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Des and Iain honoured at Ulster's gala awards night

By Graham Hamilton

Instonians men and Randalstown women were big winners in the team awards at Ulster Hockey’s Gala Dinner at the Ramada Plaza last night.

But it was former Ulster and Irish President Des Simon and Harlequins keeper Iain Kelly who drew standing ovations from the clubs represented.

Veteran Kelly was named the Men’s Player of the Year after a season in which he not only made his 1,000th 1st XI appearance for his club but helped them reach the Anderson Cup final and qualify for the all-Ireland play-offs. And there were also tributes paid to Personality of the Year Simon, a former Ulster and Irish President, Ulster secretary and international umpire who is now in his 100th year.

Des had an 18-year stint as Branch secretary when there were no mobile phones or internet to make things easier.

But back to the team awards, and Instonians men collected a handful of trophies including the Premier League, Kirk Cup and Junior Two while their striker Stephen Kelso won the Top Goalscorer Award with 32 goals.

Randalstown women received the Denman Ulster Shield and President’s Cup while Lurgan won the Premier League title.

Pat Hall won the Winifred Templeton Award for services to Ulster women’s hockey and the Fair Play Award went to Civil Service men.

Banbridge Academy won the George Blower Trophy for excellence in schoolboy hockey after winning the all-Ireland title and the Burney Cup and Methodist College girls were also honoured, having won the All-Ireland trophy and the Senior Schools’ Cup.

Ulster Hockey President David Larmour acknowledged the work of many, including sponsors, who helped in a successful season.

Main Men’s Awards: Premier League: Instonians; Senior One: Campbellians; Kirk Cup: Instonians; Anderson Cup: Kilkeel; Linden Cup: Bangor; Sussex Regiment Cup: Cliftonville; Player of the Year: Iain Kelly (Harlequins); Personality of the Year: Des Simon; Top Goalscorer: Stephen Kelso (Instonians); Fair Play Award: Civil Service; All-Ireland Schools Cup: Banbridge Acad.; Burney Cup: Banbridge Acad.; McCullough Cup: Sullivan Upper

Main Women’s Awards: Premier League: Lurgan; Senior One: Banbridge; Senior Two: Mossley; Denman Ulster Shield (Randalstown); President’s Cup (Randalstown); Ulster Cup (Ballymena); Player of the Year: Charlene Hull (Lurgan); Winifred Templeton Award: Pat Hall; All-Ireland Schools: Methodist College; Senior Schools’ Cup: Methodist College

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