Following on from all the hockey success this year, the achievements continued at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards on Monday evening at the Belfast Waterfront with Ayeisha McFerran, Eugene Magee and Shirley McCay being honoured at the awards ceremony.
The biggest achievement this year saw the Irish Senior Women secure silver at the World Cup Finals in London and since then the accolades have continued to roll in for the squad. One of the star performers during the World Cup was Ayeisha McFerran whose performances earned her the Goalkeeper of the Tournament Award as well as an FIH nomination for Goalkeeper of the Year. Currently in Chile preparing for the start of the Olympic qualifying process, Ayeisha was the winner of the Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year Gold Award supported by Celerion.
After winning the Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year Award, Ayeisha, said: “It’s a massive honour to receive this award and be considered along with the great sporting talent that’s come out of Northern Ireland this past year. It’s a great honour to both myself and the rest of the girls in the squad. A massive thank you to everyone who considered me.”
Banbridge’s Eugene Magee also received a Special Recognition Award sponsored by O’Neills. This was part of his achievement in becoming Ireland’s top-capped player. Eugene is recovering from a broken hand which he sustained prior to heading to India for the World Cup but battled through the pain as Ireland played in their first World Cup in almost 30 years.
Commenting on winning the Special Recognition Award, Eugene, said: “The Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards was a great event which brought together some of the best talent around. It was inspiring to hear the stories of the athletes that have achieved greatness. I am deeply appreciative and very honoured to have received the Special Recognition Award considering the great talent we have in Northern Ireland.”
The third hockey recipient on the evening was Shirley McCay. Currently the most capped sportswoman in Ireland with 273 caps, Shirley was awarded the Electric Ireland backed Game Changer Award which recognises individuals who have had a positive impact on the Northern Ireland sporting landscape.
Speaking about her new accolade, Shirley, said: “It’s an honour to receive The Game Changer Award especially when in the running alongside incredible sportswomen. I am very lucky to be able to do what I love every day and I feel humbled to have received this recognition.”
McCay won her first international cap against Canada in 2007 and currently plays for Pegasus who won the Denman Ulster Shield on Boxing Day and as Talent Coach in Ulster Hockey is continuing to develop the next string of talented players to grace the sport in Ulster.
The Ulster U18 Boys were also shortlisted for the Young Team of the Year Award for their silver medal at the School Games followed by securing the U18 Interprovincial title in Cork a few weeks later beating Munster and Leinster on the final day to secure the title.