Collette O’Riordan receives top Volunteer in Sport Award for work in athletics

West Muskerry club woman helps young athletes of all abilities to enjoy the sport
Collette O’Riordan receives top Volunteer in Sport Award for work in athletics

Collette O'Riordan, secretary and one of the organisers of the West Muskerrry AC new Macroom bypass road race. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

WEST Muskerry stalwart Collette O’Riordan was selected for a prestigious Volunteer in Sport Award by the Federation of Irish Sport.

She was picked as the Cork recipient for her role at the heart of West Muskerry Athletics Club for over two decades.

Collette’s commitment is second to none and for training often she is the first one to arrive and the last to leave. Training is sometimes five nights a week, she attends all of them and encourages athletes of all abilities.

On Fridays, Collette trains the Special Olympics athletes at the club while in July every year, she takes annual leave from her own job to run a full summer camp for the kids. Collette travels the length and breadth of the country to support all of the athletes from the club.

In 2018, West Muskerry AC purchased its own training grounds for the first time, thanks to the fundraising done by Collette and a group of volunteers. Last year, a hall was built thanks to the constant work done by Collette, giving the club a real sense of identity.

Olga Cronin and Collette O'Riordan (right) battling in the 2003 Evening Echo Ladies Mini Marathon. Picture: Brian Lougheed
Olga Cronin and Collette O'Riordan (right) battling in the 2003 Evening Echo Ladies Mini Marathon. Picture: Brian Lougheed

Speaking about the importance of the awards, Federation of Irish Sport CEO and dual Cork legend 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.”

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. The event last month saw volunteers from all 32 counties honoured for their amazing dedication to volunteering across a variety of sports.

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.

The judging panel consisted of nine individuals drawn from sports administration, academia, the volunteer community, and media and included former GAA director general Páraic Duffy, RTÉ broadcaster Marie Crowe, and UCC senior lecturer in economics Declan Jordan.

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