Year’s Sports Volunteer is Mountrath’s Jackie Byrne

Year’s Sports Volunteer is Mountrath’s Jackie Byrne



 The Federation of Irish Sport today announced the County recipients of the 2023 Volunteers in Sport Awards proudly supported by the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships. The County Laois award for 2023 has been awarded to Jackie Byrne of Mountrath St Fintan’s GAA club.

Recognising the depth and breadth of volunteering in sporting communities nationwide, these dedicated volunteers will be celebrated at a national awards ceremony in Dublin on Thursday 29th February 2024. The invited special guest speaker is Minister Thomas Byrne, Minster of State with responsibility for Sport and Physical Education, which is testament to the commitment at government level to supporting and recognising the vital role of volunteers in advancing sports participation and community development.

The winner of the award for Co. Laois is Jackie Byrne of Mountrath St. Fintan’s GAA club. Jackie first joined the club over 70 years ago. He lived in the UK for 12 and a half years before returning to Mountrath and the club in 1971. Serving as a player, committee member and groundsman, Jackie has embodied the best of Gaelic games values and his contribution as a volunteer has been phenomenal. Jackie is an inspirational and valued member of Mountrath St. Fintan’s GAA club, and as a person is humble, kind and friendly and never seen without a smile on his face.

A well-deserved accolade for a club legend.

The economic significance of volunteering in sport cannot be overstated, it has an estimated value of €1.5 billion annually to the Irish economy. This figure underscores the immense social and economic benefits derived from the invaluable contributions of volunteers across the Irish sporting landscape.

In addition to the county award winners being recognised at the ceremony, anticipation will be high as one exceptional individual will be awarded with the overall Outstanding Volunteer Award.

Federation CEO Mary O’Connor commented; “We are looking forward to celebrating the exceptional contributions made by volunteers in sport from all over the country. Working behind the scenes volunteers play a crucial role in fostering community engagement, promoting physical activity, and driving the success of sporting events nationwide, they are truly #DedicatedToTheDedicated. The awards promise to be yet again another remarkable event acknowledging the time and passion of those involved in sport locally and to say, ‘thank you’ for their dedication.”

Jackie back in his playing days.

Commenting on the announcement of the list of recipients, Head of Sport, Louth LSP, Louth County Council and member of the judging panel Graham Russell stated“The 2023 Volunteers in Sport Awards serve as a reminder of the power of volunteering in sport, celebrating individuals whose unwavering dedication enriches lives, strengthens communities, and encourages a culture of active living.”