Ballynahinch United held their End of Season Awards Dinner at Spa Golf Club. A jubilant night despite the club’s final league standings. An exceptional meal was followed by the presentation of the club’s awards.
Diarmuid Lavery won the Swifts’ Leading Goalscorer award with 9 goals in 16 games, including a hat-trick away to Ballyvea IIs.
Managers Gareth Bingham and David Teggarty awarded their award to John McMenamin. The Swifts’ captain was a rock at the heart of the team’s defence. He proved this with outstanding performances for the first team at the latter end of the season.
The Swifts’ Players’ Player of the Year award was presented to Jamie McNeill. The young midfielder had an excellent season and continues to grow as a key member of the team. At just 18, there’s plenty of years ahead for Jamie at the club.
Matthew Shaw picked up United’s Leading Goalscorer award, bagging 14 goals in just 11 appearances, a goal every 66 minutes, including a hat-trick against both Barn United and Downshire YM. His goals also saw him pick up the Club Leading Goalscorer award.
The Manager’s Player of the Year went to Ross Murray. His performances saw him score 5 goals including the winenr against Downshire YM early in the season. His blistering pace and twinkle toes always cause trouble for the opposition.
The Big One, Players’ Player of the Year, went to Club Stalwart and ever-present Stuart McMullan. Having first picked up the award in 2012/13 and again in 2014/15, Stuart now has the coveted trophy for the third time. 25 consistent appearances and 3 Player of the Match awards and a hatful of assists helped the votes go his way.
Next, the Club’s Young Player of the Year award went to Luke Curry who performaned excellently for both teams when required.
Carlisles’ Fine Wines kindly donated a Gin Hamper to our raffle, this was won by Matthew Shaw.
Big thanks to Carlisles, Spa Golf Club and DJ Phil Cool who provided the entertainment on the evening.
Last Friday night Ballynahinch United celebrated the clubâ€™s 50th anniversary with a gala dinner in the Millbrook Lodge Hotel. There was an attendance of one hundred and forty which included present and former players as well as their families. Club Chairman Gilbert Cromie welcomed those present and during his opening remarks he requested a moments silence which was respectively observed in memory of former club members.
A great reception was given to Gareth Bingham, Scott Brashaw, Anto Greene, Ross Hayes and Steven Jess who had conceived and organised the event on behalf of the club. Gilbert then introduced the host for the evening Liam Beckett the BBC Radio Ulster soccer and motor cycle racing commentator and pundit who entertained before and after the dinner. Prior to the food being served a representative of the Anthony Nolan Trust, the nominated charity on the night, gave a short talk on the work of the charity.
After the dinner Liam Beckett regaled those present with a series of humorous stories from his days as a player with Crusaders, Drogheda and Coleraine and as a mechanic with the motor cycling legends Joey and Robert Dunlop which were extremely entertaining.
Newry & Mourne and Down Council Chairman Mark Murnin was invited to make a number of presentations to club stalwarts Winston Brown and Jimmy Brown in recognition of their outstanding service to the club. Winston, the Club President, has been involved with the club for forty nine years undertaking a wide range of roles mostly related to the upkeep of the various club grounds from Fees Field in Dromara to Millbridge. Jimmy has for over thirty years maintained the Millbridge grounds and pavilion whilst also having carried out all manner of building, plastering and plumbing works.
A presentation was also made to Robert Creighton who is one of the clubs most dedicated and enthusiastic supporter. The club received gifts from Mervyn Martin, a former player, on behalf of the Northern Amateur Football League and Robert Howarth on behalf of the Newcastle & District Football League.
The Club Chairman referred to the outstanding service which the Hamilton family had given to the club over the half century. The late Billy who passed away last December had served the club as a player, Secretary, Trustee and league representative. His wife Sally who attends most home matches in the present day has supported the club faithfully over the years as well as undertaking a number of practical activities so vital to its running. Billy Junior was a very successful manager during the clubâ€™s years in the junior football while Graham still holds the accolade of being the all-time leading scorer. Wilson remains a dedicated committee member and supporter following a very successful playing career which included being in the clubs historic Border Cup winning team. In recognition of this outstanding service Sally accompanied by her sons was invited to unveil a plaque bearing the title â€˜The Hamilton Loungeâ€™ which the club has decided that its recreation area should be named.
