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St. Anne’s Grace Awarded Ballyseedy Volunteer Of The Month

27th November 2019 By The Editor

Grace Kearney was October

Grace Kearney was October's Ballyseedy Volunteer of the Month winner.

The Ballyseedy Home & Garden Volunteer of the Month for October was awarded to Grace Kearney of St. Anne’s Community College, Killaloe, for her fantastic contribution towards the development of girls rugby at the school.

The Ballyseedy Home & Garden Volunteer of the Month for October was awarded to Grace Kearney of St. Anne’s Community College, Killaloe, for her fantastic contribution towards the development of girls rugby at the school.

Grace has been involved with growing girls rugby at St. Anne’s ever since she first joined the school, coordinating weekly training sessions and matches for up to 70 girls across the various age-groups.

The St. Anne’s teacher and rugby mentor also coaches at the local club, Ballina Killaloe RFC, splitting her time between the club and school to encourage as many girls as possible to represent both.

On receiving her award, Grace said: “I was in complete shock and had no idea that I had even been nominated.

“I don’t know how 70 girls managed to keep it a secret from me because usually they tell me everything so the fact that I had no idea, it was a massive shock.

“I started girls rugby in St. Anne’s the first year that I arrived because there was no girls rugby at the school at the time and a few of the students said they would love to give it a go.

“The numbers have been growing ever since.”

Grace also arranges trips to international matches as a way to inspire and encourage the girls to continue their involvement with the sport.

“I have some girls who are really competitive and have hopes of playing for Munster and Ireland while there are other girls who just want to be a part of something and it’s really important for them to have a lifelong connection with friends.

“I’m like their mum in ways. I make sure they have everything they need and if they don’t have gear for training I give them mine and also make sure they’ve eaten after school before matches.

“I carry separate clothes in my car – boots, socks, jackets, you name it I have it. The girls have all had my wardrobe on at some point.”

“I love when I hear them say, ‘I have to come to school today because of rugby.’”

L-R: Deirdre Wall, Grace Kearney, Helen Barry & Aideen Walsh.

Katelyn O’Donnell, student and rugby player, said: “You’re (Grace) there for every one of us both on and off the pitch.

“You support us with school problems, sports problems and everything in between and you’ve gone above and beyond for all of us.”

Aideen Walsh, Principal of St. Anne’s, commented: “Grace has made it her mission to play her part in creating a cultural shift in our perception of women and girls in sport so that girls interested in taking part in sport, particularly rugby, are given the recognition they deserve.

“A coach is a person who assists athletes to develop their full potential – Grace does this both on and off the pitch. Her commitment knows no bounds.

“She motivates, mentors, guides, counsels, inspires, encourages, advises, instructs, chauffeurs and even feeds her ‘rugby girls.’”

The Ballyseedy Home & Garden Volunteer Recognition Programme rewards people working hard behind the scenes within clubs and schools throughout the province.

The programme runs from September 2019 to March 2020 with a reward scheme consisting of individual ‘Volunteer of the Month’ awards.

Successful nominees who meet a set criteria were recognised for their efforts by receiving a prize package including;

– Volunteer of the Month’ Award

– Hamper

– Hospitality package for two including tickets to a Munster home game

For more information and to nominate your club or school volunteer, please click here.

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