Voting is now open for the McDonald's Irish FA Grassroots Football People's Award 2020.
Find out more about both nominees in the video below then cast your vote by completing the form at the bottom of this page.
William Shanks is currently a member of the committee at Dundonald-based Ridgeway Rovers and NI Co Down Select. He has held many different roles in football down the years, including as a coach, kitman and talent scout for Sunderland and Hull City. William was also heavily involved in St Andrew’s Boys’ Club in Belfast, which produced Northern Ireland greats Steven Davis and Chris Brunt among others.
He believes the evolution of grassroots football in Northern Ireland has had a hugely positive impact on society in general.
“I love to see kids fulfil their potential and succeed. That has always been my main motivator in being so hands-on in the local game,” he said. “Football helps young boys and girls get off the street, better themselves, meet new people and become more diverse and well-rounded individuals, which makes for a better society in Northern Ireland.”
Billy O'Flaherty MBE
Billy O’Flaherty MBE is a founding member of Carniny Amateur and Youth Football Club in Ballymena and is widely regarded as a football stalwart in the Mid-Antrim area. He was awarded an MBE for his work in the local community and has had many responsibilities on and off the football pitch – from secretary and committee member to coach.
“Local football has been one of the best tools for cross-community relations in Northern Ireland and we must not underestimate that,” he said. “Football is often the common denominator that brings people from all walks of life together, which has helped us take great strides over the years towards becoming a more inclusive society.”
PLEASE NOTE: This vote CLOSED on Friday 12 February at 5pm