Australia Day honour board

Lismores sporting heroes past and future were honoured on Australia Day in Lismore. Showing off their awards on Saturday were (l-r) Marie Mackney (Senior Sportsperson of the Year), Michael Gahan (Junior Sportsperson of the Year) and Ray Crane, representing the Rosebank Primary School Soccer Team.

Marie Mackney, Michael Gahan and the Rosebank Primary School Soccer Team were honoured at Lismores annual Australia Day ceremony for their sporting achievements.

Marie picked up the Senior Sportsperson of the Year gong for a lifetimes commitment to netball, Michael was named Junior Sportsperson of the Year after excelling as a baseballer in the Australian Under 13 team, while football coach Ray Crane accepted the Sport Group award on behalf of his young charges.

Marie Mackney started playing netball at the age of 14 and just two years later she was voted onto the executive as assistant secretary. She is now 71 and has remained committed to the Far North Coast Netball Association since that day 55 years ago. Marie has been instrumental in lifting the standard of facilities in Lismore and the courts carry her name in recognition of that work.

She was also the first member of the FNC Association to receive life membership and was only 34 when she was given that honour. When she spoke to The Echo it was obvious that a recent illness and upcoming knee operation had done nothing to curb her enthusiasm and love of life.

I love sport, all sport, except boxing, Marie said. I love my squash and Ive played that all my life too. But more than anything, today, what I want to do is thank the girls. The support of the netball girls has been wonderful. I got (breast) cancer four years ago and they helped me out so much, even when I lost all my hair. Two years ago they let me coach a team the Summerlanders Under 12s and we made it all the way to the final.

Michael Gahan earned his honour for his efforts as a member of the Australian Under 13 baseball team, where he won the Ron Tellefsen Medal for Player of the Game in a match against the Dominican Republic at the World Championships in Baltimore last year. Michael was also picked in the world Allstars team at the end of the championships.

Meanwhile, the Rosebank Primary School Soccer Team was honoured for winning through to the final of the Small Schools Soccer Competition.

The Australia Day ceremony also celebrated the efforts of a wide range of sportspeople and groups, including Lismore and Ballina Lighthouse Surf Life Saver Bill Onslow, young rugby tyros Sean and Sam Cox and Jake Smith, netballer Robyn Farrell, golfer Josh Ryan, cross country runner Jessica Powers, tennis pocket rocket Stella McWilliams, swimmer Emma Harris and croquet player Robbie Stock, just to name a few.

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