Marie Clancy.

Award for camogie stalwart

Can we get a round of applause for Cork’s Marie Clancy?

She is to receive nationwide recognition for her years of dedicated volunteer work with St Catherine’s Camogie Club at next week’s virtual Federation of Irish Sport Volunteers in Sport Awards ceremony. Marie Clancy is without doubt the driving force of St Catherine’s Camogie Club. Having first got involved in the club as a player at underage level, Marie joined the committee as a 14 year old. Various chairpersons, secretaries, and team managers have come and gone over the years, but Marie has never stepped back or taken a break from her busy roles.

She has filled many important roles over the years and has dedicated her time tirelessly to helping the club run. Now the club’s President, she is seen as a great sounding board by many in the club and is always on hand to help out and encourage everyone. The Volunteers in Sport Awards, supported by EBS, celebrate the contributions of the band of volunteers across the country who give their time to Irish sport and physical activity every year. This equates to approximately 37.3 million hours of volunteering across Ireland’s 13,000 registered sports clubs and associations and, according to Sport Ireland's 2021 'Researching the Value of Sport in Ireland' report, is worth an estimated €1.5bn to the exchequer. Throughout September and October members of the public, sports clubs and governing bodies were invited to nominate an individual whose contribution to sport and physical activity in Ireland has made a real difference to their community, club or county.

The nominations and award recipients were selected by a judging panel consisting of 12 individuals drawn from sports administration, the volunteer community and media, and included former director general of the GAA Paraic Duffy, RTÉ broadcaster Marie Crowe and CEO of Gaisce Yvonne McKenna. Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers said: “It is an honour for me to support this year’s Volunteers in Sport Awards and help recognise so many fantastic volunteers in our community. “These awards have a special place in the sporting calendar as they recognise those who have given an incredible amount of time throughout the year who have ensured that sport can takes place in our communities, and they do so without the expectation of gratitude or reward.” He added: “The amount of hard work and dedication that these volunteers give to sport in Ireland is quite truly astonishing and I am privileged to support both the volunteers and these awards. I would also like to thank the Federation of Irish Sport and EBS, and all who will help make these virtual ceremonies a memorable occasion for all.” Speaking about the awards, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, Mary O’Connor said: “Despite another very challenging year for sport, we have once again seen how important volunteering has been to communities across Ireland. We have an enormous amount of gratitude for the army of volunteers who have ensured that sport could take place in a safe and controlled manner.

“Whether it be on pitches, courts, tracks, pools or even community halls across the country, the volunteers are always there to make sure sport and physical activity continues to take place around Ireland. It gives me immense pride to be able to recognise so many of these volunteers at next week’s virtual Volunteers in Sport Awards and I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to all of this year’s recipients.”

Mary added: “I would like to also thank EBS for their continued support in bringing wider recognition of volunteers in sport in Ireland to life. I would also like to express my gratitude to Minister Jack Chambers who will be taking the time out of his schedule to attend our virtual ceremonies next week and helping us to champion and celebrate the recipients.” The awards will be streamed live each evening from 7pm on the Federation of Irish Sport’s Facebook page over three days. Tuesday 7 December will see the Leinster and Special Recognition Award live streamed with the Munster, Connacht and Special Recognition Award on Wednesday 8 December. The Ulster and Outstanding Achievement Award will be on Thursday 9 December.