The McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards for 2022 were unveiled before of Saturday’s UEFA Nations League game versus Kosovo at the National Football Stadium in Windsor Park.
The event was hosted by Claire McCollum, a well-known sports journalist and broadcaster, and featured a slew of high-profile ambassadors, including World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst, Northern Ireland great Pat Jennings, and Julie Nelson, the first Northern Ireland senior women’s team player to win 100 caps.
The annual McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards, now in their 22nd year in Northern Ireland, recognise the incredible work and passion of football clubs and volunteers who devote their time and create a long-lasting influence on young people and communities across Northern Ireland.
Almost 600 entries were received from Northern Ireland across eight award categories, including Football Restaurant of the Year, Football for All Award, Futsal Award, Young Volunteer of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Wes Gregg Coach of the Year, Club of the Year, and the People’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Grassroots Football.
McDonald’s Lurgan – Football Restaurant of the Year
St Malachy’s Old Boys Youth (Belfast) – Football for All Award
Omagh Futsal Club – Futsal Award
Charlie Rush (Castle Juniors, Bangor) – Young Volunteer of the Year
Malcolm Hanna (Dromara Village, Co Down) – Volunteer of the Year
Chris Finlay (Ballymacash Rangers, Lisburn) – Wes Gregg Coach of the Year
Lisburn Rangers Ladies – Club of the Year
Gerry Doherty (Foyle Harps, Derry/Londonderry) – People’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Grassroots Football
Irish FA President Conrad Kirkwood congratulated the winners and said he was thrilled to welcome them to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. It was the first time the awards ceremony had been held at the home of Northern Ireland football.
He pointed out: “Our mission at the Irish FA is to promote, foster and develop football for all in Northern Ireland, and the work that these volunteers do year in, year out is nothing short of incredible.
“It is right that we recognise their achievements and champion them and their football clubs who are the beating heart of the sport here in Northern Ireland.”