Five camogie volunteers including Donna Mullan (Darragh Cross Camogie Club, Down), Karen Goldrick (Ringtown Camogie Club, Westmeath), Marie Clancy (St Catherine’s Camogie Club, Cork), Peter Callan (Naomh Fionnbarra and St Anne’s GFG, Louth) and Tricia McCarthy (Cappoquin Camogie Club, Waterford) will receive nationwide recognition next week for their dedication to sport, as they have been awarded the Down, Westmeath, Cork, Louth and Waterford awards respectively for the 2021 Federation of Irish Sport Volunteers in Sport Awards, proudly supported by EBS.
The awards will take place virtually on December 7th, 8th and 9th and will see the five camogie volunteers, along with volunteers from across the country, honoured for their amazing dedication to volunteering across a variety of different sports.
Donna Mullan is a one of the all-time camogie greats in Co. Down and is truly an unsung hero on and off the field. When Donna first joined Darragh Cross, the club had a senior camogie team but no underage development. Donna decided she would start underage training and on the first night, just two or three girls turned up – but that did not put Donna off. Almost 20 years later, there are over 100 registered camogie players with Darragh Cross. Every Tuesday night at the Darragh Cross pitches you will see 60-70 young girls from the age of 5 to the age of 17 playing the game. Donna has created the infrastructure to allow this to happen and has built a great team of coaches to help her manage all the teams. Donna’s hard work has paid off with many young girls who started playing camogie under her tutelage, now representing the Darragh Cross senior teams.
As a founding member of Ringtown Camogie Club, Karen Goldrick’s positive contribution to her community and the club players is immeasurable. Despite never having played camogie herself, Karen was eager to provide this opportunity to her children and the wider community and so spent every spare minute researching what was necessary for the club’s success. Karen acts as Club Secretary as well as being involved in all underage coaching and over the years, she has secured vital sponsorships and donations to keep the club running. She covers many roles from organising club tournaments to refereeing matches and researching new drills for young players. Since the club’s formation, Karen has worked day and night to provide an invaluable opportunity for young girls and women in Ringtown to learn a new skill and become involved in the community.
In Cork meanwhile, Marie Clancy is without doubt the driving force of St. Catherine’s Camogie Club. Having first got involved in the club as a player at underage level, Marie joined the committee as a 14-year-old. Various chairpersons, secretaries, and team managers have come and gone over the years, but Marie has never stepped back or taken a break from her busy roles. She has filled many important roles over the years and has dedicated her time tirelessly to helping the club run. Now the club’s President, she is seen as a great sounding board by many in the club and is always on hand to help out and encourage everyone.
Peter Callan has been dedicated to Naomh Fionnbarra and St. Anne’s GFG for more than 50 years. He is a passionate groundsman and committee member who has always ensured that facilities are open when necessary and in good time, that pitches are lined, that the grass is kept in excellent playing condition, goal nets installed and flags lined out for all games that take place involving the club. Peter ensures that the club has the best facilities possible and his dedication to the club ensures that children from nursery right through to minor grades and adults have a welcoming facility to call their own.
In 1998, upon realising there was no sports club for her daughter to join, Tricia McCarthy, with her friend Gina McGrath, set up Cappoquin Camogie Club. Since then, Tricia has been the influential force behind the club’s success. As a speedy forward for the neighbouring camogie club of Lismore, Tricia won eight county senior titles and represented Waterford senior team for several years, before establishing Cappoquin. As a volunteer, Tricia has taken on every role in the club from manager and coach to sitting on the club committee. Tricia is a strong advocate of women in sport and is passionate that all young girls should be offered the opportunity to play sport, a passion she has endeavoured to fulfil in her own club. As a result of Tricia’s 23 years of hard work and determination, Cappoquin Camogie Club is now one of the largest sports clubs for women in west Waterford. Tricia continues to give of her time freely to the club and now serves as the club Chairperson.
The Volunteers in Sport Awards celebrate the contributions of the band of volunteers across the country who give their time to Irish sport and physical activity every year. This equates to approximately 37.3 million hours of volunteering across Ireland’s 13,000 registered sports clubs and associations and, according to Sport Ireland’s 2021 ‘Researching the Value of Sport in Ireland’ report, is worth an estimated €1.5bn to the exchequer.
Throughout September and October members of the public, sports clubs and governing bodies were invited to nominate an individual whose contribution to sport and physical activity in Ireland has made a real difference to their community, club or county. The nominations and award recipients were selected by a judging panel consisting of 12 individuals drawn from sports administration, the volunteer community and media, and included former Director General of the GAA, Paraic Duffy, RTÉ broadcaster, Marie Crowe and CEO of Gaisce, Yvonne McKenna.
In addition to the 32 county-level award winners, Amina Moustafa, a volunteer across many different sports including football, basketball and swimming, received the overall Outstanding Achievement Award for her incredible service to the promotion of sport amongst women of diverse ethnic backgrounds, as well as her continued support of Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI).
Máire Allen and Jacqueline McCormack have also received a Special Recognition Award for their amazing work with Roscommon Special Olympics Club. They have dedicated their time tirelessly over the last number of years and more recently, in the face of the challenging circumstances caused by Covid-19, did everything to ensure the club’s members remained fit and active throughout the various lockdowns.
Pádraic Kearney (RIP) has been honoured with a Special Recognition Award for his commitment to Gaelic Games in Adare GAA Club (Limerick). Pádraic was incredibly committed to his community, with his volunteerism going far beyond sport. His untimely passing earlier this year has been felt by everyone in the club, especially the younger members, who Pádraic coached for many years.
Commenting on the awards, Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers, TD, said: “It is an honour for me to support this year’s Volunteers in Sport Awards and help recognise so many fantastic volunteers in our community. These awards have a special place in the sporting calendar as they recognise those who have given an incredible amount of time throughout the year who have ensured that sport can takes place in our communities, and they do so without the expectation of gratitude or reward. The amount of hard work and dedication that these volunteers give to sport in Ireland is quite truly astonishing and I am privileged to support both the volunteers and these awards. I would also like to thank the Federation of Irish Sport and EBS, and all who will help make these virtual ceremonies a memorable occasion for all.”
Speaking about the awards, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, Mary O’Connor said: “Despite another very challenging year for sport, we have once again seen how important volunteering has been to communities across Ireland. We have an enormous amount of gratitude for the army of volunteers who have ensured that sport could take place in a safe and controlled manner. Whether it be on pitches, courts, tracks, pools or even community halls across the country, the volunteers are always there to make sure sport and physical activity continues to take place around Ireland. It gives me immense pride to be able to recognise so many of these volunteers at next week’s virtual Volunteers in Sport Awards and I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to all of this year’s recipients. I would like to also thank EBS for their continued support in bringing wider recognition of volunteers in sport in Ireland to life. I would also like to express my gratitude to Minister Jack Chambers who will be taking the time out of his schedule to attend our virtual ceremonies next week and helping us to champion and celebrate the recipients.”
Managing Director of EBS, Paul Butler, commented: “EBS is delighted to partner with the Federation of Irish Sport once more to honour and recognise the everyday heroes around Ireland who make sure sport happens every day. EBS has been involved in local communities around Ireland for over 80 years and we are delighted to showcase the tremendous work these volunteers do for sport throughout their communities. These volunteers truly are the backbone of Irish sport, and we are proud to support them. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the recipients of the 2021 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, December 7th: Leinster and Special Recognition Award
- Wednesday, December 8th: Munster, Connacht and Special Recognition Award
- Thursday, December 9th: Ulster and Outstanding Achievement Award
For more information on the awards, visit http://www.volunteersinsport.ie/