An IFA and Ulster GAA sports programme has been crowned UK Coaching Intervention of the Year at the prestigious UK Coaching Awards in Glasgow.
The Curriculum Sports Programme was nominated for the awards by Sport Northern Ireland after it was named Coaching Project of the Year at the Sport Northern Ireland Coaching Awards in September.
The Northern Ireland programme fought off stiff competition from sportscotland’s Class of 2014 initiative and the Youth Sport Trust’s National Young Coach Academy to claim the Coaching Intervention gong at a glittering evening in the City Chambers.
The programme, which is an innovative approach to coaching by the Irish Football Association and Ulster Gaelic Athletic Association, engages more than 600 primary schools across Northern Ireland’s five education sectors. It also delivers physical literacy development opportunities to more than 30,000 young children each year.
The local success continued with Michael Bannon, the man that helped Rory McIlroy back to number one in the world and John Conlan, Head Coach to the successful Team NI boxers, were rewarded with a top five finish in the High Performance Coach of the Year category.
Sion Mills football coach Danny Gallagher, winner of both the North West and Sport Northern Ireland Community Coach of the Year awards, was recognised as a finalist in the Gilette Community Coach of the Year category.
Tony McAllister, Head Coach of the British Disabled Ski Team was awarded the Mussabini medal for outstanding performances at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, including the Gold medal won by Sport Northern Ireland Sporting Ambassador Kelly Gallagher.
Congratulating everyone involved, Sport Northern Ireland’s Chief Executive, Antoinette McKeown said: “This has been an incredible year for sport and I am delighted to see the outstanding work of the IFA and Ulster GAA curriculum coaches recognised at the very highest level. I congratulate everyone that contributed to the programme!”
Antoinette added: “Michael and John’s athletes have ensured sport in Northern Ireland is recognised on the World Stage and it is wonderful to see them recognised for the incredible impact they have made as coaches. Danny’s influence and exceptional contribution in the North West is a shining example of everything that is good about local community sport. It is great to see his passion and commitment have been recognised at local, regional and national level.”