Prior to the eveningâ€™s entertainment which was provide by the Renegades group the results of the raffle were announced for a series of valuable prizes including signed Carl Frampton Boxing Gloves. Northern Ireland, Manchester United, Ulster Rugby, Linfield and Glentoran shirts, football signed by the Manchester City title winning squad and a variety of other prizes.
Everyone at Ballynahinch United was absolutely delighted with the success of the evening which it felt was a very fitting way to commence its 50th anniversary season. The number of former players from all the five decades who attended was so encouraging and the complementary remarks which have been made since have been much appreciated by those who organised the evening.
The club would like to express its gratitude to BEC Electrical who were the main event sponsors, Peninsula Print, M.E. Crowe Ltd, AAD Brickwork, Millbrook Lodge Hotel, Ulster Property Sales, MMM Design & Build, Auto Valet, Carryduff Concrete, Kenneth Burtney and Somervilleâ€™s for sponsoring tables and Kelvin Graham, Lilliput and McClureâ€™s Funeral Services for their valuable help with other aspects related to the night. Many thanks also to club man Shaun Bonner for preparing the on screen photographic display and the staff of the Millbrook Lodge Hotel who could not have been more helpful during the planning stage and on the night.
A souvenir brochure was produced to mark the 50th anniversary and this can be obtained from the clubhouse on match days for a very modest charge of Â£2.
Last Saturday was the traditional cup final celebrations at the Millbridge which started at 2.00pm with a match featuring two teams made up of over and under 30â€™s which provided great entertainment and lots of fun as well as seven goals.
Despite going a few goals down the under 30â€™s stormed back to win 4-3. Each player taking part made a contribution to support David Griffiths who sustained a broken leg earlier in the season playing for the 2nds and a presentation was made to David prior to the playerâ€™s awards event.
Following the game everybody moved to the clubhouse were they enjoyed a buffet meal followed by the annual end of season prize giving. Club Chairman Gilbert Cromie in his opening remarks thanked all those who had worked tirelessly behind the scenes to organise and finance the club or maintain its Millbridge facilities. He highlighted the stewardship of Treasurer Gareth Bingham and the diligence of groundsman Jimmy Brown who although present is currently recovering from a knee operation. He thanked the many club sponsors for their continued support and the supporters who turned up in their numbers throughout the season which was very much appreciated.
Referring to the first teamâ€™s relegation disappointing as it was he thanked former manager Keith Hamilton for his unstinting efforts and expressed the clubâ€™s gratitude to Scott Brashaw and Ross Hayes for stepping in to take in the role until the end of the season.
One shining light in the season was the introduction of an almost entirely youth based second team managed by Alan Davis and Paul Allison which had received considerable plaudits from within the Newcastle league and from which a number of players had joined the first team squad acquitting themselves very well.
In closing the Chairman refereed to the appointment of Alan Davis and Paul Allison as first team managers with Gareth Bingham and Davy Teggarty taking over the seconds. He assured them that the club committee would give them 100% support and he asked the players and supporters to do the same as we all try to take the club forward.
The awards which were presented by the first and second team managers were as follows:
Players Player of the Year: Gavin Crawford.
Managers Player of the Year: Jack Davis.
Leading Scorer: Gavin Crawford.
Players Player of the Year: Ross Murray.
Managers Player of the Year: Alex Burtney.
Leading Scorer: Ross Murray.
Young Player of the Year: Jack Davis.
Overall Leading Club Scorer: Ross Murray.
On Saturday 27th May the annual Cup Final Day match will take place commencing at 2.00pm at the Millbridge.
This will beÂ followed at 4.00pm by the presentation of theÂ annual awards. All trophies from 2016 should be returned.
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