Football clubs, coaches and volunteers from Derry featured prominently at the recent McDonald’s IFA Community Awards, with three category winners coming from the city.
Football legends Pat Jennings, Sir Geoff Hurst, Ian Rush and Eric Harrison joined McDonald’s and the Irish FA in celebrating those that make outstanding contributions to grassroots football and to local communities throughout N. Ireland.
Gareth Connor began proceedings by collecting the ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’ award for his work with Institute Football Club and his volunteering at the Foyle Games Development Centre.
Ballymoor FC were then named the McDonald’s Irish FA Accredited ‘Club of the Year’, having grown from one team in 2003 to now boasting nine teams from all over the city.
Finally the “Outstanding Contribution Award” went posthumously to Jon Clifford from Tristar FC who passed away after almost four decades of service to his beloved local club.
Frank Fleming, Tristar representative and nephew of Jon, said he was honoured to accept the award on behalf of his uncle.
“It is an absolute honour to come here and receive this award on behalf of John. It’s sad that he’s no longer here but to have so many people recognise him this evening makes me feel very proud.”
Gary 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.”
IFA Roll of Honour
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, Northern Ireland Community of Refugees & Asylum Seekers; The People’s Award – Jackie Mooney (Camlough Rovers FC).