Our International 20×20 Women in Sport Award this week goes to all the women who every day volunteer their time and expertise all over the world to ensure that sport happens in every country on the planet, Women who ensure that young girls ,and indeed in many cases young boys, get to participate in sport and who in many cases slow the seeds that see those girls and boys go on to national and  international success.

It is totally appropriate to acknowledge their efforts in a week in which the Federation of Irish Sport paid tribute to all the volunteers who ensure sport happens every day of the year in Ireland. Recent research by the Federation

showed that some 450,000 Irish men and women volunteer across all sports every year in Ireland. Furthermore the research indicates that the value of their volunteering – if it had to be paid for – is worth in excess of One Billion Euro annually.

Minister Brendan Griffin was on hand at Farmleigh to congratulate the winners of the awards. A volunteer in every one of the 32 counties was presented with an award although as was pointed out on the day the awards were set up not alone to honour the winners but in doing so to honour all 450,000 of those who volunteer in sport in Ireland. The awards also featured a Volunteering Team of the Year. This went to Women on Wheels. And finally there was an Outstanding Contribution Award which recognised the contribution made by an individual to sport in Ireland many years. This went to swimings Mary Dunne ,who has, and continues to, made a massive contribution to the sport of swimming through her work with Ballina Dolphins, Connaught Swimming and Swim Ireland. In 2016 she was made Honorary President of Swim Ireland.