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Poll: Who is Northern Ireland's greatest ever sports star? From George Best to Alex Higgins and Rory McIlroy to Tony McCoy - Vote now

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George Best is regarded by everyone as one of the greatest footballers of all time, and by many, including Brazilian icon Pele, as THE best of the lot.
The Belfast boy, who lived a rock and roll life, had staggering skill and balance, which he used to score for Man United in their 1968 European Cup final victory, one of 179 goals for the club. A breathtaking talent.

George Best is regarded by everyone as one of the greatest footballers of all time, and by many, including Brazilian icon Pele, as THE best of the lot. The Belfast boy, who lived a rock and roll life, had staggering skill and balance, which he used to score for Man United in their 1968 European Cup final victory, one of 179 goals for the club. A breathtaking talent.

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Peter Canavan - Gaelic football - known as 'Peter the Great', the Tyrone native is considered one of the finest players in GAA history and Ulster's number one. He is also one of Ulster's most decorated players in the sport. He captained Tyrone to their first All-Ireland triumph in 2003 and won Sam Maguire again with the county in 2005. A glorious player made for the big occasion.

Peter Canavan - Gaelic football - known as 'Peter the Great', the Tyrone native is considered one of the finest players in GAA history and Ulster's number one. He is also one of Ulster's most decorated players in the sport. He captained Tyrone to their first All-Ireland triumph in 2003 and won Sam Maguire again with the county in 2005. A glorious player made for the big occasion.

 Darren Clarke - Golf  - The big Ulsterman had enjoyed a fine career, but took it to a different level when he won The Open Championship in 2011 – one of the most popular sporting successes in recent memory. Another memorable performance came in the 2006 Ryder Cup when he shone in an emotional victory for Europe, just weeks after his wife had passed away.

Darren Clarke - Golf - The big Ulsterman had enjoyed a fine career, but took it to a different level when he won The Open Championship in 2011 – one of the most popular sporting successes in recent memory. Another memorable performance came in the 2006 Ryder Cup when he shone in an emotional victory for Europe, just weeks after his wife had passed away.

 Peter Doherty - Football - The Magherafelt man was rated as a football genius by Liverpool's legendary manager Bill Shankly. Doherty inspired Man City to their first league title in 1937, scoring 30 goals from inside left, and was the driving force in 1946 when Derby won the FA Cup. A revered Northern Ireland star, he went on to manage his country to the 1958 World Cup finals.

Peter Doherty - Football - The Magherafelt man was rated as a football genius by Liverpool's legendary manager Bill Shankly. Doherty inspired Man City to their first league title in 1937, scoring 30 goals from inside left, and was the driving force in 1946 when Derby won the FA Cup. A revered Northern Ireland star, he went on to manage his country to the 1958 World Cup finals.

Modest champion: Joey Dunlop was known the world over as the greatest road racer of them all

Modest champion: Joey Dunlop was known the world over as the greatest road racer of them all

Burning bright: Carl Frampton is blazing a trail in world boxing

Burning bright: Carl Frampton is blazing a trail in world boxing

 Mike Gibson Rugby - Mike is looked upon as one of the gods of rugby. Capable of creating all sorts of magic from the back line, he first played for Ireland as a 21-year-old in 1964. He finished his international career a legend in 1979 having amassed 69 caps. Gibson also featured on FIVE Lions tours, including the victorious trips to New Zealand in 1971 and South Africa in 1974.

Mike Gibson Rugby - Mike is looked upon as one of the gods of rugby. Capable of creating all sorts of magic from the back line, he first played for Ireland as a 21-year-old in 1964. He finished his international career a legend in 1979 having amassed 69 caps. Gibson also featured on FIVE Lions tours, including the victorious trips to New Zealand in 1971 and South Africa in 1974.

 Alex Higgins Snooker - Few can say they took their sport out of the wilderness and into the public eye. Alex Higgins can, doing it in the most remarkable fashion. The Hurricane became World Champion in 1972 and more memorably in 1982. In his career, Alex was often in trouble with authority which only seemed to increase the fascination in him and his popularity

Alex Higgins Snooker - Few can say they took their sport out of the wilderness and into the public eye. Alex Higgins can, doing it in the most remarkable fashion. The Hurricane became World Champion in 1972 and more memorably in 1982. In his career, Alex was often in trouble with authority which only seemed to increase the fascination in him and his popularity

 David Healy Football - Northern Ireland's all-time leading goalscorer with a stunning 36 goals, Healy also holds the record for the most goals in a Euro qualifying campaign with 13 – three coming in a 3-2 victory over a star-studded Spain side. King David, as he's known, had scored the winner against England the year before on an unforgettable night at Windsor.

