Augher clubman Mulrine named Young Volunteer of the Year
Irish News Club and Volunteer Awards
NIALL Mulrine, from Augher St McCartan’s in Tyrone, was named Young Volunteer of the Year at last week’s Irish News Club Awards.
Twenty-five year-old Niall says he was inspired to become involved in the club by the example of the people who helped him progress from the underage ranks to senior level and nowadays he combines playing on the pitch with tireless work behind the scenes to “drive the whole thing on”.
He has undertaken a range of roles including committee member, coach, manager and children’s officer and has also been at the forefront of organising fundraising and profile-building events.
“We come from a very small club in Augher – we’d have just over 200 members,” he explained.
“Growing up you’d see boys that are helping you and there were a few fellas who would have been there for us right through all the age groups.
“When you see all the work they do round the club you think it’s your time to step up. That’s what got me into it and I really enjoy it as well.”
Niall, who runs the excellent Augher www.augherac.gaa.com website, said he accepted the award on behalf of the hard-working committee members at the club.
“The website is something that came along. It was like ‘if you’re willing to do it you can go and do it’,” he explained.
“It’s something that you need to be doing these days – a lot of information is coming out through social media and over the internet and we thought that a couple of us younger fellas should do that.
“In terms of the initiatives, I can’t take all the praise for that. There’s a team of people in a sub-committee and it’s specifically for the use of the club and what we can do to increase our numbers.
“We get together and see what we can do to drive the whole thing on.”
He added: “It’s nice to be recognised.
“In our club there’s a lot of people who do a lot of work and I was dead against it when I first heard I was nominated because there’s people who have been there longer and have probably done more than me.
“But then I thought it’s nice to get the club a bit of recognition as well and I accept it on behalf of everybody.”
Niall is also involved in the ‘Ulster Project’, a cross community youth organisation, and says Augher are reaching out to older people in an attempt to get them involved with the club.
“Our next big thing in terms of volunteering and youth work is trying to get more coaches in the club,” he said.
“We also have an allotment scheme in the club now. We’ve planted a few boxes round the pitch and round the stands.
“That’s got a lot of older members into the club and that’s something we’re trying to look at because older people sort of drift away from the clubs.
“We’re trying to get them back in as well and make sure they feel part of it.”