Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Race is on to follow Martin and seal a place in Hall of Fame spot

By Graham Luney

It is regarded as one of the biggest and best accolades in Northern Ireland and on Monday evening we will find out which one of our iconic sporting heroes will be inducted into our Hall of Fame.

For more than two decades legendary figures from Northern Ireland sport have been given that special recognition and now the big question is who will savour that magical moment at the 2016 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards at the Waterfront Hall?

The most recent winner of the coveted award - which this year will be sponsored by Parr Group - was former Northern Ireland captain and current Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill.

The ex-Leicester City and Celtic boss joined an elite band of greats. The man himself was touched to receive the award from old international team-mates and close friends Pat Jennings and Gerry Armstrong.

O'Neill said: "This means a great deal to me. I'm so delighted. I really am honoured and overwhelmed to be in the company of the people who have already won it."

The 64-year-old from Kilrea was the latest in an impressive list of Northern Ireland footballers to be inducted into the Belfast Telegraph Hall of Fame.

Pat and Gerry were already there alongside Billy Bingham, Bertie Peacock, Harry Gregg, David Healy and of course George Best. What a roll of honour. When you throw in the other sporting sensations honoured by the Belfast Telegraph sports writers, it gives an indication of just how many wonderful people we have had representing Northern Ireland throughout the ages. Rugby legends Jack Kyle, Willie John McBride and Mike Gibson have all been inducted into the Hall of Fame, as have GAA greats Sean O'Neill, Paddy Doherty and Mickey Harte.

Athletics heroes Dame Mary Peters and Maeve Kyle are in the star-studded line-up along with golfer Norman Drew, motorsport hero Paddy Hopkirk, boxer Barry McGuigan and the finest jump jockey of all time, Sir Anthony McCoy.

Parr Group, which has over 15 years' experience providing building services to private and public clients across a range of sectors throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe, are thrilled to join the awards party.

Stephen Parr said: "Throughout the years we have always championed local sports stars and have supported many through sponsorship in their early and professional careers. Throughout 2016/17 we are sponsoring IMMAF European and World Champion Leah McCourt, professional boxer Steven Ward and recently turned pro welterweight Lewis Crocker, and we hope that one day they will be on stage collecting one of these prestigious awards."