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My aim is to be the best in the world: McIlroy

Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year, Rory McIlroy, is presented with his trophy by Group Sports Editor Jim Gracey
Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year, Rory McIlroy, is presented with his trophy by Group Sports Editor Jim Gracey
Ulster Rugby plaers Tom Court, Darren Cave, Stephen Ferris, Paddy Wallace and Chris Henry with the new Belfast Telegraph Ulster Rugby calendar
Nigel Worthington and Pat Jennings
Player of the Year Award winner Stephen Ferris with Nicola McCleery, Head of Marketing at Magners Irish Cider
Enjoying last night’s Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards are (from left) former Ulster hero Simon Best, Richard McClean, Assistant Managing Director of the Belfast Telegraph and INM (NI) Chief Executive Michael Brophy
Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin with his wife Judith
Celtic and Northern Ireland star Niall McGinn (right) with his agent, Gerry Carlile
Phil McCord and Sport NI Manager/Coach of the Year Liam Bradley enjoy the celebration of sporting talent at the Ramada Hotel last night. Liam was rewarded for guiding Antrim to the Ulster final for the first time since 1970
Rugby legend Dr Syd Millar, CBE, and Gavin O'Reilly, Chief Executive of Independent News & Media
Ulster GAA President Tom Daly and Tyrone manager Mickey Harte
Rory McCann, Eugene Moleon and Daniel Graham from Instonians
Alan Simpson and Jill Douglas
Northern Ireland netball players Hannah Irvine, Cathy McLean and Lisa McCaffrey attend the gala awards night at the Ramada Hotel. The team performed heroics in the Netball Nations Cup in Singapore last month
Netballers Elaine Rice and Micaela Brunton
Lynne and Kyle McCallum
Chris Henry, Cecil Watson, Rory Best and Sid Millar
Maeve Kyle is the latest big name to enter the Belfast Telegraph Hall of Fame and she was pictured at the gala awards evening at the Ramada Hotel last night with her husband, Sean
Irish Football Association President Raymond Kennedy, Sport NI Chief Executive Dr Eamonn McCartan and Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington were among the special guests at last night’s gala evening at the Ramada Hotel
Jack Cooper, Bob Colhoun, Maeve Kyle (who received the Belfast Telegraph Hall of Fame trophy) and Sean Kyle

By Peter Hutcheon

The next 12 months will be vital in the development of Rory McIlroy's career as one of the world's top golfers.

The 20-year-old from Holywood, last night voted the Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year, is setting out to establish himself as a Major contender.

He had three top 20 finishes in the Majors last year, including a top ten placing at the US Open and third place at the US PGA.

Those performances, combined with his maiden European Tour victory at the Dubai Desert Classic, helped him finish the year ranked number nine in the world.

“To be in the the top ten, the youngest since Sergio Garcia is a great honour. I don’t really think about it too much because I just want to keep getting better and better,” he said.

“At the moment there are eight better players than me in the world and hopefully by the time that I finish I can say that I held the number one spot in the world at some point in my career.

“There’s still a lot of hard work to do but hopefully I’m on the right road. Definitely a Major is a target this season. I put myself in position at the US PGA last year to win and finished third and had another top ten at the US Open.

“I had a lot of good experiences at the Majors last year and hopefully with Tiger out for a while I can seize the opportunity and take one before he gets back.”

Rory led the way on a night when a star studded audience celebrated sport here.

Congratulating all the winners Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson said: “The Belfast Telegraph is delighted to honour so many top sporting heroes at our annual awards.

“The Belfast Telegraph would also like to pay tribute to our lead sponsor Magners Irish Cider as well as Sport Northern Ireland who have been a key supporter of the awards this year and of course all our category sponsors Linwoods, Disability Needs, ONE 1918 and NI Sports Forum.”

This is the eighth year that Magners Irish Cider has partnered the Awards as title sponsor and Nicola McCleery, Head of Marketing said: “At Magners we acknowledge the Sports Awards as a very special occasion which acknowledges the outstanding sporting achievements by so many of our talented sports men and women. Magners continues to play an important role within the Northern Ireland sporting arena and we're delighted to partner the Belfast Telegraph as title sponsor and congratulate all the winners.”

Sport Northern Ireland also supported this year's awards programme and Chief Executive Eamonn McCartan said: “Sport Northern Ireland are delighted to support the Sports Awards again this year, as an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the wealth of sporting talent we have in Northern Ireland.”

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