Night of celebration as top sports stars are honoured

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Craigavon’s annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards marked a tremendous year of sporting achievements in the borough.

After a reception and dinner in Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre, Edith Jamison, chairperson of Craigavon Sports Advisory Council welcomed all of the local sports people to the recent gala evening.

This year was the 32nd year of the Sports Awards. Rushmere were once again on board as the main sponsor of both the Junior and Senior Awards ceremonies. Compere for the evening was Denise Watson and she ensured proceedings ran smoothly, introducing the various awards and chatting to the winners.

The ceremony began in earnest with the presentation of the Sports Volunteer Awards as CSAC acknowledged and celebrated the role played by volunteers in local sports clubs.

There were six recipients on the night with the awards sponsored by Henry Murray Accountants.

The Councillor Mary McNally Memorial Trophy to commemorate both her service to the Borough Council and her love of sport was presented to Sean Lennon from Gilford Boxing Club.

The Mayor of Craigavon Councillor Mark Baxter presented Seam with his award as he was recognised for his outstanding contribution to sport.

The Fergie Dawson Community Sport Award had – for the first time – joint winners: Lurgan Town Football Club and Cyril Connolly and Ronnie Stinson of the Ted Clarke Memorial Trust.

Both were very worthy winners and the award was presented by the Deputy Mayor of Craigavon Councillor Colin McCusker.

Team of the Year was awarded to St Marks Indoor Bowling Club who have had an outstanding season, conquering all before them on the way to achieving the Armagh Zone, league and cup double. In winning the Armagh Zone League the Club qualified for the All Ireland Club Championships. 64 teams competed against each other in a knockout tournament, and onceagain, St Marks finished up as champions.

The presentation of the Team of the Year was made by awards sponsor Laura McStravick from Pro Active Physiotherapy.

The recipient of the Service to Sport Award was Alan McGonigle from Portadown Rugby Football Club.

Alan has been a member of Portadown Rugby Football Club for more than 30 years, playing on all the clubs teams from the 1st XV through to the 7th XV.

Off the playing field, Alan has had a variety of administrative roles over the years, including chairman of the club committee, tour manager, and integral member of the Nutty Krust Organising Committee.

Local archer Melanie Lawther took the honours for the second year in a row in the closely contested Female Category for her success throughout the year as she finished in 8th place at the World Outdoor Championships out of a field of 700 competitors, as well as a fourth place finish at the European Indoors out of a field of 450.

Domestically Melanie was all conquering, winning the Irish Indoor and Outdoor Championships. This award was sponsored by Ulster Carpet Mills and was presented by Jennie Hampton.

Joseph Beattie from Drumgor Bowling Club took the Male Sports Personality of the Year Award following an outstanding 2013 when he amassed quite a collection of titles including UK Open Singles title, the English Masters Title, the Champion of Champions Title, and slightly closer to home, the Mid-Tyrone Singles Title.

These successes resulted in Joe becoming World No 1 in the short-mat players’ tour ranking. Martin Walsh made the presentation to Joe on behalf of Rushmere.

The Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Mark Baxter, who was present at the evening along with other Aldermen, councillors and special guests, commended all the winners and everyone who was nominated, telling them they should be proud of their achievements.