David Healy Football - Northern Ireland's all-time leading goalscorer with a stunning 36 goals, Healy also holds the record for the most goals in a Euro qualifying campaign with 13 – three coming in a 3-2 victory over a star-studded Spain side. King David, as he's known, had scored the winner against England the year before on an unforgettable night at Windsor.

 Pat Jennings Football - 'BIG Pat' played an amazing and record breaking 119 games for Northern Ireland. His international career spanned over 22 years, and included two World Cup finals, where he excelled. A hero for both Spurs and Arsenal, Jennings made over 1,000 appearances in his outstanding career and was once considered the best goalkeeper on earth.

Pat Jennings Football - 'BIG Pat' played an amazing and record breaking 119 games for Northern Ireland. His international career spanned over 22 years, and included two World Cup finals, where he excelled. A hero for both Spurs and Arsenal, Jennings made over 1,000 appearances in his outstanding career and was once considered the best goalkeeper on earth.

 Paddy Hopkirk Motorsport - In 1964, Paddy Hopkirk saw off the likes of Mercedes, Porsche and Saab to win the famous Monte Carlo Rally with Henry Liddon in his Mini Cooper. Paddy's victory is still considered one of the most significant events in the history of the British automobile industry. A winner of numerous other races, home and abroad, colourful character Hopkirk is still considered rallying royalty.

Paddy Hopkirk Motorsport - In 1964, Paddy Hopkirk saw off the likes of Mercedes, Porsche and Saab to win the famous Monte Carlo Rally with Henry Liddon in his Mini Cooper. Paddy's victory is still considered one of the most significant events in the history of the British automobile industry. A winner of numerous other races, home and abroad, colourful character Hopkirk is still considered rallying royalty.

 Tony McCoy Horse Racing - Quite simply the greatest jump jockey of all time. There isn't even an argument about it. He is in a league of his own and the figures bear that out. He has won every race going, including the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup, and last year went past the 4,000 mark. Now 40, this marvellous man from Moneyglass might even make it to 5,000. AP McCoy truly is unbelievable

Tony McCoy Horse Racing - Quite simply the greatest jump jockey of all time. There isn't even an argument about it. He is in a league of his own and the figures bear that out. He has won every race going, including the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup, and last year went past the 4,000 mark. Now 40, this marvellous man from Moneyglass might even make it to 5,000. AP McCoy truly is unbelievable

 Willie John McBride Rugby - WILLIE John is the Ulsterman who re-wrote British and Irish Lions history. In five Lions tours, he won 17 caps and was the most inspiring leader of them all, captaining the Lions to their greatest success in South Africa in 1974. McBride, a true warrior, also played 63 Tests for Ireland and was regarded as one of the best locks around.

Willie John McBride Rugby - WILLIE John is the Ulsterman who re-wrote British and Irish Lions history. In five Lions tours, he won 17 caps and was the most inspiring leader of them all, captaining the Lions to their greatest success in South Africa in 1974. McBride, a true warrior, also played 63 Tests for Ireland and was regarded as one of the best locks around.

 Jack Kyle Rugby - When Jack Kyle was at his bewildering best he was unstoppable, which was just about every time he put on a rugby top. The Belfast man, now 88, played for Ireland between 1947 and 1958, winning 46 caps, and masterminded a first Grand Slam success in 1948. Also a majestic Lion, Kyle is lauded the rugby world over as one of the finest players ever.

Jack Kyle Rugby - When Jack Kyle was at his bewildering best he was unstoppable, which was just about every time he put on a rugby top. The Belfast man, now 88, played for Ireland between 1947 and 1958, winning 46 caps, and masterminded a first Grand Slam success in 1948. Also a majestic Lion, Kyle is lauded the rugby world over as one of the finest players ever.

 Dave McAuley Boxing - IN 1989, Larne's Dave 'Boy' McAuley defied the odds to take the IBF World flyweight title, beating Duke McKenzie at Wembley Arena. It was a magnificent win and deserved too. McAuley, who previously had two Fights of the Year with Colombian Fidel Bassa in 1986 and 1987, went on to defend his title six times – a Northern Ireland record.

Dave McAuley Boxing - IN 1989, Larne's Dave 'Boy' McAuley defied the odds to take the IBF World flyweight title, beating Duke McKenzie at Wembley Arena. It was a magnificent win and deserved too. McAuley, who previously had two Fights of the Year with Colombian Fidel Bassa in 1986 and 1987, went on to defend his title six times – a Northern Ireland record.

