Young stars honoured

THE sporting stars of the future from the Southern Area were honoured at the Sports Awards 2012 in Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre.

The awards evening was organised by the Southern Sports Partnership as part of a programme funded by Sport Northern Ireland.

The nominees had participated in the Southern Sports Academy, a talent development programme delivered in conjunction with the respective National Governing Bodies – Cricket Ireland, Netball Northern Ireland, Ulster Badminton, Ulster Squash and Ulster Hockey.

Each of the 125 athletes received a commemorative medal and awards were made to each of the six squads for Most Improved and Best Performers.

Southern Sports Partnership Chairperson, Mrs Gillian Dewart, said: “This is an opportunity for the Southern Sports Partnership to showcase the depth of talent that exists within the Southern Education and Library Board area in a wide range of sports.

“It is important that as a partnership we continue to strive to provide the best opportunities for young performers in our area so that they have the greatest opportunity to reach their dreams of becoming sporting stars in the future.”

Special guests on the night were local hockey stars Penny Joyce, Neil Gilmore and Jamie Wright who have all gained international honours for Ireland.

Each of the guests was involved in a question and answer session where they informed the young athletes and their parents of how they had achieved success and the additional commitments that this required from family, coaches, clubs and themselves.

Awards were presented on the evening by representatives from each of the areas local authorities – Armagh, Banbridge, Cookstown, Craigavon, Dungannon and South Tyrone and Newry and Mourne – the Southern Education and Library Board and Sport Northern Ireland.

Award winners were:

Cricket - Best Performer, James Humphreys, Waringstown Primary School and Waringstown Cricket Club; Most Improved, Adam Speers, Edenderry Primary School, Portadown and Laurelvale Cricket Club.

Boys Hockey - Best Performer, Nathan Liggett, Banbridge Academy and Banbridge Hockey Club; Most Improved, Harvey Barnes, Cookstown High School and Cookstown Hockey Club.

Girls Hockey - Best Performer, Hannah Irwin, Royal School Armagh and Armagh Hockey Club; Most Improved, Hannah Magowan

Lurgan Junior High School and Lurgan Ladies Hockey Club.

Netball - Best Performer, Rebecca Lindsay, Cookstown High School and Mid-Ulster Netball Club; Most Improved, Ashley Nesbitt, Integrated College, Dungannon.

Racquets - Best Performer, John Scott, Edenderry Primary School, Banbridge and Seapatrick Parish, Junior Badminton Club; Most Improved, Ben Eagle, Tandragee Junior High School and Craigavon Squash Club.