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Congratulations to Michael Cox of Park Rangers AFC!

Published: March 14, 2023


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

The Federation of Irish Sport have announced the winners of the 2023 Volunteers in Sport Awards proudly supported by the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships. The County Waterford award for 2022 has been awarded to Michael Cox of Park Rangers AFC.

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 winner of the award for Co. Waterford is Michael Cox of Park Rangers AFC, who has been instrumental in the development of the club over the last decade. When Michael took over the club had 8 teams, 8 coaches and a main pitch on a steep hill. Today there are over 30 teams, 63 coaches, two new pitches and a state of the art all weather pitch. There are also now more than 450 members in comparison to 150 back in 2013 highlighting the progress that has been made by the club. Michael has continued to push for improvements in the area of inclusivity by starting up the ‘Football for All’ programme designed for children with additional needs and also the development of the ‘Female Focus Campaign’ which was set up to attract girls to play soccer. The club now has a 34% participation rate for females which is way above the national average.

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.”


County First Surname Sport Club
Antrim Katie Speers Rugby Ballymoney RFC
Armagh Sally Rafferty Camogie St Brenda’s Camogie Club
Carlow John Jacob Martial Arts Carlow Muay Thai
Cavan Breda Galligan Camogie Castletara Camogie Club
Clare Paul McGibney Basketball Kilrush Basketball Club
Cork Collette Riordan Athletics West Muskerry AC
Derry  Micky Fleming Boxing Churchlands Golden gloves
Donegal Martin Shankey Smith GAA Naomh Conall GAA
Down Mickey Redmond GAA Saval GAC
Dublin City Joe Davitt GAA Ranelagh Gaels
Dublin – Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Clara Clark Cycling Cycling without Age
Dublin Fingal Ciara McCluskey Running Dublin Sanctuary Runners
Dublin – South Dublin Co. Council   Tony Hickey Swim Fortunestown Swim Club
Fermanagh Chloe Hamilton Paddlesports Erne Paddlers
Galway Catherine Moore Hockey Greenfields Hockey Club
Kerry Jean Courtney Athletics Killarney Valley AC
Kildare Eddie Hennessey Soccer Clonmullion FC
Kilkenny Carmel O’Neill Boxing Paulstown Boxing Club
Laois Marie Thompson Hockey Abbeyleix Hockey Club
Leitrim Eimear Doonan GAA Fenagh GAA
Limerick Joe Chawke Athletics Dooneen AC
Longford Grzegorz Wiechec Volleyball Longford Smashers Volleyball Club
Louth Olivia Wall GAA Roche Emmets GFC
Mayo Deirdre Maloney Reid GAA Moy Davitts GAA Club
Meath Deborah Kelly-Long Basketball East Coast Cavaliers
Monaghan Christina Weldon GAA  Latton O’Rahilly GAA Club
Offaly Paul Buckley Athletics Ferbane AC.
Roscommon Frank Grehan GAA  St. Aidans GAA Club
Sligo Kay Curley Tennis Sligo Tennis Club
Tipperary Niall O’Sullivan Athletics Clonmel Athletic Club
Tyrone Martin Cassidy Soccer Omagh Futsal Club
Waterford Michael Cox Soccer Park Rangers AFC
Westmeath Déirdre Orme GAA Crookedwood GAA
Wexford Denis Cadogan GAA and Handball Horeswood GAA & Handball Club
Wicklow Aislinn Nugent LGFA Valleymount LGFA



Article Modified: March 14, 2023 8:21 am

Waterford Sports Partnership

Waterford Sports Partnership (WSP) was established in 2002 by Sport Ireland (formerly the Irish Sports Council) as part of the Local Sports Partnership initiative with the aim of increasing participation in sport and physical activity in County Waterford.

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