The best in local sport were celebrated last night at the sixth annual Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Sports Awards. Shortlisted athletes, teams, coaches and others from across the borough’s sporting community gathered at Carrickfergus Amphitheatre to contend the awards across eight categories.
Hosted by television’s Claire McCollum, the awards were sponsored by Boomin, Hastings Financial Services, NFU Mutual Larne, Pollock Lifts, Rainbow Signs, Ryobi, Stirling Trophies and Wilson’s of Rathkenny.
For the second year running, Claire Taggart was crowned both ‘Sportsperson of the Year’ and ‘Sportsperson with a Disability’, having competed in the Tokyo Paralympics and claimed a silver medal at the World Boccia European Championships in Seville within the past year.
Robert McGaughey received the awards for ‘Services to Sport’ in recognition of over 30 years’ service to local athletics. Larne FC, meanwhile, was named ‘Team of Year’ after a record year in 2021 that saw the Club win its first senior trophy since in over 30 years, reach the Irish Cup Final and qualify to participate in the UEFA Conference League.
The full list of winners is as follows:
- Junior Sportsperson of the Year – Tom Coulter – Sailing
- School Sporting Performance – Larne Grammar School 1st XI – Hockey
- Sportsperson/Team with a Disability – Claire Taggart – Boccia
- Manager/Coach of the Year – Ryan Eagleson – Cricket
- Community Participation – Latharna Og – Camogie
- Team of the Year – Larne Football Club
- Services to Sport – Robert McGaughey – Athletics
- Sports Person of the Year – Claire Taggart – Boccia
Two bursaries, sponsored by Balon Sportswear, were awarded to Adam Courtney and Hannah O’Toole – both for athletics.
Addressing guests at the ceremony, the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim commended the borough’s players, athletes, coaches, managers, volunteers and administrators for “their hard work, dedication and determination throughout what has been an extremely tough two years.”
Mayor Councillor William McCaughey said: “Our local athletes and teams within the borough have provided us all with moments of which we can be hugely proud, and, on behalf of Council, I extend my warmest congratulations and encouragement to all those shortlisted for awards this evening.
“Sport plays an important role in our community every day and brings benefits that reach far beyond physical wellbeing and fitness. It provides avenues for young people to learn and develop life skills through team and individual sports; it brings communities together with shared goals; it strengthens local networks which reinforce a sense of place; and it reaches all walks of life, from youth to old age.”
Reaffirming Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s commitment to sport, the Mayor continued: “We are committed to delivering high-quality leisure and sports facilities, to supporting clubs, communities, coaches and elite athletes in their further development, and to delivering a diverse range of inclusive activities at the very heart of our communities through physical activity and sports development programmes.
“We appreciate and value all that sport and leisure, at all levels, offers our borough. We are proud of the elite flagship sports events we attract and continue to ensure these benefits are enjoyed by all our communities and are accessible to everyone.”