COOKSTOWN teenager Ian Sloan celebrated yet another award as he claimed the ‘Local Heroes’ award at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.
The talented teenager who is still in Upper 6th at Cookstown High School, bagged the award following a stunning year for Sloan.
Sloan has captained his school to three cup finals and was part of the Cookstown Hockey Club side that experienced Irish Senior Cup glory in April 2011. Only two months later Sloan became one of the youngest ever players to represent Ireland at hockey as he made his debut against China.
Sloan travelled with Cookstown Hockey Club to Belgium to take part in the Euro Hockey League in Antwerp in the Autumn of 2011.
To cap off a stunning year, Sloan was in sensational form as he scored a hat-trick to seal the McCullough Cup for Cookstown High School against Banbridge Academy.
Sloan spoke to the Mid Ulster Mail shortly after receiving his award.
“It was a fantastic experience and it was great to be able to meet and chat with top class sports stars. Speaking to people like Brendan Rodgers and Rory Best was certainly something I will never forget. They are at the top of their game and it was a pleasure to be able to talk with them.”
“It was amazing to talk to someone like Mike Gibson, who in my opinion was one of the best rugby players of all time. It was great to be in the same room with so many world renowned sports stars.”
It has certainly been a hectic couple of days for the teenager as he had an exam the day after the awards. Attentions will now turn to helping Ireland qualify for the Olympics in Dublin in March.
“The squad are actually out in Spain at the moment, preparing for the qualifiers. My immediate focus was on my examinations but I will soon be able to commit to focusing on getting Ireland to the Olympics.”
The qualifiers take place in Dublin from the 10th-18th March and Sloan is hopeful his side can confirm their place in the Olympic finals in London.
“I think we have a good chance of qualifying. We have shown over the last year or so that we are capable of beating anyone. We have beaten teams ranked higher than us and add in the factor that we will be playing on home turf we are hopeful of getting that elusive place in the finals.”