McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots awards for Glenarm and Newtownabbey clubs

Two football clubs with east Antrim links have been honoured for the important role they play in the community.
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Glens United, in Glenarm, was crowned Junior Club of the Year at the McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards.

This award recognises clubs which have demonstrated an inclusive, fun and developmental approach to small-sided games football. Recipients showcase a positive football culture and environment for children, establish school, community and social partnerships and demonstrate Irish FA good practices and governance.

Meanwhile, Jim McCracken, a grassroots volunteer from Antrim and Newtownabbey Disability FC, received the Football for All Award at the ceremony which took place recently at Belfast City Hall.

Presenter Claire McCollum, Gary Montgomery, Glens United and former Arsenal star Martin Keown at the awards ceremony. Photo by: Press EyePresenter Claire McCollum, Gary Montgomery, Glens United and former Arsenal star Martin Keown at the awards ceremony. Photo by: Press Eye
Presenter Claire McCollum, Gary Montgomery, Glens United and former Arsenal star Martin Keown at the awards ceremony. Photo by: Press Eye

This award is presented to someone who may have started a new girls’ and women’s team, developed a disability programme or used football as a power for good in their community through the introduction of mental health or cross community programmes.

The event recognises the 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.

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown and Northern Ireland legend Pat Jennings, both McDonald’s Fun Football Ambassadors, were amongst the star-studded line-up of guests at the event.

Martin commented: “The annual Grassroots Awards give us a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the local grassroots heroes who truly are the beating heart of the beautiful game we all love. Without them, grassroots football wouldn’t be the same and our children wouldn’t have a sporting environment in which to thrive and flourish.

Jim McCracken receives his award from presenter Claire McCollum (left), and Northern Ireland international Julie Nelson. Photo by: Press EyeJim McCracken receives his award from presenter Claire McCollum (left), and Northern Ireland international Julie Nelson. Photo by: Press Eye
Jim McCracken receives his award from presenter Claire McCollum (left), and Northern Ireland international Julie Nelson. Photo by: Press Eye
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"It’s important that we acknowledge their significant contribution at events such as these. Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees.”

Long-term Fun Football Ambassador Pat Jennings also piled praise on the award winners and nominees and said that without grassroots volunteers none of this would be possible.

He added: “On a more local level, I have also seen the crucial support that the McDonald’s Franchisees from across Northern Ireland have provided to local grassroots football clubs, be that kits or essential football equipment, or even by hosting community events. It’s very encouraging to see, and long may it continue.”