Sports Stars honoured at annual awards evening

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DERRY’s finest amateur sporting talent were honoured for their achievements during 2013 at the City Hotel on Friday night as the Derry District Sports Council held its annual awards ceremony.

Guest speaker, Watt Nicholl - who has recently worked with Manchester United players - delivered an entertaining and motivational speech to the attendance to get proceedings underway.

Hughes Insurance Derry District Sports Council, Sports Awards for 2013.  Jason Smyth speaking during the Hughes Insurance Derry District Sports Council awards night at the City Hotel. Picture Margaret McLaughlin 21-2-14

Hughes Insurance Derry District Sports Council, Sports Awards for 2013. Jason Smyth speaking during the Hughes Insurance Derry District Sports Council awards night at the City Hotel. Picture Margaret McLaughlin 21-2-14

And Paralympic sprint sensation, Jason Smyth was inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of his ‘double’ gold in the 100m and 200m events in both London 2012 and Beijing in 2008.

“It’s a great honour and a privilege to be inducted into the Hall of Fame amongst some other great athletes,” said Smyth.

“Everyone is trying to push the boundaries in terms of what they can achieve. It’s about how you apply your talents and I sincerely hope that everyone here can go on and achieve everything they want in the future.”

Winners of the two most prestigious awards on the night, the Male and Female Sports Personality accolades, were City of Derry Spartans’ Conor Bradley and City of Derry Ladies Rugby Club’s Stacey-Lea Kennedy.

Bradley (26) enjoyed one of his most successful years as he became the first Derry man in 30 years to win the N.I. Senior 10km road race in a time of 30m 34secs.

The Galliagh man also finished second in the Telford 10k in a time of 29mins 52secs - the fastest time by a Derry man since 1983!

The Spartan ran a 4mins 01 secs mile at the Morton Games in Dublin and came second in the Irish Senior Indoor Championships’ 3,000m event.

City of Derry Rugby Club’s Kennedy was unable to collect her award on the night as she was in London as part of the Ireland Ladies Six Nations squad taking on England at Twickenham.

The 27 year-old Waterside girl is captain of the City of Derry RFC Ladies squad and was a member of the Ireland Ladies team which won the RBS Six Nations and Grand Slam in 2013.

Trojans Football Club coach, Raymond Carton was recipient of the Services to Sport award for his 40 year dedication to the Creggan club.

And it was particularly fitting that the Creggan man claimed the accolade as Trojans celebrated its 75th anniversary during the year.

Special Sports Personality awards, nominated by the Sports Council, were presented to former Derry City Council official, Jeff Ashe; IRFU Television Match Official Marshall Kilgore; Declan O’Neill for his Service as a Special Needs football coach and Trojans FC which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year.

Other notable winners on the night were Teresa Gillespie who won the Sports Coach award; Shawn Barron (Male Masters) and Fineen Bradley who won the female equivalent.

City of Derry A.C.’s men’s squad were recipients of the Sports Team award.