Gerry ‘Doc’ wins ‘People’s Award’ at McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards

Foyle Harps legend Gerry ‘Doc’ Doherty was recognised with the ‘Football for All’ award at the recent McDonald’s Irish FA Grassroots Football Awards for 2020, held at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.

The ‘People’s Award’ recognises the sustained outstanding contribution made by an individual to football in their local community and beyond.

Described as the ‘Godfather’ of grassroots football in Derry, Gerry - who this year celebrated his 80th birthday - has dedicated decades of loyal service to Foyle Harps, having been involved with the club’s senior team before establishing its youth offering in 1984.

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He said it felt “great” to have won the award: “It isn’t only for me; it’s for all the volunteers in the club who give up so much of their time, often two and three nights a week, and without a halfpenny,” Gerry said. “But that’s grassroots football for you. Any award I get, it’s for all these boys too.”

Highlighting the importance of local grassroots football, Gerry continued: “If there was no grassroots football, there would be no steppingstones for the youngsters to progress.

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“We have young people from all parts of Derry and from all different walks of life, all running about and playing together. They’ll make friends and stay friends for a lifetime, and that’s the beauty of grassroots football - it isn’t all about being the best team, it’s about making friends, staying friends and keeping a wee eye out for one another.”

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McDonald’s Fun Football ambassador Pat Jennings said the Awards provide an important opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work that takes place at all levels of the grassroots game in Northern Ireland.

He said: “Congratulations to Gerry for his very well deserved award, and indeed to all our regional and national award nominees and the winners, who all work tirelessly in the background at their clubs to keep the local grassroots game alive.

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“Each year when the Awards come around, I am humbled and inspired by the dedication, passion and enthusiasm of our grassroots volunteers and by the tremendous impact they have on the lives of children and young people right across Northern Ireland.”