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Snooker Champion Mark Allen Crowned Sportsperson of the Year at Sports Awards

The crème de le crème of local sporting talent gathered at the Theatre at The Mill in Newtownabbey last night for the Sports Awards 2023.

Sporting legends, coaches and the budding sporting stars of the future came together for a celebration of Antrim and Newtownabbey's exceptional sporting talent, clubs and volunteers.

This prestigious event, hosted by Denise Watson welcomed athletes, clubs, coaches and volunteers from the Borough's vibrant sporting community, all of whom had been shortlisted for their commitment and dedication.

Over 100 nominations were received from a wide range of sports, including hockey, boxing, football, Gaelic football, golf, rugby, bowls, gymnastics, trampolining, motorcycling, cycling, snooker and darts, with the competition was high across the ten distinct award categories

British and Irish Lions Rugby legend Willie John McBride CBE, David Jeffrey MBE, IFA’s Elite Youth Academy Manager Danielle McDowell and SuperCup NI Chairman Victor Leonard were among special guests attending the Sports Awards. The crowd heard Mr Leonard pay a glowing tribute to the Council for their support and commitment for the SuperCup NI and particularly the girl’s tournament which has been held across Antrim and Newtownabbey since its inception, attracting thousands of visitors from across the world to the Borough.

Northern Ireland Snooker Legend Mark Allen was in attendance to receive his ‘Sportsperson of the Year,’ award for his remarkable achievements in the 2022/23 season which includes being named as the World Snooker Tour (WST) Player of the Year. Mark who is the currently ranked fourth in the world said;

“I am very privileged to play snooker for a living and I would encourage those coming through the ranks to enjoy what they do. I am incredibly proud to be an Antrim man and appreciate all the support the Council provides across all sports.”

The Sports Awards 2023 also honoured Mossley Hockey Player, Harry Burns MBE with the ‘Gallery of Sporting Legends’ Award in recognition of his 49-year career, having received his first international cap for Ireland in 1978.

Molly McKenna received the Janet Parkinson Memorial award which is given to an individual who has achieved excellence in their field (trampolining and gymnastics). This month, Molly and the Great Britain team won the first ever World Gold in Double Mini Trampolining (DMT) in the opening finals of the 2023 World DMT Championships. Molly also took fifth place in the individual DMT event.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper BEM commented;

“These Awards showcase the talent and dedication of the Borough’s sports stars, coaches and volunteers right across our communities.


“Sport is a hugely important aspect of life, I was delighted to see a wide variety of sporting disciplines involved for their exceptional performance and commitment to promoting active lifestyles throughout Antrim and Newtownabbey. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners of each category.”

Each award category highlighted the significant contributions that individuals, clubs and volunteers that have made a lasting impact on the sports landscape in Antrim and Newtownabbey.

The awards were presented to;

  • Club of the Year: Muckamore Cricket Club
  • Junior Team of the Year: St. Ergnat’s Moneyglass U-15 Girls Féile Team
  • Senior Team of the Year: Ballyclare RFC 1st Xv
  • Coach of the Year: Cathy Carey
  • Sports Person of the Year with a Disability: Gareth McNeilly
  • Volunteer of the Year: Dominic McAtamney
  • Junior Sports Person of the Year Dr Jonathan Rea MBE Award: Gemma McMeekin (This award has been gifted by six time World Superbike Champion, Dr Jonathan Rea, MBE)
  • Gallery of Sporting Legends: Harry Burns MBE
  • Janet Parkinson Award: Molly McKenna
  • Adult Sports Person of the Year: Mark Allen

Photographs and Sports Awards Programme