Ireland hockey star Ayeisha McFerran was feted at last night’s Mid and East Antrim Council Sports Awards.
The Larne native was crowned Sportsperson of the Year at the ceremony in the Tullygally Glass House Hotel, Ballymena.
Ayeisha was commended for her outstanding performances at the World Cup earlier this year. The Ireland team finished runners-up to the Netherlands following an incredible showing at the tournament with Ayeisha named the number one goalkeeper.
One of Ulster Ruby’s biggest names, Jonathan Bell was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. Originally from Larne, the player turned coach has 36 caps for Ireland, competing in two world cups.
Jonathan is a true ambassador of the game, still sharing his passion and knowledge for it, coaching at Ulster before moving to Gloucester Rugby Club in 2015.
Nominees from the sporting world,including coaches, teams and individuals, battled it out in nine categories to clinch the trophies. The award winners include:
⦁Junior Sportsperson of the Year - Christopher Donald, cycling;
⦁Veteran’s Award – Trevor Calderwood, motocross;
⦁Sportsperson with a Disability – Claire Taggart, Boccia
⦁Services to Sport – John Maybin, rugby;
⦁School Sporting Performance – Ballymena Academy Medallion Rugby;
⦁Sportsperson of Year – Ayeisha McFerran, hockey;
⦁Team of the Year – Whitehead Bowling Team;
⦁Coach of the Year – Gary McKeegan, cycling;
⦁Hall of Fame – Jonathan Bell, Rugby.
This year two £500 bursaries from Balon Sportswear were also awarded to Joel McKimm (golf) and Katie and Isla Allen (athletics).
The Mayor, Cllr Lindsay Millar, said: “I want to congratulate all the winners and finalists in the fourth annual Mid and East Antrim Sports Awards.
“The awards are a fantastic opportunity for council to acknowledge and congratulate the success of our talented athletes, coaches and volunteers who deserve the recognition for all their hard work and ongoing dedication. I would also like to thank all of our sponsors who make this event possible.
“These winners will now act as role models for the future generations in our borough to get involved in many sports and who knows, may even become champions themselves.
“Building healthier communities is a key priority for council and what better way to show off the calibre of talent we have here than by celebrating our unsung sporting heroes with these awards.”
The award sponsors were: McCadden, Ryobi Aluminium, Pollock Lifts, Wilsons of Rathkenny, Larne Credit Union, Balon Sportswear, Signtime and Stirling Trophies.