SLIDESHOW: Ballymena United Youth Academy prize night

Under-11 Player of the Year Mark Lowry with team manager Davy Douglas and special guest Michael O'Neill.
Under-11 Player of the Year Mark Lowry with team manager Davy Douglas and special guest Michael O'Neill.

Ballymena United Youth Academy team awards night took place on Wednesday evening in an emotion-filled evening at the Showgrounds.

National team manager Michael O’Neill was guest of honour and he spoke at length about his Ballymena roots and the path he had taken from all those years ago with boys club Star United.

David Douglas (coach) and Michael O'Neill (special guest) with members of Ballymena United's under-11 squad. INBT 22-808H

David Douglas (coach) and Michael O'Neill (special guest) with members of Ballymena United's under-11 squad. INBT 22-808H

There were emotional tributes throughout from speakers towards the Academy’s close friend and coach Wes Gregg, none more so than from his close friend and ex Academy head coach Stanley Galbraith.

On a lighter note the evening began with the high profile launch of the new club kit and a detailed preview of some exciting new developments at the Academy from next season.

Pro licence coach and ex Coleraine manager David Platt along with current IFA grassroots coach Mo McDowell will be joining the club as senior coaches, assisting with team coaching and coach education.

There was a special mention of United’s representatives at the Clubni set up and at the evenings close, one of these players, Sean McAllister presented Michael O’Neill with a club tie.

Winners at the various age groups were:

Under 11- North West League: Most improved player-Billy Ewart; Leading goalscorer- Adam MillarPlayers player of season-Timmy McClure; Managers player of season- Mark Lowry.

Under 12- National League: Most improved player-Leon Coulter; Leading goalscorer- Ross McCausland; Players player of season- Jordan McMullan; Managers player of season- Conor Louw.

U13-Lisburn League: Most improved player-Jason Magee; Leading goalscorer- Dylan Robinson; Players player of season- Matthew Patterson; Managers player of season- William Crockard.

U13-National League: Most improved player- Oliver Hampshire; Leading goalscorer- Lewis Mearns; Players player of season- Rian Lennon; Managers player of season- Sean McAllister.

U14-National League: Most improved player- Ben Fry; Leading goalscorer- Sean McKay; Players player of season- Scott Sempey; Managers player of season- Scott Sempey.

U15-National League: Most improved player- Callum Ross; Leading goalscorer- Stephen McColgan; Players player of season- Adam Neilly; Managers player of season- Adam Neilly. Vernon Mitchell trophy- Jonny Douglas