Belfast Telegraph

Young guns have been firing in bid for Young Player prize


Showing medal: Sommer Lecky
Showing medal: Sommer Lecky
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

With under a week to go until the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards ceremony at the Waterfront Hall, the excitement to see who will come out on top in each category is growing.

A fantastic night celebrating all of Northern Ireland’s sporting achievements over the past 12 months, the Awards will reflect a phenomenal year at all levels and for all ages.

Another prize that will honour some of our up-and-coming stars is the Young Player of the Year award, which is sponsored by the Mary Peters Trust.

To buy tickets for the awards ceremony, visit

This award will recognise the work of a Northern Ireland sportsperson who is under 18 and has had a brilliant year.

A strong shortlist is up for the accolade this year, making it one of the toughest award categories for our panel to determine the winner.

Ormeau table tennis sensation Sophie Earley is on the shortlist, the 12-year-old rising to the top of the Irish Under-18 rankings after becoming the first person her age to win an adult ranking title. She also went to the Global Cadet Team Challenge.

Belfast Star’s top shooter CJ Fulton is also in the running after a big year for the fledgling basketball star, who received high praise with the Ireland Under-18s and Under-19s in 2018.

World Junior Championship silver medallist and Irish Under-20 high jump record holder Sommer Lecky will also have a case for the award after her impressive record-breaking year.

Taekwondo fighter Jodie McKew also had a great year as she represented Team GB and picked up multiple gold medals in a memorable 2018.

And the final nominee is golfer Tom McKibbin, who won the Major Champions Invitational in Florida and also made his first European Tour appearance at the Shot Clock Masters in Austria as an amateur.

The award is sponsored by the Mary Peters Trust, whose aim is to help aspiring young athletes realise their maximum potential by assisting them in both a financial and advisory capacity.

The Trust supports talented young sportsmen and women, both able-bodied and disabled, from across Northern Ireland by selecting the best athletes, financially supporting them and providing access to experts who support their pathway to success.

The Trust currently has the campaign ‘Mary’s Race to a Million’, which aims to raise £1m by Dame Mary’s 80th birthday so the charity can continue to financially support young sportsmen and women across Northern Ireland for years to come.

Dame Mary said: “I want to ensure that, long after I’m gone, the sporting stars of tomorrow still receive financial assistance to enable them to fulfil their sporting potential.

“Crucially, I want to know that the Mary Peters Trust will continue to provide for the sporting generations of tomorrow. That’s why we have so many fundraising events lined up in 2019 which we would love everyone to get behind.”

To buy tickets for the awards ceremony, visit