Record breaking McDonald’s IFA Grassroots Football Awards honour heroes of local game

Over 200 guests attended the annual McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards at Belfast City Hall with special guests in attendance including; Liverpool and England legend John Barnes, Northern Ireland International Manager Michael O’Neill and McDonald’s Football Ambassador and Spurs great, Pat Jennings.

The event once again delivered an exceptional platform to recognise and acknowledge the people who work at the heart of the game, with awards in nine categories, and worthy winners selected from right across Northern Ireland.

The event, now in its 18th year shines a light on the huge contribution of clubs, coaches and volunteers who play vital roles in maintaining and growing the great game locally. This year saw a record number of nominations across all categories, underlining the growth of the awards and passion for grassroots football.

The winners in full were:

Football Restaurant of the Year - McDonald's Boucher Road and Franchisee Paul Connan

 Football Mum of the Year - Paula Byrne

 Inclusive Project of the Year - (TAMHI) which was founded by Joe Donnelly

 Young Volunteer of the Year- Jordan Wray

 Special Recognition Award - Stuart Carson

Volunteer of the Year - John Honeyford

Accredited Club of the Year - St Malachy’s Old Boys Youth FC

Wes Gregg Coach of the Year - Danny Kelly

The People’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Grassroots Football - Brian Sloan

McDonald’s Football Ambassador, Pat Jennings congratulated all of the regional and national award winners:

“I’m incredibly proud to be involved in the McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football awards. I’ve been involved for many years now and the awards get bigger and better, year on year, with the 2019 showcase highlighting all that is good about the local game.

These awards are our way of saying thanks to the volunteers who make essential contributions of time and effort to the many grassroots clubs across Northern Ireland."

John Barnes talked about the wider impact of grassroots football on the night:

“Grassroots football isn’t about unearthing the stars of tomorrow, rather it’s about providing opportunities for children to enjoy playing sport and being healthy in a safe environment. The McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football awards are a vital part of ensuring the people who work in grassroots football are acknowledged.”

In addition to championing volunteers, McDonald’s has committed to providing over 5 million hours of fun football to 5-11 year olds and giving 500,000 children the chance to play football for the first time by 2022 through Fun Football Centres and other initiatives across the UK.

For further information on how to get involved in McDonald’s Fun Football initiative visit  www.mcdonalds.co.uk/funfootball