St Brenda’s club stalwart named Co Armagh recipient of Volunteers in Sport Awards – Armagh I

Sally Rafferty

A fixture of St Brenda Camogie Club in Ballymacnab will be honored for his contribution later this month at the 2023 Volunteers in Sport Awards.

Sally Rafferty is the Armagh recipient of the award, which recognizes the contributions of the group of volunteers across the country who give their time to Irish sport and physical activity each year.

Sally has been involved with Camogie for almost 50 years. Known for her work on and off the pitch, she inspires a whole generation of volunteers and players.

Sally is a longtime board member and has continued to coach at all levels of the club. She is strongly committed to ensuring that women get involved in sport and have equal opportunities in sport.

St. Brenda’s is the heart of the community and Sally has been instrumental in bringing this community together. In addition, she has helped secure key grants for the club to improve its facilities and equipment, as well as assisting with coaching classes and funding for mental health campaigns. Sally is an inspiration to many and has served the club a lifetime.

Secretary of State for Sport and Physical Education Thomas Byrne TD is the special guest speaker at the awards ceremony to be held next week on March 22nd at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown and hosted by sports broadcaster Gráinne McElwain.

The event honors volunteers from all 32 counties for their amazing dedication to volunteering in a variety of different sports. Guests also include key industry stakeholders. The overall Outstanding Achievement Award will be announced on that day.

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During 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 one individual whose contribution to sport and physical activity in Ireland has made a real difference their community, club or county. Following a pre-selection process by the selection committee, the jury consisted of nine people from sports administration, academia, the volunteer community and the media, including former GAA General Manager Paraic Duffy, RTÉ broadcaster Marie Crowe and Declan Jordan, Lecturer in Economics at UCC.

Commenting on the awards, Secretary of State for Sport and Physical Education Thomas Byrne TD said: “The volunteers being recognized today deserve tremendous recognition.

“Their work, often done invisibly and without much fuss or fanfare, is making the sport a reality for hundreds, if not thousands, of people in their communities. Above all, the work of volunteers enables young people to practice their favorite sport, meet their friends and form lasting friendships.

“Volunteers are in many ways the lifeblood of sport in this country and I feel privileged to have this opportunity to publicly recognize their important contribution to Irish sport.”

Speaking of the importance of the awards, Mary O’Connor, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, said: “In every county across the country, clubs and sports organizations are enabling intergenerational opportunities for people to participate in sport and physical activity.

“The work and goodwill of volunteers in sport across the country is not to 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 is time we recognized their hard work pay what she deserves.

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“It is therefore important that we showcase the size and scale of this contribution by bringing such volunteers together with participants from all counties across the country at the Volunteers in Sport Awards today to share the positive work they are doing for sport and physical activity to step into the limelight.”

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