Time to nominate your unsung heroes

Photo by Simon Graham/Harrisons

Photo by Simon Graham/Harrisons

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The McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards 2012 have been launched to recognise and reward the clubs, coaches and volunteers that make outstanding contributions to grassroots football across Northern Ireland.

The inaugural McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards took place last year and local unsung heroes were celebrated during a gala evening where special guests Sir Geoff Hurst, Pat Jennings and Eric Harrison helped McDonald’s and the Irish FA to celebrate their achievements in the game at grassroots level.

Nominations are now open for the 2012 Awards at www.irishfa.com/communityawards so if you know a coach, club or volunteer that deserves recognition for their contribution to the beautiful game at grassroots level and to the local community please fill in the nomination form.

Regional awards evenings are also being introduced for 2012, with winners being selected in three categories to reflect the level of grassroots work taking place in local communities. Each regional winner will then be on the shortlist for the final awards event. Another new category, the People’s Award, is being introduced for 2012 and this will be decided by a public vote.

The McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards 2012 comprise the following categories: Outstanding Contribution; Volunteer of the Year*; Young Volunteer of the Year; Coach of the Year*; Accredited Club of the Year*; Female Coach of the Year; Disability Football Coach of the Year; Community Relations Award; The People’s Award**.

*Regional awards presented in advance of final awards evening ** Award decided by public vote

The awards initiative is being backed by Pat Jennings through his position as McDonald’s Head of Northern Ireland Football.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards last year but, more importantly, I thought it provided a great opportunity to pay tribute to those people who do so much for grassroots football throughout Northern Ireland,” said Pat.

“The dedication and commitment of last year’s winners was truly an inspiration and it’s great that McDonald’s and the Irish FA will be building upon this success for the 2012 Awards.

“These Awards form a key part of McDonald’s Community Partnership with the Irish FA; a partnership that is celebrating ten years this year and is helping young footballers shine. The partnership is currently delivering a lasting legacy for grassroots football through ongoing coach creation and education, a new Club Accreditation Scheme, the McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards and through a series of regional Small Sided Games Centres.”

Nominations for regional award categories will close in June 2012, with nominations for the remaining categories closing at the start of September.