SPORTS AWARDS: Michael joins stars in Hall of Fame

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr. Billy Ashe, presents Des and Pat O'Neill, with an award for their son, Northern Ireland football team manager Michael O'Neill, who was inducted into the Ballymena Sports Awards Hall of Fame. INBT10-207AM
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr. Billy Ashe, presents Des and Pat O'Neill, with an award for their son, Northern Ireland football team manager Michael O'Neill, who was inducted into the Ballymena Sports Awards Hall of Fame. INBT10-207AM

Michael O’Neill’s achievement in steering Northern Ireland to this summer’s European Championship finals saw him earn his place among some illustrious company in the Ballymena Sporting Hall of Fame.

From his formative years in youth and school football in Ballymena to a successful professional playing career in England and Scotland, the Brigadie man made the successful transition to management and his career reached a peak when he guided Northern Ireland to this summer’s Euro finals for the first time.

Michael was unable to attend as he is currently putting the final touches to Northern Ireland’s preparations in France but in a video message, he said: “It’s a great honour to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

Michael’s father Des, who accepted the award from Mayor, Councillor Billy Ashe, said of his son’s career: “He was halfway through his A-levels and all of a sudden he was playing professional football for Newcastle - he never did get his A-levels!”