Barry McGuigan Boxing - Barry is now the manager of Carl Frampton. Back in the day he was one of the most celebrated sporting stars around, winning the World featherweight title at Loftus Road in 1985. A Commonwealth Games champion for Northern Ireland, he united the nation during 'the Troubles' leading to the famous quote 'leave the fighting to McGuigan'.

Barry McGuigan Boxing - Barry is now the manager of Carl Frampton. Back in the day he was one of the most celebrated sporting stars around, winning the World featherweight title at Loftus Road in 1985. A Commonwealth Games champion for Northern Ireland, he united the nation during 'the Troubles' leading to the famous quote 'leave the fighting to McGuigan'.

 Graeme McDowell Golf - The Portrush man ended a 40-year drought for Europeans at the 2010 US Open when he won the tournament at Pebble Beach. It was an historic victory, opening the floodgates for Northern Ireland to become 'the golfing capital of the world'. In the same year G-Mac was the hero in the Ryder Cup winning the final point to clinch a thrilling victory for Europe.

Graeme McDowell Golf - The Portrush man ended a 40-year drought for Europeans at the 2010 US Open when he won the tournament at Pebble Beach. It was an historic victory, opening the floodgates for Northern Ireland to become 'the golfing capital of the world'. In the same year G-Mac was the hero in the Ryder Cup winning the final point to clinch a thrilling victory for Europe.

Sean O'Neill Gaelic football - Down man Sean is renowned as a visionary off the field for his work with the GAA. On it he was one spectacular player scoring goals and points galore for his county. Sean is rated as one of the best GAA players ever. Little wonder given this wonderful individual was hugely influential when Down won All-Ireland titles in 1960, 1961 and 1968.

Sean O'Neill Gaelic football - Down man Sean is renowned as a visionary off the field for his work with the GAA. On it he was one spectacular player scoring goals and points galore for his county. Sean is rated as one of the best GAA players ever. Little wonder given this wonderful individual was hugely influential when Down won All-Ireland titles in 1960, 1961 and 1968.

Rory McIlroy Golf - The current world number one and a FOUR-time Major championship winner, Rory McIlroy is a global superstar. He won the US Open at the age of just 22 in 2011, and in 2012 triumphed at the US PGA Championship. This year the Holywood hero has won the Open and US PGA. What a talent. Right now, Rory's one of the best sportsmen on the planet.

Rory McIlroy Golf - The current world number one and a FOUR-time Major championship winner, Rory McIlroy is a global superstar. He won the US Open at the age of just 22 in 2011, and in 2012 triumphed at the US PGA Championship. This year the Holywood hero has won the Open and US PGA. What a talent. Right now, Rory's one of the best sportsmen on the planet.

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Dame Mary Peters Athletics - The one and only Dame Mary Peters is the one and only female on our list. Mary will forever be our Golden Girl, the lady who delivered a never to be forgotten Olympic gold medal success to Northern Ireland in 1972 in the pentathlon, creating a new world record in the process. Also a multiple gold medal winner at the Commonwealth Games, there really is something about Mary.

Dame Mary Peters Athletics - The one and only Dame Mary Peters is the one and only female on our list. Mary will forever be our Golden Girl, the lady who delivered a never to be forgotten Olympic gold medal success to Northern Ireland in 1972 in the pentathlon, creating a new world record in the process. Also a multiple gold medal winner at the Commonwealth Games, there really is something about Mary.

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George Best is regarded by everyone as one of the greatest footballers of all time, and by many, including Brazilian icon Pele, as THE best of the lot. The Belfast boy, who lived a rock and roll life, had staggering skill and balance, which he used to score for Man United in their 1968 European Cup final victory, one of 179 goals for the club. A breathtaking talent.

So who is Northern Ireland's greatest sports star ever? The Belfast Telegraph intends to find out... and we need your help.

To celebrate the 20th Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, which will be held in Belfast on January 26, 2015, a judging panel has shortlisted Northern Ireland's top 20 sports stars and now it is up to YOU to decide who should be number one.

Any sporting star who was born in Northern Ireland or has represented Northern Ireland/Ulster in their particular fields were considered.

We selected the 20 by considering star quality, status, ability, achievement and contribution to Ulster sport.

Now it is YOUR turn.

Check out the amazing list of names below, marvel at the sporting giants Northern Ireland has produced 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.

Northern Ireland's greatest sports star ever

Belfast Telegraph