EIMEAR DOONAN NAMED THE 2022 COUNTY LEITRIM RECIPIENT OF THE FEDERATION OF IRISH SPORT VOLUNTEERS IN SPORT AWARDS SUPPORTED BY THE NATIONAL NETWORK OF 29 LOCAL SPORTS PARTNERSHIPS
The awards ceremony will take place at The Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstownon 22nd March 2023
The Federation of Irish Sport has announced the winners of the 2023 Volunteers in Sport Awards proudly supported by the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships.
The County Leitrim award for 2022 has been awarded to Eimear Doonan of Fenagh GAA.
The Volunteers in Sport Awards celebrate the contributions of the band of volunteers across the country
who give their time to Irish sport and physical activity every year. Minister of State with responsibility for
Sport and Physical Education Thomas Byrne TD is the special guest speaker at the awards, which will take
place next week on March 22nd at The Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown and hosted by sports
broadcaster Gráinne McElwain. The event will see volunteers from all 32 counties honoured for their
amazing dedication to volunteering across a variety of different sports. Guests will also include key
stakeholders from the sector. The overall Outstanding Achievement Award will be revealed on the day.
The recipient of the award for Co. Leitrim is Eimear Doonan of Fenagh GAA, who has been volunteering
for more than 10 years. Throughout this period, Eimear has undertaken many different roles at the club.
As well as coaching several underage teams over the last decade, Eimear is now Assistant Secretary at
Fenagh GAA. However, it was through her role in starting up the Fenagh nursery where Eimear was able
to help the young members of the community to develop and learn while also having fun. Although not
living in the parish anymore and having no direct connection with the kids, Eimear was still a driving force
in the setting up of the nursery providing children an opportunity to exercise, interact and build
friendships with one another. Working with the children has given Eimear a real sense of belonging.
Throughout December and January members of the public, sports clubs and governing bodies were
invited by the Federation of Irish Sport in partnership with the National Network of 29 Local Sports
Partnerships to nominate an individual whose contribution to sport and physical activity in Ireland has
made a real difference to their community, club or county. Following a shortlisting process by the
Selection Committee, the judging panel consisting of 9 individuals drawn from sports administration,
academia, the volunteer community and media, and included former Director General of the GAA, Paraic
Duffy, RTÉ broadcaster, Marie Crowe and Declan Jordan, Senior Lecturer in Economics at UCC.
Commenting on the awards, Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne TD said:
“The volunteers being recognised today deserve enormous credit. Their work, often unseen and
undertaken without any fuss or fanfare, makes sport a reality for hundreds if not thousands of people in
their communities. In particular, the work of volunteers enables young people to play the sport that they
love, to meet their friends and form lasting friendships. In so many ways, volunteers are the lifeblood of
sport in this country and I am privileged to have this opportunity to publicly acknowledge their vital
contribution to Irish sport.”
Speaking about the importance of the awards, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, Mary O’Connor said:
“In every county throughout the country, clubs and sporting organisations facilitate multi-generational
opportunities for people to be involved in sport and physical activity. The work and goodwill of sport
volunteers across the country cannot be taken for granted... Every week in Ireland more than 450,000
volunteers bring sport and physical activity to life for our communities and it’s time we afford their hard
work the recognition it deserves. It is therefore important that we showcase the size and scale of this
contribution by bringing such volunteers together today at the Volunteers in Sport Awards with attendees
from every county in the country to shine a spotlight on the positive work they do for sport and physical
Head of Louth Sports Partnership, Graham Russell said:
”As the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships, we are each individually committed to
supporting volunteers in our local Clubs, sporting organisations and other non-sporting groups that assist
in making opportunities available within their own communities for people to enjoy all forms of physical
activity. We are privileged to see, first hand, the amazing work these people do, and we are all delighted
to see these local volunteers getting recognition at National level.”