CRICKET legend Paddy Gillespie has become the latest inductee into the Strabane Sports Forum Hall of Fame.
Gillespie, who has been a member of Strabane Cricket Club for 65 years, was inducted at the prestigious ‘People First’ awards held in the Alley Theatre on Wednesday evening last.
Gillespie has devoted a lifetime to the promotion of the game locally and his selfless dedication to coaching has provided his beloved Strabane with an entire generation of players.
Four of his sons went on to represent Strabane with distinction with both Mark and Peter achieving international honours. Mr Gillespie is recognised nationally and internationally as ‘Mr Cricket’ and has on all occasions acted as ambassador for club, district and county.
The sport of cricket had one other winner on the night when Ireland cricketer Andrew McBrine (Donemana) was jointly selected Sports Star of the Year alongside karate’s James McFadden, holder of the All Ireland senior title and Irish international.
Soccer also had two winners on the night, Alana McShane, who secured a four-year soccer scholarship in the US and Castlederg High School, winners of the Northern Ireland Small Schools’ Cup and the Fermanagh and Western schools title.
Gaelic football was another sport to take centre stage when former Tyrone goalkeeper Pascal McConnell received the Special award, Aghyaran St Davog’s were named Club of the Year and Strabane Sigersons picked up the Senior Team of the Year accolade.
Karate’s Tom Brennan was named Manager/Coach of the Year for his sterling work with Ventures II Karate Club over the past decade while Knockavoe Knights picked up the Young Team of the Year honours.
Completing the list of winners was Gavin Forsythe, Sports Person of the Year with a Disability.
The evening was compered by Paddy Hunter with former Cliftonville manager and radio pundit, Liam Beckett and Ulster rugby player Rory Best heading the guest list.