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St Brenda’s club stalwart named Co Armagh recipient of Volunteers in Sport Awards

The awards ceremony will take place at The Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown later this month

Sally Rafferty

A stalwart of the St Brenda’s camogie club in Ballymacnab will be honoured for her contribution at the 2023 Volunteers in Sport Awards later this month.

Sally Rafferty is the Armagh recipient of the award which celebrates the contributions of the band of volunteers across the country who give their time to Irish sport and physical activity every year.

Sally has been involved with camogie for close to 50 years. She is known for her work both on and off the pitch, inspiring a whole generation of volunteers and players.

Sally has been a long serving committee member and has continued to coach at all levels of the club. She is a strong advocate for women to be involved in sport and to also be given equal opportunities in sport.

St. Brenda’s is at the heart of the community and Sally has been influential in bringing this community together. On top of this, she has helped to secure vital grants for the club to improve its facilities and equipment as well as assisting with coaching courses and the funding of mental health campaigns. Sally is an inspiration to many and has given a lifetime of service to the club.

Minister of State with responsibility for Sport and Physical Education Thomas Byrne TD is the special guest speaker at the awards, which will take place next week on March, 22 at The Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown and hosted by sports broadcaster Gráinne McElwain.

The event will see volunteers from all 32 counties honoured for their amazing dedication to volunteering across a variety of different sports. Guests will also include key stakeholders from the sector. The overall Outstanding Achievement Award will be revealed on the day.

Throughout December and January members of the public, sports clubs and governing bodies were invited by the Federation of Irish Sport in partnership with the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships to nominate an individual whose contribution to sport and physical activity in Ireland has made a real difference to their community, club, or county. Following a shortlisting process by the Selection Committee, the judging panel consisting of nine individuals drawn from sports administration, academia, the volunteer community and media, and included former Director General of the GAA, Paraic Duffy, RTÉ broadcaster, Marie Crowe and Declan Jordan, Senior Lecturer in Economics at UCC.

Commenting on the awards, Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne TD said: “The volunteers being recognised today deserve enormous credit.

“Their work, often unseen and undertaken without any fuss or fanfare, makes sport a reality for hundreds if not thousands of people in their communities. In particular, the work of volunteers enables young people to play the sport that they love, to meet their friends and form lasting friendships.

“In so many ways, volunteers are the lifeblood of sport in this country, and I am privileged to have this opportunity to publicly acknowledge their vital contribution to Irish sport.”

Speaking about the importance of the awards, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, Mary O’Connor said: “In every county throughout the country, clubs and sporting organisations facilitate multi-generational opportunities for people to be involved in sport and physical activity.

“The work and goodwill of sport volunteers across the country cannot be taken for granted… Every week in Ireland more than 450,000 volunteers bring sport and physical activity to life for our communities and it’s time we afford their hard work the recognition it deserves.

“It is therefore important that we showcase the size and scale of this contribution by bringing such volunteers together today at the Volunteers in Sport Awards with attendees from every county in the country to shine a spotlight on the positive work they do for sport and physical activity.”

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