Your chance to vote in IFA Community Awards

NI star Gareth McAuley is calling on people to nominate their grassroots heroes ahead of the regional deadline

NI star Gareth McAuley is calling on people to nominate their grassroots heroes ahead of the regional deadline

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THE football season may be drawing to a close but the Irish FA and McDonald’s are calling on the Banbridge public to make sure they nominate their local grassroots football heroes for the McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards 2012, ahead of the regional awards deadline.

The McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards were launched last year to recognise and reward the clubs, coaches and volunteers that make outstanding contributions to grassroots football across Northern Ireland. This year McDonald’s and the Irish FA are hosting regional awards in three categories to reflect the grassroots work taking place in local communities.

Volunteer of the Year, Coach of the Year and Accredited Club of the Year will be judged on a regional basis and the winner of each will then be shortlisted for the overall awards. The deadline for nominations for the regional awards is 12th June and nominations can be made at www.irishfa.com/communityawards. Regional awards will then be presented in August, ahead of the overall awards in November.

Goalkeeping legend and McDonald’s Head of Northern Ireland Football Pat Jennings welcomed the new regional awards element for 2012:

“It was great to see the support and dedication people have for grassroots football getting the recognition it deserved last year and the regional awards will allow us to reward even more people this year,” he said.

“The more people we can give recognition to the better because these coaches, volunteers and clubs are really working wonders for grassroots football and for our society in general.

“The awards form a key part of McDonald’s Community Partnership with the Irish FA which is celebrating ten years this year and to be able to reward even more people can only benefit grassroots football through Northern Ireland.”

According to Desi Curry, Irish FA Technical Director, the regional awards will help celebrate the efforts of deserving candidates at a more local level.

“The introduction of a regional awards element is very welcome news for 2012. We have so many committed people doing great work for grassroots football right across Northern Ireland and we felt it was important to recognise as many people as possible.

“Our judging panel had very difficult decisions to make last year as the quantity and quality of nominations was outstanding. By introducing a regional element, we want to reward more of those who are helping drive grassroots football locally in their communities.”

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.

If you know a coach, volunteer or accredited club that is making outstanding contributions to grassroots football in the Banbridge area and deserves to be recognised then please nominate them before the deadline closes at www.irishfa.com/communityawards .