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BBC Sports Personality of the Year: AP McCoy, Carl Frampton and Dennis Taylor hail Belfast night as best ever

Northern Ireland sporting heroes hailed last night's BBC Sports Personality of the Year the greatest in the history of the awards.

Andy Murray lifted the coveted award at the SSE Arena while many from Northern Ireland were celebrated.

Champion jockey AP McCoy was awarded the lifetime achievement award, Northern Ireland football boss Michael O'Neill took Coach of the Year and Damien Lindsay lifted the Unsung Hero award.

Former 20-time champion jockey, AP McCoy - a previous winner of the overall award - said the Belfast crowd made the night the best in the history of the awards.

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He said it was "humbling" to see his name alongside the likes of Pele and Sir Alex Ferguson on his trophy and revealed he celebrated the night with a cup of tea.

Speaking to Stephen Nolan on his BBC morning radio show, he said: "The people of Northern Ireland should be very proud of the night they put together.

"I've been lucky to be at the Sports Personality of the Year before and a number of other special nights and I really thought the atmosphere in the arena was the best I have attended.

"They couldn't have made more noise, they couldn't have made it a more enjoyable night."

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Boxer Carl Frampton, who successfully defended his IBF super bantamweight title in the same venue earlier this year, said the night could not have been better.

He added: "It was great, I've been to probably the last five sports personalities and Belfast was easily the best atmosphere, but that was to be expected.

"It was a packed house, people were going crazy for anyone from Northern Ireland."

Frampton also helped present the Young Sports Personality of the Year award to gymnast Ellie Downie.

He said he was proud to be the "local boy" surrounded by sporting legends.

He added: "There was something different about last night. This one was different.

"And there was so many sporting greats in the room last night.

"I was sitting pretty close to Jessica Ennis Hill, whose is an amazing athlete, and next to me was Shane Lowry, AP McCoy and obviously my manager Barry McGuigan.

"I looked at them in awe and was happy to go around taking selfies all night."

Former snooker world champion, Dennis Taylor was also in the crowd.

He added: "It was fantastic - what a night for Belfast, I was so proud."

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