Northern Ireland senior men’s team manager Ian Baraclough has launched the McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards for 2021.
The annual McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards, which celebrate 21 years in Northern Ireland this year, recognise the incredible work and commitment of football clubs and volunteers who give up their time and make a long-lasting impact on young people and communities across Northern Ireland.
In this year’s awards there are six categories: Young Volunteer of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Wes Gregg Coach of the Year, Club of the Year, the Football for All Award and the People’s Award.
Nominations for the McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards are now open - and will close on 1 September. Regional award winners will be announced on 14 September. The 2021 awards ceremony is due to take place in Belfast in November, subject to government guidelines and Covid-19 protocols.
Launching the awards, Ian Baraclough heaped praise on the many volunteers who give up their time to help deliver grassroots football across Northern Ireland.
He also encouraged people to vote for their favourite volunteers in this year's McDonald's Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards.
"Without volunteers none of this could happen," he said.
"Around the many towns and villages, many kids start working with coaches who are volunteers. And the Irish FA has got its grassroots awards with McDonald’s which reward these coaches and volunteers.
"I was delighted to be involved in the virtual awards ceremony for 2020 and I look forward to meeting people in person at the 2021 awards.
"I think it is really important volunteers are recognised, and the votes are important on the Irish FA website."
David Walker, franchisee at McDonald’s, said: “This year McDonald’s celebrates 30 years in Northern Ireland as well as the 21st anniversary of the McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards.
“Our partnership with the Irish FA on the McDonald’s Fun Football programme highlights our commitment to fostering the development of football for all in Northern Ireland. We hope to support this initiative for many years to come.”
Through the McDonald’s Fun Football programme more than 75,000 children across Northern Ireland will benefit from 250,000 hours of coaching, games and fun by 2022.
For more information or to nominate your grassroots football hero visit here.