Legends celebrate Northern Irish grassroots heroes

Football stars pay tribute to unsung heroes at the Irish FA Community Awards

The stars of local grassroots football have been honoured by the Irish FA and a whole host of football legends at the McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards 2012.

Pat Jennings, Sir Geoff Hurst, Ian Rush and Eric Harrison were present at last week's special gala evening at Belfast City Hall to celebrate the local clubs, coaches and volunteers that make outstanding contributions to grassroots football and to local communities throughout Northern Ireland.

Among the nine category winners recognised was Tristar FC's Jon Clifford, who posthumously received the prestigious Outstanding Contribution award for his work at the Derry club, whose website is powered by Club Website.

Having formed Tristar in 1974, Jon oversaw the development of the club to become one of the most highly respected youth football clubs in Northern Ireland.

The award adds to the many tributes posted on the Tristar website to mark the first anniversary of his passing in September 2011.

Jon's nephew Frank Fleming, who collected the award, said: "It was an absolute honour to come here and receive this award on behalf of Jon. It’s sad that he’s no longer here but to have so many people recognise him this evening makes me very proud."

Garry Matthewson from Tristar added: "It’s a huge night for Jon, for his family and the club; his contribution to grassroots football in Derry and beyond was immense."

This was the second annual Irish FA Community awards, run in conjunction with McDonald's, the Official Community Partner of the Irish FA since 2002.

Attending the event in his position as McDonald’s Head of Northern Ireland Football was one of Northern Ireland's biggest football heroes, goalkeeping great Pat Jennings.

“I’m delighted that once again the Irish FA and McDonald’s have recognised and rewarded the local people who do so much for grassroots football throughout Northern Ireland," said Jennings.

"The dedication, commitment and passion shown by the nominees and winners was truly inspirational; they provide the opportunity for young people to play the game in a fun, safe and controlled environment and it is only fitting that at McDonald’s we recognise their outstanding efforts."


Irish FA Community Award winners

Outstanding Contribution: Jon Clifford, Tristar FC (posthumous)

Young Volunteer of the Year: Gareth Connor, Institute FC

Volunteer of the Year: Andy Alcorn, Coleraine FC

Coach of the Year: John Quinn, Ballinamallard FC

Accredited Club of the Year: Ballymoor FC

Female Coach of the Year: Helen Majury, Ballinahinch Youth FC

Disability Football Coach of the Year: George Moffett, Clanrye ETS

Community Relations Award: Christopher Moffett, NI Community of Refugees & Asylum Seekers

The People’s Award: Jackie Mooney, Camlough Rovers FC

To find out more about each of the winners go to mcdonalds.co.uk/awards.

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