NORTHERN Ireland manager, Michael O’Neill will be guest of honour as the Derry District Sports Council stages its annual sports awards ceremony at the City Hotel tonight.
SIMON COLLINS reports
The prestigious awards provide recognition to individual performers, teams, coaches and officials for their work and successes in various sports during 2012.
Indeed, the best of the local sporting talent will be in attendance tonight and former Shamrock Rovers boss, O’Neill will address the crowd of sports stars who have been nominated in 21 different categories.
The depth of the young sporting talent in Derry is significant and therefore the awards for the respective categories will be hotly contested.
And Derry Olympian, Elaine McLaughlin who represented the city in the 1988 Games in Seoul when competing for Great Britain in the 400 metres hurdles, will be inducted into the Sports Council’s Hall of Fame on the night.
Elaine also represented Great Britain in two Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986 and in New Zealand in 1990, finishing in 5th spot behind winner and team-mate, Sally Gunnell - her final competitive 400m hurdles race.
Also to be honoured at the awards ceremony will be Derry’s most recent Olympian, triathlete, Aileen Morrison who took part in the London 2012 Games and double Paralympian gold medalist, Jason Smyth who repeated his Beijing 2008 heroics when winning double gold in the 100m and 200m events in the English capital last summer. Both athletes will receive a London 2012 Merit award in recognition of their special achievements.
Special Sports Personality awards, nominated by Sports Council members, will also be presented on the night to 2012 FAI Cup winners, Derry City; world kickboxing champions, Daniel ‘Pinta’ Quigley and Aidan Lafferty; Swim Ireland Chairperson, Eugene Hillick; Athletics N.I. President, Gerry Lynch and N.Ireland international netball coach, Elaine Rice.
Meanwhile, athletics and kickboxing dominate the Senior Male Sports Personality category with Irish champions, Stephen Morrison and Damien McGuinness representing Paddy Toland’s Kickboxing Gym while Pius McIntrye, Scott Rankin and Keith Shiels will fly the flag for Foyle Valley AC.
Elsewhere, Catherine Gillespie (Karate) will collect the Senior Female Sports personality accolade following her silver medal at the World Karate Championships in July and there is plenty of competition for the Sports Coach Award.
Other notable categories include the Juvenile Male Sports Award where boxers, Brett McGinty, Ryan Green, Francie Stokes and Tom Stokes are all included. Talented swimmer, Daniel Doherty will no doubt prove tough opposition for the local pugilists in this category as will Corey Logan (Rugby); Gavin Loughery (Swimming); Callum Nash (Judo) and Conor Quigley (Soccer).
The full list of nominees are as follows;.
Sports with Disabilities - Colm Keenan (Swimming); Michael Leath (Swimming); John Lynch (Swimming); Robert Lyttle (Soccer); Benjamin Thompson (Swimming); Junior Female Sports - Rachel Barnaby (Soccer); Aiesha Coyle (Irish Dancing); Kirstie Strouts-McCallion (Judo); Juvenile Female - Victoria Colhoun (Judo); Jodie Jordan (Judo); Aoife Laverty (Gaelic Football); Junior Male - Pearse Jordan (Judo); Cahir McMonagle (Gaelic Football); Kyle O’Reilly (Athletics); Ben Pollin (Freestyle Wrestling/Judo); Juvenile Male - Jordan Brady James (Swimming); Daniel Doherty (Swimming); Ryan Green (Boxing); Corey Logan (Rugby); Gavin Loughrey (Swimming); Brett McGinty (Boxing); Darryl McGlinchey (Swimming); Callum Nash (Judo); Conor Quigley (Soccer); Francie Stokes (Boxing); Tom Stokes (Boxing); Youth Female - Ciara Armstrong (Athletics); Aoife Curran (Soccer); Claire Dougherty (Athletics); Laura Nicholas (Soccer); Jenny O’Brien (Athletics); Cyra Taylor (Irish Dancing); Youth Male - Mark McGarvey (Athletics); Ryan McMenamin (Rugby); Gareth Townley (Judo); Senior Female Sports Personality - Catherine Gillespie (Karate); Senior Male Sports Personality - Stephen Morrison (Kickboxing); Damien McGuinness (Kickboxing); Pius McIntyre (Athletics); Scott Rankin (Athletics); Keith Shiels (Athletics); Male Masters - Gavin Abel; Shawn Barron (Karate); Christy McMonagle (Athletics); James Logue (Tennis); Cathal McLaughlin (Athletics); Female Masters - Roisin Lynch (Athletics); Martina McMullan (Athletics); Hannah Shields (Athletics); Sports Coach - Gavin Abel (Judo); Brian Crossan (Kickboxing); Sean Laverty (Athletics); Kevin McGilloway (Boxing); James McGurk (Ladies Gaelic Football); Cherrie Ross (Lifesaving); Services to Sport - Gavin Abel (Judo); Rhona Barnett (Tennis); Gerry Colhoun (Soccer); Noel Crampsey (Soccer); Peter Griffin (Soccer); Gerry Magee (Soccer); John McFadden (Karate); Bernie McMonagle (Gaelic Football); Harry McNulty (Athletics); Eugene O’Kane (Boxing); Cherrie Ross (Lifesaving); Fiona Temple (Irish Dancing); Paddy Toland (Kickboxing); Sports with Disabilities Team - Foyle Strikers Ladies (5-aside soccer); Junior Team (non school) - Ballymoor U12s (Soccer); Derry Colts U12 (Soccer); Juvenile Team (non school) - Oxford United 1998 (soccer); Youth Team (non school) - Ballymoor (soccer); Derry Colts (Soccer); Foyle Harps 1996 (Soccer); Primary School Team -(Broadbridge Netball); Longtower girls team (Soccer); Post Primary School Team - Lumen Christi College (Swimming); St Columb’s College (Soccer); St Mary’s College (Soccer); Sports Team - City of Derry Ladies (Athletics); City of Derry Spartans Team (Marathon).