Top volunteers honoured for selfless commitment to sport



South Tipperary Sports Partnership extends their congratulations to five exceptional sports volunteers in recognition of their time and effort to the development of sport. As part of the Canon Hayes National Sports Award, a presentation was made to each of the volunteers by STSP Chairperson, Fionuala McGeever and Minister for State Martin Manseragh.

The overall winner of the 2010 Volunteer in Sport Award was Breeda Christie, Tipperary Town Athletic Club.

Breeda has given a lifetime of service to athletes and to volunteering in sport in Tipperary and in the greater Munster area and is still as active today as she was when she first became involved in athletics in Tipperary in 1967. She has completed over 40 years as a volunteer doing all the paper work, driving athletes to events, passing on her coaching and co-ordination skills, collecting registration fees, doing competition entries, remembering permits for collections and numerous other tasks.

She was also the driving force for securing land from Tipperary Town Council for facilities for Tipp Town A.C. The decision to acquire this land was the catalyst for the process that led to the establishment of the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre. She has played a leading role in the continued development of the Centre.

Breeda has officiated in many roles as an officer of County Tipperary Community Games over the years. She acted as County Manager, Assistant County Manager, Security Manager at the National Finals on several occasions. Breeda was elected President of County Tipperary Community Games in 1990.

She has given 42 years of continuous hard work to the organisation and to other various voluntary organisations. She is one of the rarity among volunteers, a person who actually continues to act as a volunteer even when their own children have outgrown the organisation. Breeda was nominated for this award by her own athletic club Tipperary Town AC and Carrick AC.

Also, honoured was Aisling Hickey who has been involved with Rossmore Racquetball Club for many years organising matches and coaching. Even at such a young age, Aisling puts the club first by organising sessions for the young children. Along with her volunteering work Aisling qualified for the Irish Junior Racquetball team last year and is Captain of the Ireland team this year.

Pat Bargary was nominated by TIRD/Chamber of Commerce. Pat has been involved in cycling for some 60 years. Pat personally organised three RAS finishes in Tipperary Town, the most successful in 2010 where approximately 8,000 people participated.

In his own cycling career, Pat was Tipperary Cycling Champion 1950-1961 with 33 County titles and 11 Munster titles together with two All-Ireland titles. He has over 200 races won in Ireland, England and Wales, including several in the Oval Velodrome.

Larkspur Park Tennis Club nominated Jill O'Connor who has been involved with the Tennis Club for a number of years. She has co-ordinated the Junior side of the tennis club practically on her own for the last 8-10 years.

During this time she has set up coaching for nearly 200 children, organised teams to enter competitions as well as driving these children to matches. Her ability to get the best coaching programmes for all levels is of great benefit to the club.

Last but not least Pat O'Connor who has been involved with Moyle Rovers GAA Club for the past 35 years was recognised for his dedication to the club. As a volunteer Pat co-ordinates all events and activities at Moyle Park, manages the Monroe Sports Centre and is the main contact person for information, advice and encouragement.

He manages all three sportsfields, takes bookings, collects membership fees and provides a jersey cleaning service for some 27 teams. In addition, he provides refreshments when required for all players traveling distances and for outside groups using the Monroe Sports Centre.

Pat is always willing, easy to ring, approachable and respected by all both young and adult members of the club.

Congratulations to all of the above volunteers who are a credit to each of their ogranisations and sport is richer for their valuable contribution.