When it comes to doing his bit for his local community, Naomh Conaill GAA clubman Martin Shankey Smith is rarely found wanting.
So the news that Martin has been selected as the Donegal winner in the 2023 Volunteers in Sport Awards is wonderful recognition for a man who gives so much of his time for others.
The Federation of Irish Sport has announced the winners of the Volunteers in Sport Awards proudly supported by the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships.
Martin has been volunteering at Naomh Conaill GAA club since he moved to the area over 20 years ago.
From the outset, Martin helped the club in whatever way he could and he had lots of success bringing players through the age grades all the way up to minor level and on to senior.
However, it was in his role as chairperson that he was able to make a huge difference across the board. Martin wanted to create a fully inclusive club and he did this by starting up many different initiatives at the club helping to bring the community together. These included the support of the LGTQI+ community, looking after the youth in the run up to the leaving cert and also a fun-day to raise money for the people of Ukraine. The impact of Martin’s work is there for all to see.
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.