THE local sports fraternity celebrated another memorable year at the City Hotel as Derry City and Strabane District Council, in association with the District Sports Forum, hosted the 2018 Derry and Strabane Sports Awards.
A total of 16 awards were presented as Strabane runner Ann Marie McGlynn’s record breaking season was recognised with the overall Sports Star of the Year award and legendary Derry kickboxer Finneen Bradley was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The awards were presented by special guests on the night Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, Paralympic champion runner Dr Michael McKillop and Team GB athletics coach Stephen Maguire.
Speaking at the presentation, Mayor McHugh commended all the winners and nominees on their successful seasons.
“It was an honour for me to recognise all the winners and nominees in the 2018 Derry and Strabane Sports Awards and I would like to congratulate everyone who played their part in another record breaking year for local sport,” he said.
“The awards were an ideal way to acknowledge and reward the hard work and dedication that so many local people put into sport at all levels across the City and District.
“Our local sports people have once again achieved notable success at local, national and international level and I am delighted we have had the opportunity to celebrate that.
“The awards were also just recognition for the many unsung grassroots heroes in our Council area whose commitment and dedication to their communities is genuinely inspiring.”
Recognising coaches of all levels is a major element of the awards and popular City of Derry Spartans coach Jim Herron was awarded Coach of the Year, while Chris Power received the Community Coach of the Year award.
The Children’s Coach of the Year went to Conor Laverty, while Steelstown GAA Coach Martina McCafferty received the Female Coach of the Year award. Liam Lunch was awarded Young Coach of the Year and Strabane’s Bill McIntyre was crowned Disability Coach of the Year.
In the team sections, Holy Cross College’s equestrian team received the School of the Year award, while Aghyaran St Davog’s all-conquering ladies footballers were Team of the Year.
Other winners included Sports Star with a disability Damien Neeson, Special Award Winner Ethan Friel, Young Female Sports Star of the Year Sommer Lecky and joint Male Sports Star of the Year Jude Gallagher and Joshua Green.
A new category this year was the Active Travel Award which seeks to recognise the efforts made by groups who have gone above and beyond in promoting and encouraging people to walk and cycle more.
The award went to the Gransha based Foyle U3A who have engaged with close to 500 older people to encourage them to walk and cycle more.