CRAIGAVON Sports Advisory Council recently honoured the many achievements of junior teams and individuals at its annual Junior Sports Personality of the Year Awards at a gala evening at Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre.
This year the committee received over 55 nominations in six categories, including 21 teams, with every nominee receiving a certificate of achievement from Atlantic Rower and special guest Portadown’s Kate Richardson. Sponsors on the evening were NA Sports, The House of Sport, and The Beautiful Game.
Kate was particularly impressed with the calibre of the young athletes, speaking at the event she said, “All present at this ceremony have a lot to feel good about, they have dedicated their efforts and achieved the highest accolade possible in their own particular sport. I know everyone involved is equally proud of all of their achievements.”
Also present on the evening were local Games Makers Mairead McMahon and Nick Wright who had both recently returned from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and who shared first hand their experiences of being involved in the OIympics.
The awards evening began with the presentation of the Junior Sports Bursaries to 11 of the Borough’s up and coming sports people who have the ability and potential to compete successfully at the highest level in their sport.
The Minor Girl Award went to talented golfer Niamh McSherry from St Mary’s High School who holds the course record at Lurgan Golf Club for her exceptional achievements throughout the season. Niamh was a Schools Junior Cup winner and was also selected for the Irish U16 team to play in the European Young Masters in Hungary.
In the closely contested Junior Girls category, the award was won by Hannah Grieve for her exploits on the International scene in both hockey and cricket. During 2011-2012 Hannah represented the Irish hockey U18 side in matches against Scotland and Germany, was a UK School Games winner with Ulster in the Olympic Park in London and also represented the Irish U17 cricket team on their tour of Hampshire.
In the boys’ categories, Badminton star Norman Lau took the honours in the Junior section after enjoying a season which saw him become Irish U15 Boys Singles Champion and Yonex East of Scotland U15 Boys Singles Champion.
The Minor Boys section was won by Declan Mulholland from Clann Eireann Cycling Club who had a great season finishing second in both the Northern Ireland and Ulster Championships before winning the All Ireland Race and gaining selection for the 2020 Talent Team.
All the categories were hotly contested with the team awards showing no respite. The Minor Team Award went to joint winners Clounagh Junior High U13 Football Team and Clann Eireann Handball Doubles Team. The Clann Eireann Handball team of Alana Doran and Aiobhinn Henderson won Armagh, Ulster and All Ireland titles during the 40x20 Handball season. The footballers from Clounagh were winners of the Mid Ulster League, Mid Ulster Cup and the prestigious Northern Ireland Cup.
The girls from St. Mary’s High School U16 Handball Team were the proud recipients of the Junior Team Award which recognised their dominance of handball last season as they won Armagh, Ulster and All Ireland titles.
Craigavon Senior High School was awarded the Mary Canniffe Award – a special sporting award in recognition of a truly memorable year of sporting success for the school with no fewer than seven major trophies won school teams. In 2011 / 2012 the School’s U16 girl’s hockey, girl’s volleyball and boy’s rugby teams each won their respective Northern Ireland High Schools Cup competitions with the girls hockey team also securing a Mid-Ulster League and Cup double and the volleyballers also winning the NI Cup and NI Beach Volleyball tournament.
Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Carla Lockhart commented; “This has been a fantastic evening, these young athletes are inspirational in the immense level of dedication to their training and their sport. They have received these awards in recognition of their achievements to date, and I am sure they will all go on to achieve even higher accolades in their sporting careers.”