Boxing volunteers honoured in national awards

Boxing volunteers Michael Mongan (Galway), Johnny Carey (Mayo) and Michael Close (Antrim), will receive nationwide recognition for their dedicated work for the sport this week, as they have been awarded the Galway, Mayo and Antrim awards respectively at the virtual 2020 Federation of Irish Sport Volunteers in Sport awards, proudly supported by EBS Mortgage Masters.

Michael Mongan’s versatility means that over the years, he had held every role and duty in the Olympic Boxing Club in Galway. As a mentor, Michael frequently links with local Foroige and Tusla Youth Projects, Garda Diversion Projects, the Galway City Partnership, Youthreach, Dochas Don Oige, Community Training Centre and organizations, encouraging the participation and progression of members in education and into employment. Michael is also very experienced at helping individual members overcome personal issues and struggles by creating a safe space for all. Michael has a very positive impact on the promotion of a healthy active lifestyle throughout Galway City and County. He is a great ambassador for the sport of boxing and is always positive, resilient, open to change and new ideas. He makes achieving success his goal in life.

Johnny Carey of Mayo is one of the pillars of Geesala Boxing Club and he epitomizes all that is good about a community volunteer. Geesala Boxing Club wouldn’t be what it is today without the dedication, commitment and passion of Johnny. He has given over three decades of volunteering to the club and is involved today as much as he ever was. Johnny is loved by all because of his charisma and zest for boxing and life. He is a volunteer with a huge heart who gets respect from everyone because he gives respect to everyone he encounters. Johnny always makes himself available for training, tournaments, and meetings, even on the dark wet winter nights. Johnny is a man you’d want in your corner, in both boxing and life in general. He is caring, kind and compassionate – all the attributes of a fantastic volunteer.

Since re-starting Ledley Hall Boxing Club in Antrim five and a half years ago, Michael Close has given tirelessly of his time for the benefit of young people. As a volunteer, Michael is dedicating his time at least three nights per week and has driven young people to competitions the length and breadth of Ireland to ensure that they have the opportunity to compete. He has provided so many with opportunities for sport and has used boxing as an intervention to engage some of the most at risk and hard to reach young people, by showing them that they have value and a safe place to be. Michael sees the best in all of the club’s young people and works with them using sport to help them to reach their goals. Michael strives to improve himself as a coach to be the best that he can be so that young people have the best. Ledley Hall Boxing Club would not exist without Michael.

The Volunteers in Sport Awards were created to champion the contribution, commitment and dedication of the army of 450,000 volunteers across the country who go above and beyond by giving their time to Irish sport and physical activity each year.  These volunteers dedicate some 37.2 million hours of volunteering across the country’s 13,000+ sports clubs and associations every year. 

Towards the end of 2020, members of the public, as well as sports clubs and governing bodies were invited to nominate an individual whose contributions to sport has made a real difference to their community, club or county. The nominations and award recipients were selected by a judging panel consisting of 11 individuals drawn from sports administration, the volunteer community and media, including former Director General of the GAA, Paraic Duffy, RTÉ broadcaster, Marie Crowe and CEO of CARA, Niamh Daffy. 

Speaking about the awards, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, Mary O’Connor said: “Sport plays a central role in the social fabric of every community in Ireland, yet it would not happen at all without the army of volunteers who dedicate their time and expertise across pitches, courts, tracks, pools and community halls across the country. This year, more than ever before, we have seen just how essential the role of the volunteer is in our local communities and to this end, it will be an honour to be able to recognise so many of these volunteers at this week’s virtual Volunteers in Sport awards. I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to all of this year’s recipients, and also thank EBS for their amazing support in bringing the awards – and wider recognition – of volunteers in sport in Ireland to life. Thanks also to Minister Jack Chambers who will be taking the time out of his schedule to attend our virtual ceremonies this week and helping us to champion and celebrate the recipients.” 

Commenting on the awards, Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers, TD, said:“It is a real honour for me to help recognise so many fantastic volunteers in our community at this year’s virtual Volunteers in Sport Awards. I have always admired the hard work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes in sport and physical activity throughout the country, and it is a privilege for me be involved this week to help celebrate so many incredible individuals who give their time and dedication to ensuring that sport in Ireland runs smoothly 365 days of the year. Volunteers are often overlooked, but they are truly the backbone of sport in Ireland and these awards are a superb way to recognise and honour their amazing contribution to their communities. My thanks to the Federation of Irish Sport and EBS and everyone who will no doubt make these virtual ceremonies a memorable occasion for all.” 

Chief Executive Officer of EBS, Paul Butler, commented: “EBS is thrilled to partner with the Federation of Irish Sport once more this year to honour and champion so many of our everyday heroes around Ireland who are truly the backbone of Irish sport. EBS has been involved in communities in Ireland for over 80 years and we know that our biggest asset is the people who work with our customers throughout local communities in Ireland. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the recipients of the 2020 Volunteers in Sports Awards and thank them for all of the tireless work they do to ensure sport in Ireland continues to flourish.” 

The awards will be streamed live each evening from 7pm on the Federation of Irish Sport’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/federationofirishsport/ with the awards schedule listed below: 

  • Tuesday, January 12th: Leinster and Special Recognition Award 
  • Wednesday, January 13th: Munster, Connacht and Special Recognition Award 
  • Thursday, January 14th: Ulster and Outstanding Achievement Award  

For more information on the awards, visit http://www.volunteersinsport.ie/  

PHOTO CAPTIONS – BOXING:

GALWAY

JANUARY 11th, 2020: Dedicated to the Dedicated – Michael Mongan of Galway will be honoured this week at the virtual 2020 Federation of Irish Sport Awards proudly supported by EBS. The awards will be streamed live on Tuesday, January 12th, Wednesday, January 13th and Thursday, January 14th from 7pm each evening on the Federation of Irish Sport’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/federationofirishsport/

MAYO

JANUARY 11th, 2020: Dedicated to the Dedicated – Johnny Carey of Mayo pictured with her husband Sean, will be honoured with the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ this week at the virtual 2020 Federation of Irish Sport Awards proudly supported by EBS. The awards will be streamed live on Tuesday, January 12th, Wednesday, January 13th and Thursday, January 14th from 7pm each evening on the Federation of Irish Sport’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/federationofirishsport/

ANTRIM

JANUARY 11th, 2020: Dedicated to the Dedicated – Michael Close of Antrim will be honoured this week at the virtual 2020 Federation of Irish Sport Awards proudly supported by EBS. The awards will be streamed live on Tuesday, January 12th, Wednesday, January 13th and Thursday, January 14th from 7pm each evening on the Federation of Irish Sport’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/federationofirishsport/

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com