Hockey was well represented at the Belfast Telegraph Awards with Eugene Magee, Shirley McCay and Ayeisha McFerran all picking up awards.
Special Recognition Award sponsored by O’Neill’s: Eugene Magee
Banbridge Hockey Club hero Eugene Magee has picked up an astounding 277 caps for Ireland in a stunning career. He realised his boyhood ambition by playing at the Olympic Games in 2016, won European bronze with Ireland and also played at this year’s World Cup finals.At club level, he has helped Banbridge to All Ireland league and cup trophies as well as Ulster success in the Premier League, Anderson Cup and Kirk Cup.”I was a hurling man and it was only going to Banbridge Academy that I discovered a hockey stick. I’m thankful that I did,” said the man who took up the sport at 14.”I’ve got (the 2020 Olympics) in Tokyo in mind now and we’re training hard for it. We’ll see what happens.”This is a brilliant honour.”
Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year (Gold) sponsored by Celerion: Ayeisha McFerran
The winner of the gold award for amateurs is Ireland Hockey goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran, who was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament, coming through two penalty shoot-outs on her side’s run to the World Cup final. It’s the second piece of recognition for the Ireland girls’ efforts tonight as they became the first Ireland side in any sport to reach the World Cup decider. “Sorry I can’t be there – I’m in Chile with the rest of the Ireland girls,” she said via a pre-recorded video.”It’s a massive honour to be considered among the sporting talents to come out of Northern Ireland. Thank you to everyone who considered me for the award.”
Game Changer Award sponsored by Electric Ireland: Shirley McCay
The winner of this award, to recognise the impact of a woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the local sporting landscape, is Ireland hockey hero Shirley McCay, who helped her side reach the World Cup final and won the Ulster Shield with Pegasus.Also nominated: Kirsty Hegarty, Cathy McAleer, Sinead Reel “Being the underdog, nobody rated us,” she said of Ireland’s run to the World Cup decider. “We were ranked 15 out of 16 and we were a lot more prepared to face the other teams than they were to face us. It never gets tiring watching the success we had. When we look back, it had come after a combination of a few years of failures.”Whatever my decision is (about retirement), I’ll either miss the girls or I’ll be back with them. The friendships you make are for life.” About her goal at the World Cup: “I don’t talk about mine as much as Gerry Armstrong talks about his.”