Coaches and players from Northend United’s youth team received a surprise visit this week from Northern Ireland goalkeeping legend and McDonald’s Head of Northern Ireland Football, Pat Jennings.
Jennings was in Northern Ireland to present McDonald’s Irish FA Regional Community Awards to local grassroots footballing heroes, for the great work they do in supporting their local clubs.
The former Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal player visited Ballymena’s Showgrounds to present Under 10s coach Ally McGarry with the Regional Accredited Club of the Year Award, this was in recognition of tireless work being done by the club to offer a fun footballing environment for all.
Speaking about the Regional Community Award winners, Pat said: “I love the opportunity each year to travel throughout Northern Ireland to present Regional Community Awards to hardworking, committed and passionate local grassroots heroes who do so much for local communities.
“The McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards is our way of saying thank you to the coaches, clubs and volunteers who give up their time to help young footballers across Northern Ireland to shine.
“I look forward to catching up with Northend United alongside all the other Regional Community Award winners at the national ceremony in November.”
Speaking about his award, Ally said: “I feel privileged today to collect this award on behalf of everyone at Northend United from Pat.
“I look forward to meeting the big man again in November at the McDonald’s Irish FA National Community Awards and hopefully we might have a chance of picking up the National Award too!”
The Awards programme, now in its seventh year, honours grassroots clubs and the volunteers who give up countless hours to ensure that football takes place every week throughout Northern Ireland.