The Annual Ulster Hockey awards were handed out at a glittering awards ceremony at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast last night.
The two main individual award winners were Neal Glassey and Megan Frazer, both picking up the player of the year awards.
Having made his debut for Mossley Hockey Club in an Irish Senior Cup match against Annadale aged 15, Glassey has gone on to captain the Mossley 1st XI squad at the age of 20 and played a pivotal role in helping them reach the semi-finals of the GOC Estate Agents Kirk Cup, scoring over 50 per cent of the club goals during the season from a midfield position.
Having represented Ulster at U16, U18 and U21 level, and also Ireland at U21 level, he later earned a call-up to Craig Fulton’s senior squad winning his first cap against France in November 2014 and scored his first goal for Ireland in his second appearance two days later against the same opposition.
Ulster Elks player and Ireland captain Frazer was honoured with The Walker-McCrory Cup (Women’s Player of the Year) in recognition of a fantastic season with Ulster Elks. Finishing third in the Premier League and claiming their first Irish Senior Cup title and qualification for the Irish Hockey League, Frazer played a key role in the Elks squad.
As captain of the Ireland Women’s Senior team, Frazer led the squad to World League Two success in Dublin and received the Player of the Tournament Award at the event. Megan and the squad are currently in the United States and Canada continuing their preparations for World League Three in June.
The Men’s Personality of the Year Award was presented to Raymond Hughes.
A former past president, Raymond has held a difficult position as Fixtures Secretary this season and despite facing many obstacles has been able to fulfil his duties with efficiency and diplomacy. He also holds the position of Chairman and Acting Secretary for the Disciplinary Committee and fulfilled his duties once again with efficiency.
As well as the committees, Raymond has also been a regular feature in the position of Tournament Director, Tournament Official and/or Judge at many of Ulster’s leading competitions including the GOC Estate Agents Kirk Cup Final as well as international fixtures including the Ulster U21’s against Scotland at Shawsbridge and the Irish Senior Women against Italy in Newtownabbey.
The Hall Cup (Personality of the Year for Women) was presented to Cookstown’s Linda Black.
Linda originally played for Raphoe and then latterly for Cookstown Ladies, a club that she established. She is currently an integral part of the fabric that is Cookstown Hockey Club and has held many volunteer roles.
As well as her dedication to Cookstown, Linda also umpired across Ulster for many years.
The Men’s Top Goalscorer award went to Stephen Dowds whose prolific scoring form played an important part in Banbridge Hockey Club’s quadruple winning campaign. Despite being away with the Irish Senior squad,
Dowds racked up 59 goals over the 2014-15 season with Andy Williamson from Lisnagarvey Hockey Club second on 35 goals. Stephen has also become a regular feature in the Irish Senior Men’s squad and travels with the squad to France this weekend as they continue their preparations for World League Three.
The Duke Cup for Top Goalscorer in the Women’s was awarded to Pegasus forward Suzanne Ferris and Ards forward Chloe Brown who both scored 22 goals over the course of the season helping to assist to their successes across the 2014-15 season.
Pegasus forward Ferris helped the Belfast club to the Irish Hockey League title in Dublin while Ards forward Brown contributed to her club’s success in the Ulster Premier League and Denman Ulster Shield.
This year’s Winifred Templeton Award was awarded to Debbie Peachey of Mossley Ladies Hockey Club.
A dedicated member of Mossley Ladies she has been instrumental in the development of the junior section of the club with over 300 girls registered to date. The success of the club has been emulated on the pitch with the U13’s and U15’s retaining their Ulster titles as champions and the U11’s becoming champions in 2015. Her dedication to the junior section is what drives Debbie to improve it in all areas.
As well as the junior section, Debbie often assists the 1st XI coach, James Dodsworth as the club continue to develop and progress up the ranks showing the successes of the junior section upon the club and with all four teams securing promotion for the 2015-16 season a bright future is in store for the Newtownabbey side.
The Fair Play Award was deservedly handed to Queens University Men’s Hockey Club who demonstrated fair play and the best disciplinary record throughout the 2014-15 Season.
The George Blower Trophy for Excellence in Schoolboys Hockey was awarded to Robert McMinn and Markethill High School for his continued effort and hard work to develop hockey.
The evening came to a close with Banbridge Hockey Club being awarded the coveted Club of the Year accolade.
Having achieved the domestic treble by winning the GOC Estate Agents Premier League and Kirk Cup along with the McCausland, Light and Rankin Anderson Cup at the start of the season, they added to their success by winning the Irish Senior Cup beating Cork Church of Ireland 2-1, the first Irish Senior Cup title for the side since 1984 when they defeated Annadale 3-1.
As well as senior level the club also excelled in their junior ranks with the U11 boys finishing runners-up in the plate and the U15 boys finishing the season as champions to cap a fantastic year for the club as they continue to grow.