30 October 2022
By Tom Collins
The Club Chairman of Carrigaline United AFC is the latest winner of the Cork International Hotel Community Spirit Award. Willie Walsh is credited as being the driving force behind the club’s enormous growth and success in recent decades. He was at the helm when Carrigaline United was named FAI Club of the Year in 2017.
Carrigaline United AFC was founded in 1972 and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The club caters for all ages and grades from five upwards for boys, girls, men and women. It is committed to supporting people with disabilities and the club’s philosophy has centred around ‘Football for All’ for many years.
Willie Walsh is heavily involved in the community in Carrigaline. He is a volunteer and Board Member with the Carrigaline Family Support Centre. The centre offers a range of supports and resources to help improve the lives of families in Carrigaline and surrounding areas.
General Manager of the Cork International Hotel, Eoghan Murphy said, “Carrigaline United AFC is one of the most inclusive football clubs in the country, it embodies what ‘Community Spirit’ is all about and Willie Walsh is at the centre of that. Huge work has gone into developing the facilities at the club and it is the first to step up and loan their pitches to other clubs when needed. Willie and Carrigaline United truly believe that every child who wants to play football has a right to play. It’s no surprise that close to 500 children turn up to play there every weekend. This year is a special one for Carrigaline United as it celebrates its golden anniversary and I’m delighted to see Club Chairman Wille Walsh recognised with a Community Spirit Award.”
Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform, Michael McGrath TD, who presented the award to Willie said, “It is hard to think of a more worthy recipient of the Community Spirit Award than Willie Walsh. Willie is widely known and respected in Carrigaline and surrounding areas for his community involvement including through his volunteerism with the Carrigaline Family Support Centre, but is best known for his incredible dedication to Carrigaline United Soccer Club. As someone who has a number of children who play with the club, I visit Ballea Park several times a week and, almost without exception, I meet Willie on every occasion where he might be collecting litter, washing jerseys or doing traffic management. He plays a pivotal role in the running of a club that provides a valuable outlet to hundreds of players every single week and for that we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.”
The Cork International Hotel Community Spirit Awards are sponsored by The Carrigdhoun Newspaper and Gerald McCarthy Giftware. The awards take in a large geographical area in South Cork stretching from Rochestown, Douglas and Togher to Kinsale, Crosshaven and Passage West.
The judging panel comprises a mixture of public and private sector representatives from the community.
The judging panel for this award was:
- Carmel Lonergan General Manager Cork International Hotel
- Nicola Radley Senior Executive Officer, Municipal District Operations & Rural Development at Cork County Council
- Aisling Killilea Bank of Ireland Manager Carrigaline and Douglas
- Vincent O’Donovan Carrigdhoun
Nominations are open now for next month’s award at https://www.corkinternationalairporthotel.com/community-spirit-awards/