Dual star Samantha Kelly was crowned Sports Personality of the Year for 2014 at first Mid-Ulster Mail-Tyrone Times awards ceremony on Saturday.
Readers of the two sister papers sent in their votes on coupons and via text messages over the last few weeks to decide the winners of both the individual and team awards.
The battle for the main honour was between all twelve of the monthly winners throughout last year in a promotion which was sponsored by McConnell’s Intersport in Cookstown, Ulster Bank and Glenavon House Hotel, all the contenders invited to the hotel last Saturday morning.
The contenders for the team award were all nominated because of their wonderful achievements during the year.
But every one of those who were in contention for the major awards was a winner in their own right, because each went home with a cup in recognition of their successes.
There were cups for each of the four teams which were runners-up to the Slaughtneil Emmetts GAA side which took the team accolade, having won the Derry and Ulster championship titles and will also be bidding to complete the hat-trick on St.Patricks Day by winning the All -Ireland title.
Then the nine candidates who didn’t make the top three in the voting from the readers were presented with cups before increasingly larger cups went to the others.
The third-placed individual personality was Patrick Wallace, who won the Northern Ireland snooker title for a record-equalling sixth time.
The very popular runner-up was young Tiernan McShane from the Coalisland-based Eagles Special Olympics Club for his terrific feat in winning two All-Ireland titles against all the odds in last August in Limerick.
And the winner, with the announcement greeted with lots of cheers of great delight, was Samantha Kelly, who had enjoyed a tremendous year in both her chosen sports, soccer and hockey.
Samantha had won her monthly award for helping the Mid-Ulster Ladies to victory in the Mid-Ulster scoring a hat-trick in a tremendous all-round performance as they defeated Loughgall Lakers 7-1.
But it’s a fair bet that she would also have received quite a few votes because of her contribution to a memorable year for Dungannon Ladies, having won promotion to the top flight before reaching the final of the senior cup, in which they lost to Armagh.
Well done to one and all.