Modest, unassuming, genuine, caring and the best motorcycle rider of them all.
That was Joey Dunlop.
And according to Belfast Telegraph readers, he is also Northern Ireland’s Greatest Sports Star ever.
Dunlop, who died in 2000 racing in Estonia, was voted number one in a special poll to mark the 20th anniversary of the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.
After 20 sporting greats from Northern Ireland were shortlisted by an expert panel, the decision was handed over to the public who gave their verdict in their thousands, with the legendary Joey coming out on top. Iconic footballer George Best finished runner-up and four-time Major winning golfer Rory McIlroy was third.
The WJ Paddy Patterson Award which was sponsored by the Northern Ireland Sports Forum was awarded to Doreen Miskelly, a long serving volunteer with Bowls and a former NISF Board Member. After representing Ireland as a player Doreen became Secretary of the Irish Womens Indoor Bowling Association and remained so for 19 years. From there Doreen progressed to the British Isles Indoor Bowling Council and served for 12 years before being honoured with the British Presidency in 2007. For 6 years Doreen fulfilled the role of Secretary of the Northern Ireland Sports Forum, before resigning and taking a well-earned rest from administration.
She still maintains her membership of the Belfast Indoor Club as well as playing outdoor for Hilden BC in the summer.
Carl Frampton and Rory McIlroy couldn’t be separated for the Sports Star of the Year Award so the Award was shared for 2014. Carl and Rory had the best year of their sporting lives in 2014 and given the magnitude of their achievements, the judging panel decided that BOTH deserved the prestigious prize. David Healy was the latest inductee to the Hall of Fame.
Take a bow: the Sports Awards roll of honour…
Sports Stars of the Year (sponsored by Linwoods): Carl Frampton and Rory McIlroy
NI’s Greatest Sports Star Ever (as voted by Belfast Telegraph readers): 1. Joey Dunlop 2. George Best 3. Rory McIlroy
Paddy Patterson Award (sponsored by NI Sports Forum): Doreen Miskelly
Hall of Fame (sponsored by Belleek): David Healy
Team of the Year (sponsored by Outlet): NI Commonwealth Games Boxing squad
George Best Breakthrough Award (sponsored by Ramada): Conor McLaughlin
Coach of the Year Award (sponsored by Volvo): John Conlan
Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year (sponsored by Linwoods): Andrew Trimble
Local Heroes award (sponsored by Sport NI): Anto Finnegan
Sports Star with a Disability (sponsored by National Lottery): Kelly Gallagher
Special Recognition Award (sponsored by Centra): Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan
Young Team of the Year (sponsored by Sport NI): Portora Royal School Boat Club Boys Junior Coxed Eights
Young Player of the Year (sponsored by mamba): Chloe Watson