THERE was an extra special ‘guest’ as Ballymena United held its second corporate dinner of the season prior to Saturday’s home game against Portadown.
When the function was being scheduled at the start of the season, few would have dared to suggest that officials would have to find a space for the magnificent County Antrim Shield trophy.
Guests, who included North West 200 Race Director Mervyn Whyte and newly-appointed Irish League Managing Director Colin Marks, were able to reflect upon the Sky Blues’ recent final success against Linfield.
Master of ceremonies Edwin McLaughlin also paid tribute to long-time club sponsor Norman McBurney, who had been unable to attend the Shield final as he recovers from a recent accident but who was in attendance at the dinner.
“It was great to see Norman hold up the Shield and hopefully there are plenty more to come in the future,” added Edwin, who also paid special tribute to the work of the club’s Youth Academy in providing football activity for around 250 children each week.
“They provide a great service, not just to the club but also to the community in getting children involved in something they can be proud of,” added Edwin.
The following individuals and organisations were also thanked for taking tables at the function: Kerr’s Tyres; McBurney Transport; McIlrath Solicitors; Alan Francey Minibus Hire; Ballymena Spurs SC; Ballymena United Development Committee; Ballymena United Youth Academy; Cloughmills NISC; Crosskeys Meats; Danske Bank; GM Landscapes; Harry Millar and friends; Ian McKeown and friends; Paramount BUSC; Paradise BUSC; Portadown FC; RGM Financial Services; Roy Harkness and friends; Seven Towers BUSC; Slemish Tavern Golf Society; Smallcost Carpets; Stardust Amusements; Telstar; Young Guns; Young Guns 2; Tullymore Road Motors; Wilson McCurdy Haulagae; William Hamill & Sons; the Press.