Lee is honoured and humbled

By Hayden Moore

SHINING a light on local business and sole traders as well as focusing on improving physical health and wellbeing is what the new Tallaght Person of the Year, Lee Moroney, has a vision for in 2020.

A Ballycragh native, Lee was last Saturday announced as the 36th Tallaght Person of the Year in an awards ceremony held in the Red Cow Moran Hotel by Tallaght Community Council (TCC).

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Mayor Vicki Casserly with Pamela Kenny, winner of the Special Needs and Carers Award and Lee Moroney, Tallaght Person of the Year 2019

There were more than 181 nominees who were put forward by their peers to be recognised across nine different categories for their active duty in the community, volunteering and care-giving.

An ever-expanding town, Tallaght was celebrated in its entirety on the night and served as a reminder of the diversity that exists in our community from arts and culture to sport, environment to business, special needs to education and so on.

Announced as the overall winner, Lee spoke to The Echo after the event about how he felt when he was called up to the stage.

“I was very humbled and honoured to be in a room full of so many great people and winners and to be announced as the overall winner was really just so humbling,” he said.

“On the night I was honoured to be nominated in these categories with all of these great people, but a little disappointed not to win a category or a merit award at the time.

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Mayor Vicki Casserly, Michael Finn TCC, with Ade and Rhasidat Adeleke, special guest at the awards.

“I went from feeling a bit disappointed to absolutely blown away when Liz Kennedy [Chairperson of TCC] said my name – I felt like I ran a marathon after it.”

Winning the top award was the next step on the ladder for Lee at the Tallaght Person of the Year Awards Ceremony having previously won the Youth Award in 1999, Sport Award in 2002 and Business Award in 2014.

Lee, who has coached people of all ages from children to adults for the past 21 years, started his own business called Coach Approach in 2013, where he offers sports-centric parties, coaching, a bootcamp programme as well as a Couch to 5km programme.

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Finbar Barry, Thomas Barry and Shane Barry who won a merit award for their business Thomp2Socks.

Back in 1998 when he was just 16, Lee began coaching with his local GAA club St Anne’s and two-years later he took charge of the Under-13 boys team and spent six years with that team, leading to multiple titles.

Once a Special Needs Assistant, Lee became a Community Games Coordinator for West-Tallaght and Clondalkin under the RAPID initiative that saw 2,500 children and 150 volunteers engage in games across 10 different local areas.

Also, as a Games Promotion Officer for a period of time with St Anne’s, Lee was part of the Dublin Development squads at Under 13 and 14 level in which time he coached current senior player Con O’Callaghan before taking charge of the Girls development squad that made the All-Ireland in 2016.

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Merit award winner Viv O’Hanlon with Rhasidat Adeleke and Tara de Buitléar on Saturday

More recently, Lee has started a sport for fun class with Dyspraxia Ireland, an exercise and sport class with Social Circle, as well as a health and wellbeing class in the psychiatric ward of Tallaght Hospital.

With the motto “small steps lead to big success”, Coach Approach has had over 1,300 people come through their ‘Jog with Me’ Couch to 5km programme with a 60 per cent completion rate – something Lee claims is around 30 per cent above the national average.

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Superintendent Ian Lackey, Helena Doody (Head of Humanities, TUDublin, Tallaght Campus), Artist Mervyn Ennis, Audrey Brown (Learning and Innovation winner), Lee Moroney, (Coach Approach, Tallaght Person of the Year 2019) and Thomas Stone (Principal TUDublin Tallaght Campus)

Looking ahead to the forthcoming year as the new Tallaght Person of the Year, Lee said: “My vision for the next year is to shine a light on local businesses and sole traders, because it can be tough.

“Another aspect would be to focus on physical health and wellbeing, in particular in West Tallaght and I believe there is a remit there for working with local community groups and schools.”

For more pictures check out The Echo on pages 60-63.


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