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UEFA Grassroots Awards recognise Co Armagh stalwart and Co Antrim football club

Belfast Live logo Belfast Live 20/11/2020 Gareth Fullerton

A club stalwart from Co Armagh and a Co Antrim football team have been honoured by UEFA in its annual Grassroots Awards.

The prestigious awards are contested between entries from over 50 European football nations every year and recognise the exceptional work in grassroots football.

This year legendary Brookvale FC figure Brian Sloan and Greenisland Football Club were recognised.

Brian was named as a silver prize winner in the ‘Best Grassroots Leader’ category, while Greenisland won bronze in the ‘Best Grassroots Club’ section.

They will be presented with special certificates to remember their success, while both clubs will receive 100 footballs each to support their grassroots activities.

Michael Boyd, the Irish FA’s Director of Football Development, said: “I am delighted that the UEFA Executive Committee has recognised Brian and Greenisland FC in the UEFA Grassroots Awards 2020.

“More than 50 countries nominated their best volunteers and community clubs. These are very prestigious awards.

"Brian is an inspiration for his work promoting football for all in the community and Greenisland are an amazing community-focused inclusive club.

"Both have served the community with distinction and deserve this international recognition.”

Brian, 72, helped form cross-community club Brookvale with his friend Alan Black in the Bessbrook area back in the early 1980s.

He remains part of Brookvale to this day alongside his sons who now coach at the club, while his grandchildren play.

Meanwhile, Greenisland FC - who Northern Ireland brothers Jonny and Corry Evans once played for - are a hugely popular hub catering for their local community.

Greenisland have around 400 players and 100 volunteers, with senior and junior teams for male, female and disability groups. They run programmes for children from the age of five upwards. 

Each year they also run summer schemes, Halloween and Easter camps, day trips, midnight soccer programmes and cross-community football tournaments.

The club has shown its community ethos during the Covid-19 pandemic, delivering food and medical packages to groups, as well as engaging their own members with online skills competitions and delivering football fun packs for kids.

They won silver in their category, with Danish club Frederiksberg Boldklub winning gold.

A spokesperson for European football’s governing body said: “Football is built on the grassroots, which are kept alive by thousands of volunteers, projects and clubs across Europe. Our awards are designed to recognise, celebrate and promote this inspirational work.”

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