The Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring, TD, acknowledged the major contribution played by Irish sports 500,000 volunteers as he presented the “National Awards to Volunteers in Irish Sport” at a function held in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. In all he presented eleven awards across ten sports.
The “National Awards to Volunteers in Irish Sport” celebrates the contribution of those who volunteer across all of Irish sport. In making the presentations Minister Ring acknowledged the contribution made by volunteers saying that without their incredible efforts sport as we know it in Ireland today would not exist.
The National Awards are a collaboration between the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Irish Sports Council and the Federation of Irish Sport which represents over 70 sports in Ireland. This scheme is also supported by the Community Foundation of Ireland.
Among the recipients of this year’s awards were Liam Sheedy, who managed Tipperary to All Ireland Senior success in 2010. He was nominated for his commitment to Tipperary hurling which has seen him manage hurling and camogie teams at all age levels in his home club of Portroe.
Sheedy was nominated for the award by Portroe his local GAA club for his “tireless commitment to coaching our club’s under age hurling teams, Under 8, Under 10, Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 as well as Portroe Camogie Club’s under age girls of similar age groups”. He has also coached all of the club’s senior teams. In his time Liam has also coached both the Tipperary Minor and Senior All Ireland hurlers, with both of whom he has enjoyed All Ireland success.
He has been involved with Portroe since his teenage years and his input into coaching at the club culminated this year in the historic achievement of the club winning its first North Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship.
Hockey’s Sally Ann Fanagan took the Adult Manager of the Year title for her commitment to the sport which this year came so close to qualifying for the London Olympics. Another Olympic connection was provided by Oliver O’Neill, who won the Youth Coaching Award. Oliver is the father of Darren O’Neill, captain of this year’s successful Irish Olympic boxing team.
A Lifetime Award was presented to athletics’ Ronnie Long who has served Irish athletics at every level from grassroots through to President of Athletics Ireland. His work at county and regional level as an administrator and the passion and energy he brought all his life to athletics was honoured in the award.
The award winners were selected by a committee chaired by Olympic gold medal winner, Ronnie Delany. Also on the committee were representatives from the Federation of Irish Sport, the Irish Sports Council, the Irish Times, RTE and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.