Local clubs for the win

Lisburn district football clubs among regional winners of the McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards.

Three local football clubs in the Lisburn district have been announced as regional winners of the McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards for 2022.

Almost 600 entries were received from across Northern Ireland, with regional winner titles awarded in three different categories: ‘Wes Gregg Coach of the Year’; ‘Volunteer of the Year’; and ‘Club of the Year’.

Lisburn Rangers Ladies has been named as a regional Club of the Year, Chris Finlay (Ballymacash Rangers) is a regional winner in the Wes Gregg Coach of the Year category and Malcolm Hanna (Dromara Village) is a regional recipient of the Volunteer of the Year award.

Pat Jennings and Roy Carroll pictured recently at the McDonald’s Fun Football Festival

The official awards ceremony is due to take place in The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park on 24 September prior to Northern Ireland’s UEFA Nations League game against Kosovo.

The annual McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards, which celebrate 22 years in Northern Ireland this year, recognise the unbelievable work and commitment of football clubs and volunteers who give up their time and make a long-lasting impact on young people and communities across Northern Ireland.

McDonald’s Fun Football Ambassador Pat Jennings said: “Without grassroots football volunteers none of this could happen.

“Through the years I have witnessed first-hand the significant impact that McDonald’s Fun Football has had, and continues to have, on the lives of young people in Northern Ireland. It was fantastic to see McDonald’s recently celebrating the launch of its new Fun Football programme, which will provide over one million kids from across the UK with the opportunity to enjoy free football coaching.”

Former Premier League and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll also praised the many volunteers who give up their time year-on-year to help deliver grassroots football across Northern Ireland.

“I think it is really important that the volunteers at our local clubs, who are the champions of grassroots football in Northern Ireland, are recognised at these awards. The McDonald’s Fun Football programme makes football accessible for children of all genders, abilities and backgrounds, and plays a key role in promoting the positive impact sport and exercise can have on people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing,” he added.

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Recently, McDonald’s celebrated the launch of its new Fun Football programme which will provide over one million 5–11-year-olds with the opportunity to enjoy free football coaching across the UK. The new programme will deliver over 10.5 million hours of Fun Football over the course of the next four years making it the largest grassroots participation programme in the UK.