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Grassroots sides are urged to put unsung heroes up for awards



Big supporter: Pat Jennings is a McDonald’s Ambassador

Big supporter: Pat Jennings is a McDonald’s Ambassador

Philip Magowan

Big supporter: Pat Jennings is a McDonald’s Ambassador

Despite the lack of football at the moment, the Irish FA are looking for nominations for the 2020 McDonald's Grassroots Football Awards.

Football fans from across clubs in Northern Ireland are encouraged to log onto the Irish FA website and nominate an unsung hero of the local game who is making a difference in their community for this year's awards.

The awards honour those people at the heart of grassroots football and span nine categories, including: Mum of the Year, Young Volunteer of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Accredited Club, Wes Gregg Coach of the Year, the People's Award, Inclusive Project and the Special Recognition Award.

In previous years, the awards have taken to the road, visiting clubs with footballing heroes and McDonald's Ambassadors such as Pat Jennings and Martin Keown. However, because of the current restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, a virtual grassroots tour of Northern Ireland will be conducted, starting off in the Mid Ulster area.

Elaine Junk, the chair of Mid Ulster Ladies and the winner of the People's Award in 2018, has encouraged as many as possible to nominate their heroes.

"Most people who are involved with a club at grassroots level will tell you that football is part of their DNA and that is certainly the case for me," said Junk.

"The 2020 McDonald's Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards will provide an excellent opportunity for people to come together and celebrate the strength and resilience that our clubs have displayed throughout this time.

"Having had the privilege of receiving an award previously, I know how much it means to be recognised for the hard work that goes in to support a team.

"Now more than ever our sense of community has been accentuated and I would strongly recommend that all club members in Northern Ireland nominate their unsung heroes who allow the game to develop and thrive right across the country."

To submit a nomination for the 2020 McDonald's Grassroots Football Awards, visit the IFA website.

The awards received their highest number of nominations in 2019 and are part of McDonald's partnership with UK Football Associations, which aims to reach 500,000 children across the UK through football.

Belfast Telegraph