Former GAA Director General Páraic Duffy and activist and journalist Joanne O’Riordan are to be two of the judges for the revived Volunteer in Sport Awards which will take place later this year.
They are among 12 individuals who have been appointed to the judging panel for the Awards, run by the Federation of Irish Sport and sponsored this year by EBS, which will be presented on November 12th.
Volunteers from all 32 counties will be recognised for their outstanding contributions to sport in their county. The Awards will also select a national ‘Team of Volunteers’ award and a ‘Lifetime’ award to honour a volunteer who has consistently given of their time for a sport, team or event over many years.
Duffy served as Director General of the GAA between 2008 and 2018. He also chaired a number of senior committees within the GAA, including the Coaching and Games Development Committee, and is a former selector for the Monaghan Senior County football team. Ahead of his stepping down from the Director General role in 2018 he did a keynote interview with Sport for Business at our Sporting Year Ahead event in the Marker Hotel.
Joanne O’Riordan hosts her own Podcast and works as a reporter and columnist with Cork’s RedFM and the Irish Times.
They are joined on the judging panel by Maura Farrell, NUIG Lecturer; Trevor Ringland, Former Rugby International; Keith Kelly, Jumpers for Goalposts; Benny Cullen, Sport Ireland; Shane O’Connor, Olympic Athletes Commission; Nina Arwitz, CEO Volunteer Ireland; Jimmy Deenihan, Minister of State for Diaspora Affairs; Des Fitzgerald, CEO EBS; Michelle Dwyer, EBS; and Mary Nolan Hickey, Volunteer Fundraiser for RNLI
Over 450,000 volunteers give their time to Irish sport each year. This equates to approximately 37.3 million hours of volunteering across Ireland’s 14,000 registered sports clubs and associations.
Members of the public are invited to nominate an individual whose contributions to sport has made a real difference to their community, club or county. Nominations can be made by individuals, clubs or sports associations via an online application form at www.volunteerinsport.ie.
The deadline for applications is Friday, 27 September, 2019, the same day as the Sport for Business Partners Event at the Sport Ireland Campus.
The awards were originally founded in 2007 to recognise coaches, managers, officials and administrators who give their time to grow and develop amateur sports. This year sees them return for the first time since 2014.
Previous winners of the Lifetime Award include, Liam Sheedy, former player and current Tipperary All Ireland Champion Hurling Manager, Darren O’Neill, youth coach and Olympic Boxer and Peggy Mason who has been a Special Olympics Volunteer since 1985.
“We are delighted to confirm our judging panel for the 2019 Volunteer in Sport Awards.,” said Mary O’Connor, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport.
“Our judges are drawn from a diverse breadth of backgrounds including sports administration, the not-for-profit sector, and former elite athletes, amongst others.”
“Their different backgrounds and expertise are a perfect reflection of the very diverse make-up of our sporting community and the many roles it fulfils in Irish society. All have witnessed the critical role played by volunteers in enabling Irish grassroots sport to take place each week and can speak to the many benefits they bring to communities up and down the country.”
“The deadline for nominations is fast approaching so we would call on individuals, clubs and sports associations to submit their nominations via the Volunteerinsport.ie website by Friday, 27 September.”
“I am pleased to be involved in this special event that is the 2019 Volunteer in Sport Awards,” added Duffy.
“I have been involved in volunteer sports organisations all my life and have seen first-hand how indispensable these volunteers are to their communities.”
“The Awards give us the opportunity to celebrate their contributions and highlight the integral role they play in sport and wider society.”
Image Credits: Federation of Irish Sport