The hard work of volunteers, the support of parents and the brilliant young players at Ballyclare Mini Rugby have all been honoured at this year’s Newtownabbey Sports Awards.
Ballyclare’s Mini section was named Junior Team of the Year at the prestigious event.
The awards were established to recognise the clubs, services, coaches and athletes who have made an outstanding difference through sport.
The ceremony was hosted by broadcaster Denise Watson at the Theatre at the Mill. The trophy was presented to representatives from the club by rugby legend Dr Willie John McBride MBE.
Coaches, parents and young players representing Ballyclare RFC attended the award ceremony and so were able to celebrate the win.
The prize was awarded for the club’s ‘energetic approach to mini rugby, growing club numbers and involvement in schemes such as Play Fair’.
Mini Rugby convenor Tommy Scott said: “We are absolutely delighted to top our category as we were shortlisted alongside three other great nominees - Ballyclare Secondary School hockey team, Carnmoney FDC and Merville Ju Jitsu.
“I would like to say a big thank you to Ballyclare Rugby Club for all the support and encouragement they have given to Mini Rugby over many years. This has enabled the Minis section to grow and has made it the great club it is today.
“We also greatly appreciate the work of our coaches who volunteer their time every week to coach our young players. Our parents provide great support on the touchlines and also work in the coffee shop and car park.
“Finally, this award really belongs to our young players. They are the ones who come out on the pitches week after week in snow and sunshine. The boys and girls train hard, play hard and most importantly really enjoy their rugby.
“We are very confident that among them will be some of Northern Ireland’s successful senior rugby players of the future.”
The judges said: “Ballyclare Mini Rugby Club is a thriving, energetic sports club catering for 250 boys and girls aged four to 12.
“The club aims to encourage team spirit, develop skills on the field and create a love for rugby that will continue into adulthood.
“Club numbers continue to grow and children are faithfully supported every week by parents and coaches alike in training and on the touchline for matches.”