Ruth Mcdonagh of Bray Hockey Club named Wicklow Volunteer of the Year

Ruth McDonagh from Bray Hockey Club has been named Wicklow Volunteer of the Year at the Federation of Irish Sport Awards.

The Federation of Irish Sport recognised recipients of the 2023 Volunteers in Sports Awards, celebrating their dedication and giving freely of their time locally to make sport happen.

Supported by the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships the committed volunteers from all across the country were honoured at an awards ceremony with special guest speaker Minister Thomas Byrne, Minster of State with responsibility for Sport and Physical Education presenting the 32 county awards.

Over two decades Ruth McDonagh, of Bray Hockey Club, has consistently stepped up and has volunteered as team captain, social secretary, registrations secretary, coach, umpire, PRO and Vice President.

Ruth played a major part in establishing Bray Hockeys HockeyID team, the Brayvers, which introduced hockey to local people with an intellectual disability from six years of age. This group are now well into their second year and have a full list of fixtures and are full members of Bray Hockey club.

She also spearheaded the senior ladies participation in the Leinster Indoor hockey league. Ruth is truly dedicated to the game and has also volunteered at provincial and national level.

Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Aoife Flynn Kennedy, congratulated Ruth on her award saying:  ‘”It was fantastic to see such volunteerism recognised on a national stage. Sports clubs and community groups across the county rely on their volunteer base to operate and it is important we celebrate the time and effort these volunteers give up for the good of everyone.’

Emer O’Gorman, Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, commended Ruth on her award and highlighted the ‘meaningful and positive impact sport has on our physical and mental health, none of this would be possible without the volunteers at grassroots level.’

Aisling Hubbard, Coordinator of Wicklow Sport Partnership, recognised the difficulty that has been faced by sports clubs to maintain volunteers, especially coming out of the COVID 19 pandemic.  She highlighted the supports that are in place through the Sports Partnership, such as training and education supports and the club grants scheme that is currently open.

Aisling also thanked Ruth, and all the other volunteers throughout the county for their hours of dedication to their sport and community.

Feature Photo:  Denise O’Shea, Wicklow Sports Partnership; Aisling Hubbard, Coordinator, Wicklow Sports Partnership; Ruth McDonagh, Bray Hockey;  Anne McCormack, CEO, Hockey Ireland and Trevor Watkins, Chairperson, Hockey Ireland

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