Paul Buckley named 2022 Offaly recipient of the Federation of Irish Sport "Volunteers in Sport Awards"

 13 Mar 2023

The Federation of Irish Sport has today announced the winners of the 2023 Volunteers in Sport Awards proudly supported by the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships.  The County Offaly award for 2022 has been awarded to Paul Buckley of Ferbane AC.

The awards ceremony will take place at The Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown 
on 22nd March 2023 

The Volunteers in Sport Awards celebrate the contributions of the band of volunteers across the country who give their time to Irish sport and physical activity every year. Minister of State with responsibility for Sport and Physical Education Thomas Byrne TD is the special guest speaker at the awards, which will take place next week on March 22nd at The Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown and hosted by sports broadcaster Gráinne McElwain. The event will see volunteers from all 32 counties honoured for their amazing dedication to volunteering across a variety of different sports. Guests will also include key stakeholders from the sector. The overall Outstanding Achievement Award will be revealed on the day.  

The recipient of the award for Co. Offaly is Paul Buckley of Ferbane AC, who has been involved in Athletics for over 40 years. Paul has been volunteering at Ferbane AC for well over a decade and is always there to lend a helping hand. Paul has been a vital part of the club through both the good times and the bad, holding many roles over the years. Paul is a member of the Club Committee, while he currently manages the juvenile wing and serves as Club Captain. Paul assists the members in whatever way possible and uses his huge experience to organise events and competitions for the club. The success of Ferbane at both Juvenile and Senior level is in no small way due to Paul’s dedication and determination. Paul is a fantastic example for members of the club both young and old.

Throughout December and January members of the public, sports clubs and governing bodies were invited by the Federation of Irish Sport in partnership with the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships to nominate an individual whose contribution to sport and physical activity in Ireland has made a real difference to their community, club or county. Following a shortlisting process by the Selection Committee, the judging panel consisting of 9 individuals drawn from sports administration, academia, the volunteer community and media, and included former Director General of the GAA, Paraic Duffy, RTÉ broadcaster, Marie Crowe and Declan Jordan, Senior Lecturer in Economics at UCC. 

Commenting on the awards, Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne TD said:

The volunteers being recognised today deserve enormous credit. Their work, often unseen and undertaken without any fuss or fanfare, makes sport a reality for hundreds if not thousands of people in their communities. In particular, the work of volunteers enables young people to play the sport that they love, to meet their friends and form lasting friendships. In so many ways, volunteers are the lifeblood of sport in this country and I am privileged to have this opportunity to publicly acknowledge their vital contribution to Irish sport.

Speaking about the importance of the awards, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, Mary O’Connor said:

In every county throughout the country, clubs and sporting organisations facilitate multi-generational opportunities for people to be involved in sport and physical activity. The work and goodwill of sport volunteers across the country cannot be taken for granted... Every week in Ireland more than 450,000 volunteers bring sport and physical activity to life for our communities and it’s time we afford their hard work the recognition it deserves. It is therefore important that we showcase the size and scale of this contribution by bringing such volunteers together today at the Volunteers in Sport Awards with attendees from every county in the country to shine a spotlight on the positive work they do for sport and physical activity.”

CEO Sport Ireland, Dr. Una May commented:

I would like to congratulate all the winners at the Volunteers in Sport Awards. Sport Ireland and its network of Local Sports Partnerships are delighted to recognise the invaluable contribution of volunteers to the promotion of sport and physical activity in Ireland. The LSPs collaborate with and depend on the remarkable dedication of volunteers to create opportunities for all members of the community to participate in sport and physical activity. This ensures a culture where sport and physical activity is inclusive and accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or abilities. We are grateful for the inspiring efforts of the volunteers being celebrated today, and all volunteers across the country, who help us achieve this.”

Head of Louth Sports Partnership, Graham Russell said:

As the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships, we are each individually committed to supporting volunteers in our local Clubs, sporting organisations and other non-sporting groups that assist in making opportunities available within their own communities for people to enjoy all forms of physical activity. We are privileged to see, first hand, the amazing work these people do, and we are all delighted to see these local volunteers getting recognition at National level.

For more information contact:

Clare Louise O’Donoghue, Federation of Irish Sport Commercial & Business Services Manager on 086 0437887 or by email