the Ulster men. They stood up and then some. What a moment it was for all the Ulster supporters when Humphreys and the injured Mark McCall lifted the European Cup towards the sky. It remains Ulster Rugby's greatest moment and a day for all Northern Ireland sports fans to treasure.

Motorcycling:  Philip McCallen wins five races in one day at the 1992 North West 200

Down the years there have been many remarkable feats by motorcyclists in Northern Ireland but few can compare to what Philip McCallen achieved at the 1992 North West 200. He won FIVE races in ONE day at the prestigious meeting – a record which has never been surpassed and is unlikely to be. That day McCallen, an incredibly aggressive and gifted rider, owned the Triangle circuit. There was no one to touch him. He was at the top of his game. He won the 400cc, 600cc, 250cc races as well as both Superbike races in a masterly show.

Had he not slid off in the second 250cc race, he would probably have claimed six victories in a single day. McCallen was the talk of Northern Ireland for weeks after his high five. Years on, that glorious afternnon is still talked about in awe by the motorcycling fraternity.

Horse Racing:  Tony McCoy secures Grand National victory in 2010

The great Tony McCoy had competed in the Grand National on 14 occasions without success. Some wondered if the best jump jockey of all time would ever triumph in the most famous race in his sport.

On April 10, 2010 the dream for the marvellous Moneyglass man came true as he rode 10/1 joint favourite Don't Push It to a famous and fabulous victory, cheered to the rafters at Aintree and beyond. Don't Push It jumped the last alongside Black Apalachi, and then McCoy's riding expertise, experience and insatiable desire to pass the post first took over.

When McCoy crossed the finish line ahead of the rest, the roar from AP's adoring fans could be heard for miles. He wasn't the only one waiting for this magical moment to finally happen. Known as one of the toughest sportsmen around, Tony wiped away a few years, joyful that at the 15th attempt he had, at last, won the Grand National.

Hockey: Jimmy Kirkwood and Stephen Martin win 1988 Olympic gold in Seoul

Prior to 1988, the only Northern Ireland person to have collected a gold medal at the Summer Olympics was Mary Peters.

After Seoul, two more men had added their names to the list – Jimmy Kirkwood and Stephen Martin who were part of the Great Britain hockey squad to finish on top of the podium at the Games. Sean Kerly was the goalscoring star for the side and Ian Taylor sensational in goal, but Northern Ireland's dynamic duo also played their part in a spectacular victory.

Kirkwood, a daring forward, used his skills as a substitute during the tournament while the rock steady Martin came off the bench in the famous final success over Germany, winning his 50th British cap in the process. Now 27 years on from triumph Jimmy and Stephen remain the only Northern Ireland men to ever be presented with a gold medal at the summer Olympics, illustrating just how big that moment was.

Golf: Rory McIlroy wins his first major title, the US Open in 2011

It was in April 2011 that Rory McIlroy had what became known as his 'Masters meltdown' collapsing over the last nine holes of his final round at Augusta when a first major title was on the cards. Two months later McIlroy showed incredible character and all his class to take the honours at the US Open. That first major was his and in the most sensational style possible. Rory didn't just win the US Open, he walked away with it in record breaking fashion. McIlroy's 72 hole aggregate score of 268 (16 under) was a new US Open record and this at the age of 22! The Holywood star shot 65, 66, 68 and 69 in four superb rounds at Congressional Country Club in Maryland to blitz the field in a performance that showed the world McIlroy was the real deal and that he was only just beginning.

GAA: Tyrone and Armagh play each other in the  All-Ireland final in 2003

Never before in the history of the competition had two teams from the same province contested the All-Ireland Senior Football final, but Tyrone and Armagh broke the mould in 2003. Croke Park was filled with voices from the two Ulster counties on what was a truly memorable occasion.  Armagh, led by Joe Kernan, were the reigning All-Ireland champions while Tyrone, with Mickey Harte in charge, were a team on the up and up.

Tyrone had never won the All-Ireland title, but in a competitive contest they emerged victorious by 12 points to nine. After Tyrone captain Peter Canavan lifted the Sam Maguire trophy he delivered a passionate speech  about what the win meant to the county and all the players who had gone before. The result was, of course, hugely important, but the historical nature of the all Ulster occasion was the most significant of all.

Football: Northern Ireland beat hosts Spain 1-0 in the 1982 World Cup

Northern Ireland were supposed to be lambs to the slaughter. They had drawn their first two games in the 1982 World Cup finals and next up was a trip to Valencia to face Spain, the hosts of the tournament. Around 50,000, the vast majority of them cheering on the Spanish, crowded into the Luis Casanova stadium expecting a home win.

Managed by Billy Bingham and captained by Martin O'Neill the Northern Ireland team, from Pat Jennings in goal to Gerry Armstrong in attack, were heroic. Armstrong stunned the opposition in the 47th minute when he gave Northern Ireland the lead after brilliant approach play from Billy Hamilton. Then came a wonderful rearguard action when Bingham's men delivered a defensive masterclass, even after Mal Donaghy was harshly sent off.  Strong mentally and physically, Northern Ireland won 1-0 to go through to the next round and claim one of the country's greatest sporting victories.

Athletics: Mary Peters wins gold at the Olympics in Munich 1972

Dame Mary Peters will forever be known as Northern Ireland's 'golden girl' for her stunning Olympic Games triumph in 1972. Mary was inspired in Munich and produced the performance of her life in the pentathlon.

Then 33, she excelled in the 100m hurdles, shot put and high jump on day one to lead by a large margin. The gap was cut by home favourite Heide Rosendahl after the long jump at the start of day two leaving the destiny of the gold medal riding on the final event – the 200m. Rosendahl ran superbly, but Peters would not be denied, sprinting as if her life depended on it. She finished fourth behind the West German with both ladies waiting anxiously at the finish line to see who had come out on top on the overall scoreboard.  It was Mary.. by 10 points. Cue a big smile from the woman herself and joy all over Northern Ireland.

Boxing: Barry McGuigan claims world title at Loftus Road in 1985

Even now, more than 30 years on when Barry McGuigan's world title victory at Loftus Road is shown on television,  it has the capacity to send shivers down your spine. It seemed like every person from Northern Ireland had made the trip to London that June night in 1985 to see McGuigan take on the great Eusebio Pedroza for the WBA featherweight belt. Roared on by thousands inside the stadium and millions watching on TV, McGuigan was magnificent knocking down the champion from Panama in the seventh round. mPedroza was a warrior and having risen from the canvas fought to the end of 15 gruelling rounds, but when the final bell rang everyone knew Barry had become the new champion of the world. Once the official verdict was announced that McGuigan had won on points the party to celebrate a famous victory began.

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