Football Volunteers win National Awards
Offaly's Tomas Quinlan, Wexford's Liam Rossiter, Donegal's Fergus McAteer (pictured above) and Louth's Robert Nash, will receive nationwide recognition for their dedicated work for the sport this week, as they have been awarded the Offaly, Wexford, Donegal and Louth awards respectively at the virtual Federation of Irish Sport Volunteers in Sport awards, proudly supported by EBS Mortgage Masters.
Offaly’s Tomas Quinlan (pictured below), commenced his involvement in Moneygall FC early after its inception in 1978. Tom commenced playing and was instrumental in setting up the underage structure in the early 1980’s. Tom has coached all age groups throughout the years and managed and maintained club facilities. He was always out early to cut and line the pitch and he organised land to lease each season, so the club had a home. Tom also got involved in the North Tipperary League and acted as registrar for the schoolchildren’s league for 10 years. Tom continues in his role as Treasurer - a position he has maintained for nearly 20 years. He was instrumental in fundraising that allowed the club to purchase and develop their own grounds. Tom developed a club that his kids could enjoy and today, he has the satisfaction of seeing his grandchild now benefit from something he stuck with for 40 years. The club and community are indebted to Tom for his dedication and determination for a small rural club.
Wexford’s Liam Rossiter’s impact is not only visible to his club but is visible throughout the community and wider county - he is known as the man who runs New Ross Town FC. He is an inclusive and welcoming man, who encourages everyone from all walks of life and backgrounds. The club provides a space for everyone to be themselves without judgement and strives to ensure that football is provided for all - regardless of their ability. Through Liam Rossiter (pictured below), the club's profile in the community has increased and continues to aid and support the community through social inclusion, nurturing the talent of young people, providing volunteers to act as stewards for locally run council events, and providing a space for everyone to feel part of something which brings out the best in them.
Fergus McAteer of Donegal was a founding member of Mulroy Academy in 2002, catering for children aged from under 6 to under 16. The Mulroy Academy now caters for 200 children every year and since commencing, has provided a great outlet for children in the area with over 3,000 children passing through the academy. This would never have been possible without Fergus's enthusiasm, dedication and foresight. Mulroy Academy has recently achieved the FAI One Star accreditation and Fergus was the club’s representative as Club Mark Officer. The FAI Club Mark is a series of accreditation awards for grassroots clubs based on best practice in the governance and management of a club. What makes this an even more remarkable achievement - and all due to Fergus commitment, energy and passion - for a rural club in Donegal is the fact that Mulroy Academy is one of only six clubs nationwide to achieve this standard of excellence. Simply put, Fergus is ''Mr. Soccer Donegal'' and the Mulroy area and Donegal are so lucky to have him.
Louth’s Robert Nash (pictured below), will receive nationwide recognition for his dedicated work with both Na Piarsaigh CGP and Bay Football Club this week, as he has been awarded the Louth award at this year’s Federation of Irish Sport Volunteers in Sport awards. Robert has been a volunteer in his local Gaelic and soccer clubs for the last 20 years. Currently vice chairman of the local Gaelic team Na Piarsaigh CGP, he is also the coach for the Under 8, 14, 16 and 18 teams. In addition to his work in the Gaelic club, Robert was a driving force behind a recently established kids’ academy at Bay Football Club. He coaches at this academy for children aged 6-10 every week. Over the years he has been instrumental in trying to think of new initiatives to keep young people interested in sport - all while holding down a job in the local fire service and raising his own family. He really is an inspiration to all around him. They will all be honoured this week at the special virtual awards ceremony.
The Volunteers in Sport Awards were created to champion the contribution, commitment and dedication of the army of 450,000 volunteers across the country who go above and beyond by giving their time to Irish sport and physical activity each year. These volunteers dedicate some 37.2 million hours of volunteering across the country’s 13,000+ sports clubs and associations every year.
Towards the end of 2020, members of the public, as well as sports clubs and governing bodies were invited to nominate an individual whose contributions to sport has made a real difference to their community, club or county. The nominations and award recipients were selected by a judging panel consisting of 11 individuals drawn from sports administration, the volunteer community and media, including former Director General of the GAA, Paraic Duffy, RTÉ broadcaster, Marie Crowe and CEO of CARA, Niamh Daffy.
Speaking about the awards, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, Mary O’Connor said: “Sport plays a central role in the social fabric of every community in Ireland, yet it would not happen at all without the army of volunteers who dedicate their time and expertise across pitches, courts, tracks, pools and community halls across the country. This year, more than ever before, we have seen just how essential the role of the volunteer is in our local communities and to this end, it will be an honour to be able to recognise so many of these volunteers at this week’s virtual Volunteers in Sport awards. I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to all of this year’s recipients, and also thank EBS for their amazing support in bringing the awards – and wider recognition – of volunteers in sport in Ireland to life. Thanks also to Minister Jack Chambers who will be taking the time out of his schedule to attend our virtual ceremonies this week and helping us to champion and celebrate the recipients.”
Commenting on the awards, Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers, TD, said: “It is a real honour for me to help recognise so many fantastic volunteers in our community at this year’s virtual Volunteers in Sport Awards. I have always admired the hard work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes in sport and physical activity throughout the country, and it is a privilege for me be involved this week to help celebrate so many incredible individuals who give their time and dedication to ensuring that sport in Ireland runs smoothly 365 days of the year. Volunteers are often overlooked, but they are truly the backbone of sport in Ireland and these awards are a superb way to recognise and honour their amazing contribution to their communities. My thanks to the Federation of Irish Sport and EBS and everyone who will no doubt make these virtual ceremonies a memorable occasion for all.”
Chief Executive Officer of EBS, Paul Butler, commented: “EBS is thrilled to partner with the Federation of Irish Sport once more this year to honour and champion so many of our everyday heroes around Ireland who are truly the backbone of Irish sport. EBS has been involved in communities in Ireland for over 80 years and we know that our biggest asset is the people who work with our customers throughout local communities in Ireland. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the recipients of the 2020 Volunteers in Sports Awards and thank them for all of the tireless work they do to ensure sport in Ireland continues to flourish.”
The awards will be streamed live each evening from 7pm on the Federation of Irish Sport’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/federationofirishsport/ with the awards schedule listed below:
- Tuesday, January 12th: Leinster and Special Recognition Award
- Wednesday, January 13th: Munster, Connacht and Special Recognition Award
- Thursday, January 14th: Ulster and Outstanding Achievement Award
For more information on the awards, visit http://www.volunteersinsport.ie/