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Mark Connolly crowned Sports Star of the Year at Fir Trees

31 May 2019

The local sports fraternity celebrated another memorable year at the Fir Trees Hotel in Strabane on Thursday night as Derry City and Strabane District Council, in association with the District Sports Forum, hosted the 2018/19 Derry and Strabane Sports Awards.

A total of 15 awards were presented as runner Mark Connolly’s success in the over 55s category of the World Masters Athletics Championships was recognised with the overall Sports Star of the Year award and legendary Derry footballer John ‘Jobby’ Crossan was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Councillor Michaela Boyle commended all the winners and nominees: “I would like to congratulate everyone who played their part in another record breaking year for local sport,” she said.

“The Derry Strabane Sports Awards are an ideal way to acknowledge and reward the hard work and dedication that many local people put into sport at all levels across the City and District.

“Our local sports people have achieved notable success at local, national and international level and it is important to take time to celebrate that.

“The night is also just recognition for the many grassroots heroes in our Council area whose commitment and dedication to their communities is selfless and inspiring.”

Recognising coaches of all levels is a major element of the awards and Northern Ireland U18 Schoolboys goalkeeping Coach Eamon Curry was awarded Coach of the Year while Simon O’Dowd from Strabane Shotokan Karate Club received the Community Coach of the Year award.

The Children’s Coach of the Year went to Derry City FC Coach Mark Terry while St Mary's girls GAA Coach Clare Bell received the Female Coach of the Year award and Basketball Coach Tommy McCay was crowned Disability Coach of the Year.

In the team sections Castlederg High School U14 Girls Hockey Team received the School of the Year award while North West Intermediate League winners Strabane Athletic FC were named Team of the Year.

Other winners included Sports Star with a disability Siobhan McCay, Young Female Sports Star of the Year Leah Strunks and Lucas McColgan won Young Male Sports Star of the Year.

The Tyrone Ladies Gaelic Footballers also received a Special Award to mark their success in claiming the All Ireland Intermediate Football title.

The Active Travel Award which seeks to recognise the efforts made by groups who have gone above and beyond in promoting and encouraging people to walk and cycle more went to Reach Cycling Club.

The full list of winners were: Active Travel Award: Reach Cycling Club, Coach of the Year: Eamon Curry (NI U18 Schoolboys), Community Coach of Year: Simon O’Dowd (Strabane Shotokan Karate Club), Children’s Coach of the Year: Mark Terry (Derry City Women), Female Coach of the Year: Clare Bell, Disability Coach of the Year: Tommy McCay (Basketball), Sports Star of the Year: Mark Connolly (Athletics), Sports Star with a Disability: Siobhan McCay (Basketball), Young Male Sports Star of Year: Lucas McColgan (NW Shotokan Karate Club), Young Female Sports Star of Year: Leah Strunks (NW Karate Federation), School Team of the Year: Castlederg High School U14 Girls Hockey Team, Team of the Year: Strabane Athletic FC, Club of the Year: NW Wolves Wheelchair Basketball Club, Special Award: Tyrone Ladies Senior Footballers, Hall of Fame: John ‘Jobby’ Crossan (Football)