Sporting Heroes Honoured At This Year’s Belfast Sports Awards

Local sporting heroes have been honoured at the Belfast Sports Awards 2024.

Guests at the awards ceremony in City Hall last night (Friday 22 March) included athletes, volunteers and coaches of all ages and abilities from across Belfast.

As well as a host of awards, three athletes were inducted into Belfast City Council’s Sporting Hall of Fame – David Jeffrey MBE, Roy Coyle (Football) and Donna Armstrong (Cricket).

The award winners were:

Pathways to Club (sponsored by Active Belfast) – Sean Madden (St Malachy’s Old Boys Youth FC)

Pathways to Club (sponsored by Active Belfast) – Jahswill Emmanuel  (Multi-Ethic Sports & Cultures NI)

Young Coach of the Year (sponsored by Better)  – Torrie Laverty (Bloomfield Ladies FC)

Senior Coach of the Year (sponsored by Better) –   Brendan Crossan  (St Malachy’s Old Boys Youth FC)

Senior Coach of the Year (sponsored by Better) –   Joe McDaniel (Naomh Gall GAC)

Female Coach of the Year (sponsored by Better) –   Orla Le Mahieu (Ardoyne Kickhams)

Disability Coach of the Year (sponsored by Better) –   Michael Hilland (Trail Blazers Powerchair FC)

Healthy Lifestyle (sponsored by Active Belfast) – Shaftsbury Healthy Living Centre

Volunteer of the Year (sponsored by Belfast City Council) – Conor McCann (St Teresa’s GAC)

Volunteer of the Year (sponsored by Belfast City Council) – Mary Matthews (Queen’s Basketball Club)

Youth Athlete of the Year (sponsored by Sports Medicine NI) – Aine Doherty (VC Glendale)

Senior Male Athlete of the Year (sponsored by Commonwealth Games) – Stuart McCloskey (Ulster & Ireland Rugby)

Senior Female Athlete of the Year (sponsored by Commonwealth Games) – Victoria Catterson (Swimming – Ireland)

Disability Athlete of the Year (sponsored by Commonwealth Games ) – James MacSorley

Junior Team of the Year (sponsored by Decathlon) – Lagan Valley Junior Men’s Cross Country Team (Wheelchair Basketball – Sheffield Steelers)

Senior Team of the Year (sponsored by Decathlon) – Belfast Giants

Hall of Fame (sponsored by Belfast City Council – Diane Armstrong (Cricket), Roy Coyle (Football) and David Jeffrey (Football)

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy, said the Belfast Sports Awards celebrated all the winners’ sporting achievements and accolades this year and recognised all the sport and physical activity that goes on, in the city.

“In their 15th year, the Belfast Sport Awards recognise our coaches, athletes, volunteers and all those that quietly go about their roles to make sport and physical activity happen.

“2023 was a thrilling year for sport with successes in the water, gymnasium and on the ice with our own Belfast Giants creating history and winning the Treble for the first time.

“We now turn our sights to an exciting summer with the Paris 2024 Olympics and I’m delighted to see so many past Olympians here at the ceremony still supporting sport and being role models for our young people coming through.

“Belfast City Council is committed to continued investment in the health of our citizens and sport and physical activity is a priority for us as we continue to deliver the city’s community plan, Belfast Agenda.

“We are putting the finishing touches on our Physical Activity and Sport Development Strategy which sets out our vision for the future of sport and activity in the city and have also invested £105 million in our Leisure Transformation Programme designed to transform leisure services across Belfast. We continue our £300K Support for Sport annual funding –  helping clubs, coaches and communities with education, good governance and grass roots development.

“A huge congratulations to all our worthy winners and local sporting heroes as they shine a spotlight on sport from the very top of sporting competition to grassroots level.”

Inducted into the Council’s Sporting Hall of Fame, Donna Armstrong is a leading light in the world of cricket representing and developing female cricket in Ireland as the NCU’s first women’s Irish International. Playing as a right-handed middle-order batsman, Donna made her international debut at the 1983 Centenary Tournament in the Netherlands. She finished her international career in 1991, having played 20 ODIs.

Former Northern Ireland international footballer and manager, Roy Coyle has won 50 trophies in a success-filled career, mostly with Linfield at 31 and Glentoran at 17 titles.

While David Jeffrey began his professional playing career with Linfield, following a spell in the Manchester United youth. Joining Linfield in 1982, he played for 10  years and was club captain for much of that time scoring the crucial away goal against Shamrock Rovers in the 1984–85 European Cup.

He was awarded an MBE in the 2021 Birthday Honours list for his contribution to football and community relations in Northern Ireland.

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