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Sports Awards: Top quality young guns aim for Young Team of the Year prize


In it to win it: The Tyrone Under-17 team celebrate winning the All-Ireland Championship
In it to win it: The Tyrone Under-17 team celebrate winning the All-Ireland Championship
Members of NI’s Commonwealth Youth Games team
Banbridge Academy captain Orla Thompson lifts the Kate Russell Trophy
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

With the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards getting ever closer, we take a look at another award that’s up for grabs at the ceremony on January 29.

There have been some superb team performances over the last year, and they will be recognised in the Young Team of the Year Award, which is sponsored by Subway.

The four nominees will be looking to follow the success of last year’s winners, Methodist College Belfast’s Girls’ 1st hockey XI, who had a fantastic year when they won the Belfast Telegraph Schools’ Cup and the All-Ireland Kate Russell Trophy.

This year, they are: Banbridge Academy’s Girls’ 1st XI hockey team, the Enniskillen Royal Boat Club, the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Youth Games squad, and the Tyrone Under-17 GAA team.

All four have very credible claims to be named Young Team of the Year after having stellar campaigns in their respective sports.

Like last year’s winners Methody, Banbridge Academy’s girls had a brilliant season as they took the Belfast Telegraph Schools’ Cup, and then went on to win the Kate Russell Trophy in March.

Katie McKee’s hat-trick helped them to a 4-0 win over Wallace High in the Schools’ Cup final, and a 6-2 victory over Ursuline Convent Thurles handed them the All-Ireland title.

Northern Ireland’s Commonwealth Youth Games team came back from the Bahamas to acclaim after they had sparkling success in the 2017 Games.

In all, the squad netted an amazing 12 medals across the week, with sprinter Aaron Sexton (200m) and long jumper Sommer Leckey bringing home golds.

There was another superb medal haul for Enniskillen Royal Boat Club, whose junior rowers bagged an impressive 11 gold medals at the Irish Rowing Championships.

It was a brilliant weekend for Derek Holland’s rowers, who blew away their opposition with a breath-taking display in Cork to dominate the event.

Tyrone’s Under-17s had a superb season as they strolled to the inaugural Ulster Under-17 Football Championship and then claimed the first ever All-Ireland Under-17 championship.

The young Red Hands became convincing Ulster champions with a thumping 3-14 to 0-16 win over Cavan, before then going on to defeat Roscommon at Croke Park in the All-Ireland final, 2-18 to 0-15.

Once again, food chain Subway have sponsored the Belfast Telegraph’s Young Team of the Year award in line with the good work they do with Northern Ireland sport.

Subway have long supported local sports, and are heavily involved with local organisations such as Ulster Rugby, the Belfast Giants, the GAA and the Northern Ireland Boys’ Football Association.

“Last year’s winners from Methody played a truly inspiring season of hockey, being great advocates for the game and striving to improve together as a team for continued success,” said Scott Heyes, chairman of Subway’s NI Marketing Board.

“This year we’re excited to see which team will be worthy successors to the high standards the girls have set.

“Grassroots sport is growing right across the island, and with over a hundred stores in Northern Ireland alone, Subway franchisees are committed to helping local sport flourish.”

“Watching the continued successes of our local sports partners is something we at Subway are extremely proud of, and we are looking forward to watching the teams, clubs and governing bodies continue to grow and develop from grassroots level to the very top.”

Belfast Telegraph


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