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The Canal Court Hotel was the venue last night for the inaugural NMD Sports Awards hosted by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council in association with Sports Association Newry, Down and Armagh (SANDSA). The awards recognised the talent and contribution to the area by local sportspeople.

Oliver McGauley, right, Newry Coarse Fishing Angling Club is presented with the Lifetime Services to Sport award by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin.
Oliver McGauley, right, Newry Coarse Fishing Angling Club is presented with the Lifetime Services to Sport award by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin.

Over 250 people attended the event including MPs, MLAs, Councillors, representatives from Volunteer Now, Disability Sport Northern Ireland, and Sport Northern Ireland, retired international Irish and Ulster Rugby player Chris Henry, local sports clubs, governing bodies, Sport Northern Ireland, invited guests and finalists.

The 13 award categories covered a vast range of sporting disciplines and showcased the array of skills within the district and the awards acknowledged the dedication of all those who take part in sporting and leisure activities. Broadcaster and journalist, Claire McCollum compered on the evening with invited guests presenting the awards to the deserved winners.

Andy Hall, Chair of SANDSA presents the Junior Club Team of Year 2018 award to (from left) Dylan Medlicott, Rian Carvill, Bailey Wilson and John Dunne, Warrenpoint Golf Club, Irish Junior Foursomes.
Andy Hall, Chair of SANDSA presents the Junior Club Team of Year 2018 award to (from left) Dylan Medlicott, Rian Carvill, Bailey Wilson and John Dunne, Warrenpoint Golf Club, Irish Junior Foursomes.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin said, “The Council is proud to have such dedicated sports people and we are very fortunate to have a wealth of diverse sporting achievement across the district. The high standards of our sports clubs and their ability to deliver quality sporting opportunities for our local communities reflects their dedication and enthusiasm, not just to develop sporting stars, but to developing people.

“I want to congratulate both the finalists and the winners in the 13 categories—they make our district a better place for everyone.”

David Smyth of Sport NI presents the Senior Sport Volunteer of the Year 2018 award to John Cookson, Glenn John Martin GAC.
David Smyth of Sport NI presents the Senior Sport Volunteer of the Year 2018 award to John Cookson, Glenn John Martin GAC.

“Our Council will continue to support the area’s sporting communities to empower and enable individuals and sports clubs to develop and deliver sporting experiences so that everyone can enjoy an active lifestyle, from grass roots to high performance.”

Jane Gribbin, Manager of Community Engagement with Volunteer Now said, “Sports and exercise is the most popular activity that formal volunteers in Northern Ireland are involved in and we are delighted to see such development in sport across the district. Most volunteers, through their strong beliefs, behavior and generally selfless actions in the interest and wellbeing of others, believe in a better tomorrow.”

Councillor Gareth Sharvin, Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council's Active and Healthy Communities Committee, presents the Senior Club Team of the Year 2018 award to Gareth Russell and Mark Stevenson, Kilkeel Hockey Club 1st XI.
Councillor Gareth Sharvin, Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council's Active and Healthy Communities Committee, presents the Senior Club Team of the Year 2018 award to Gareth Russell and Mark Stevenson, Kilkeel Hockey Club 1st XI.

The disability awards were presented by Aubrey Bingham, Disability Sport Northern Ireland’s (DSNI) Community Sport Manager. He said, “We at DSNI work with people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities of all ages and with schools, disability groups, sporting organisations and district councils to ensure that everyone can gain from the health, social and education benefits of sport and active recreation.”

Macmillan Move More Programme participants shared their personal journeys on the night and explained the benefits of being active when living with a cancer diagnosis. They detailed how Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has provided an award-winning programme that has transformed their lives through participation in physical activity. Diarmaid McAuley, Macmillan Programme Services Manager attended the evening with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s Macmillan Move More Coordinator, Laura McGrath.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chief Executive, Liam Hannaway closed the awards ceremony by congratulating all the awards winners on their achievements. He said, “We want to encourage all of our citizens to ‘Be Active.... Your Way Every Day’.  As outlined in our Corporate Plan, our mission as a Council is to lead and serve a district that is prosperous, healthy and sustainable.

“We want to play our part in improving quality of life and reducing health inequalities, primarily through programmes and services.  We are transforming our leisure and sport facilities and integrating up-to-date technology into our organisation to make it even easier for citizens of the district to participate in physical activity.”

The Winners

Junior Club Team of the Year 2018

Warrenpoint Golf Club, Irish Junior Foursomes

Senior Club Team of the Year 2018:

Kilkeel Hockey Club 1st XI

Team of the Year with a Disability 2018

Peadar Connolly - Sportability

Lifetime Services to Sport

Oliver McGauley – Newry Coarse Fishing Angling Club

Young Sport Volunteer of the Year 2018

Aaron Donnell – Ballynahinch Hockey Club

Senior Sport Volunteer of the Year 2018

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chief Executive, Liam Hannaway, Councillor Gareth Sharvin and guest speaker, Irish rugby international, Chris Henry at the inaugural SANDSA Sports Awards in the Canal Court Hotel and Spa, Newry.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chief Executive, Liam Hannaway, Councillor Gareth Sharvin and guest speaker, Irish rugby international, Chris Henry at the inaugural SANDSA Sports Awards in the Canal Court Hotel and Spa, Newry.

John Cookson – Glenn John Martin GAC

Disability Coach of the Year 2018

Yvonne Smyth – Downpatrick School of Lifesaving

Young Technical Official of the Year 2018

Adam Brown – Killyleagh Table Tennis Club

Technical Official of the Year 2018

Helen McKee – Special Olympics Newry

Young Coach of the Year 2018

Technical Official of the Year 2018: Councillor Barra Barra Ó Muirí pictured with Rachel Crossey receiving the award for Helen McKee, Special Olympics Newry.
Technical Official of the Year 2018: Councillor Barra Barra Ó Muirí pictured with Rachel Crossey receiving the award for Helen McKee, Special Olympics Newry.

Stacie Cunningham – Newcastle Karate Club

Performance Pathway Coach of the Year 2018

Cathal Fegan - Taekwondo

Junior Sportsperson of the Year 2018

Tomás McKeever – CF Taekwondo

Senior Sportsperson of the Year 2018

Graham Ochiltree – Martial Arts, The Bryansford Academy

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