Echo Leading Lights Sports Awards 2020: Paul Donnelly, Volunteer Award

THE past year has tested the resolve of every sports club and their members like never before and Crumlin United’s Paul Donnelly, like so many volunteers, has really stepped up to the plate in 2020.

One of five sports volunteers that The Echo and its Sports Awards partners chose to honour this year, Donnelly has been an ever present figure in the Pearse Park Club since the Covid crises took hold here, working tirelessly to help Crumlin United navigate this hugely difficult period.

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Crumlin United’s Paul Donnelly receives ‘The Echo Sports Volunteer’ Award from Mayor of South Dublin County, Ed O’Brien and Sharon Moylan, Sales Manager, Green Isle Hotel

In addition to his normal volunteer work with the club, he took on the role of Covid officer and also took charge of the club’s social media in an effort to help keep everyone connected and motivated.

“We found it a bit tough at the start, but as we got the kids and parents more used to working around Covid restrictions- how we do non-contact training in our pods of 15- it became second nature to everyone” explained Donnelly.

“I took the roll on of Covid officer so I had to be there every day, sterilise everything at the start and end of every day.

“It’s been a new challenge, making sure everybody stays clean and healthy, but I really enjoy doing it.

“I’ve also been tasked with the social media side of things for the club this year, just trying to keep it going after one or two people left.

“But I’ve enjoyed doing that, making up posters and putting up new posts every day, sharing the bit of news with the club. It keeps everyone connected.

“But it’s really all about the kids and coaches. They’ve really put in a good shift this year. What we all want is to see the kids back playing football.

“It’s so important for their mental health so we just have to keep going.

“My partner Sabrina and my two kids see what I do in the background and they always say you spend more time in that club than you do at home.

“But I love being part of it. I’m just delighted Martin [Loughran] asked me in 10 years ago to help out and I’ve been there ever since” he said.

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