The Awards programme is in its fifth year and honours grassroots clubs and the volunteers who give up countless hours to ensure that football takes place every week throughout Northern Ireland. The awards have seven categories including two new award categories; The Respect Award and Female Volunteer of the Year. These new awards sit alongside well known categories including Volunteer of the Year, Coach of the Year and the coveted People’s Award which celebrates an individual’s outstanding contribution to grassroots football.
Commentating on the the awards, McDonald’s Head of Northern Ireland Football, Pat Jennings, said: “The Irish FA and McDonald’s Community Awards are about recognising those who play a vital role in the development of the grassroots game across Northern Ireland. These people are out on the pitch, whatever the weather, to ensure that youngsters can get out to train and play. They provide football coaching in a fun and safe environment allowing them to focus on developing their skills and progress as footballers. Without their dedication football in this Northern Ireland wouldn’t be the same.”
Nominees will be honoured at regional level before being put forward to a national judging panel featuring legends of the game including Northern Ireland’s greatest goalkeeper Pat Jennings. The selected national winners will go on to receive their awards at a national ceremony held at Belfast City Hall.
Speaking on the awards launch, Northern Ireland Football Manager Michael O'Neill said “I am delighted that this year’s McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards have now opened for nominations. Last year’s Award’s Night was a memorable event for everyone involved and I’m sure this year will be more of the same.
O’Neill added “Across Northern Ireland there are people who dedicate their time to grassroots football – from helping to develop young talent to ensuring safety and best practice in clubs. McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards provide an excellent opportunity to nominate our grassroots footballing heroes who contribute so much time, effort and passion to the game at this level.”
Nominations for McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards are now open. To vote for a football club or volunteer go to www.irishfa.com/mcdonalds-community-awards