Top 10 Northern Ireland sporting moments of 2017
It's been another fine year for NI stars, and our readers have taken to www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk to vote for their highlights. Gareth Hanna reveals the results
10. GAA: Tyrone outclass Down in the Ulster Senior Football final to win their 15th title (3%)
Down reaching the final was something of a surprise, and it would have been a fairytale had they managed to become Ulster champions, but at the end of the day it was the juggernaut that is Tyrone who swept to the title, winning 2-17 to 0-15 in Clones. They successfully defended the title they won in 2016 and made it 15 Championship wins in all, with attacker Ronan O'Neill scoring both of their goals.
9. GAA: Slaughtneil retain the Ulster Senior Football title (3%)
To win the treble of Ulster Club titles, as Slaughtneil did in 2016, was extremely impressive. To do it again, back-to-back, in 2017 was unbelievable. And yet Slaughtneil did so, adding the football title to the hurling and camogie crowns they already held to complete the 'double-treble' in November. The Derry club overcame Cavan Gaels in the final, 1-15 to 0-10, to complete an astounding two years, with the All-Ireland Club Championships still to come in the New Year.
8. BOXING: Ryan Burnett becomes the unified world champion by defeating Zhanat Zhakiyanov (3%)
Having seen Carl Frampton dominate the Northern Ireland boxing scene for years, Ryan Burnett finally stepped out of his shadow and into the spotlight. Having won the IBF world title against Lee Haskins in June, Burnett was irresistible when he welcomed Kazakh fighter Zhakiyanov to the SSE Arena and beat him by unanimous decision to unify the IBF and WBA belts. The only way is up for the 25-year-old.
7. RUGBY: Iain Henderson scores a try as Ireland deny England a Grand Slam with a 13-9 win in Dublin (4%)
England came into this Six Nations clash looking to secure both a second successive Grand Slam and also set the record for the most consecutive Test victories. In the end, they'd achieve neither. Ireland blitzed them in Dublin and walked away with a gutsy victory, with Ulster lock Iain Henderson's first-half try the difference between the sides. England's winning streak was ended at 18, tied with the All Blacks who, incidentally, also had their winning streak snapped by Ireland.
6. FOOTBALL: Andy Waterworth nets two hat-tricks in seven days to help Linfield win the Irish League title and the Irish Cup (7%)
When a team need a big performance, the big players make themselves known, and that's certainly what Andy Waterworth did on this occasion for Linfield. Having surpassed Crusaders in the league standings a week previous, the Irish League veteran came up big on the final day of the season with a hat-trick in a 3-1 win at Cliftonville to lift the Gibson Cup, before doing the same in the 3-0 Irish Cup final win over Coleraine a week later as the Blues completed the treble.
5. MOTORCYCLING: Jonathan Rea finishes runner-up in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (7%)
Being nominated was a surprise in itself, according to Rea, but both the Northern Ireland sporting populous and the motorcycling community came out and voted in force for the three-time World Superbike champion, resulting in him finishing second behind winner Sir Mo Farah. A just reward for an outstanding year.
4. FOOTBALL: James McClean's winner against Wales sends the Republic into the World Cup play-offs (8%)
The Republic of Ireland and Wales had fought tooth and nail to reach the play-offs, and it was rather fitting that the two would face off in Cardiff in the final round of fixtures, likely to determine who would make it. In the end it would be the Republic, all thanks to James McClean who finished emphatically from Jeff Hendrick's cross to give them a 1-0 win at the Cardiff City Stadium.
3. DARTS: Daryl Gurney beats Simon Whitlock to win the World Grand Prix in Dublin (11%)
Up until the start of the year, Gurney was barely known by anybody outside of darting circles. But by the end of October he had become big news with his first televised title victory at the World Grand Prix in Dublin. The Londonderry thrower defeated Australian Simon Whitlock in the final to take a deserved win, and he's now one of the premier players on the PDC circuit, ranked fourth in the world.
2. MOTORCYCLING: Jonathan Rea wins his third successive World Superbike Championship (16%)
It had never been done before. In fact, to this point most people thought it was impossible. But, having dominated in 2015 and 2016, Rea set about his work with ruthless efficiency and became Northern Ireland's latest history maker. His win at Magny-Cours in France secured an unprecedented third successive world championship.
1. FOOTBALL: Stuart Dallas' late winner in Azerbaijan gives Northern Ireland a crucial 1-0 win (26%)
It was at this point everyone truly started dreaming. A tricky away tie looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw, which would have been a good result given how the hosts had controlled most of the match. But up stepped Stuart Dallas (left) in the second minute of injury time, the Leeds winger sending the travelling support home in jubilation.