Mayo sports stars (clockwise from top left) Shannon Sweeney, Dave Heffernan, Lee Keegan and Micheál Schlingermann are participating in a public webinar on volunteerism hosted by Mayo Sports Partnership this week. Photos: Sportsfile

Role of volunteers to be highlighted in webinar interviews with Mayo sports stars

Multi-decorated Mayo footballer Lee Keegan, European bronze boxing medallist Shannon Sweeney, Connacht Rugby star Dave Heffernan and League of Ireland goalkeeper Michéal Schlingermann will talk about their lives in sport and the role volunteers have played in helping them to develop their potential at a free public webinar this week.

‘Without Volunteers, We Are Nothing’ is the title of the webinar hosted by Mayo Sports Partnership (MSP), with the support of Mayo County Council's LCDC Education & Training working group, on Thursday (December 1) at 7 p.m. Anyone with an interest in sport can attend by registering at

“For the past few months, we have rolled out sports volunteer training to a group of very committed volunteers in clubs throughout,” said Councillor Michael Loftus, chairperson of Mayo Sports Partnership.

He added: “This webinar forms part of that training, but we have also decided to make it available to the public as a way of encouraging people to get involved in their local clubs and also to thank those who already act as volunteers.

“Apart from what will prove to be highly informative and entertaining interviews with the four sportspeople conducted by broadcaster Angelina McHugh, we will also have breakout rooms where people can learn more about a variety of sports.

“The following organisations will run rooms – GAA, FAI, IRFU, Athletics Ireland, Badminton Ireland, GAA Handball and Golf Ireland – and we are also likely to add further organisations before Thursday night.”

Mayo Sports Partnership club development officer Cathal Brady commented: “The format will be highly interactive and will ensure that people can ask questions about the sports that interest them. If you’re thinking about playing a part in a local sports club, this is an ideal forum for you to take the first steps.”

Lee Keegan stated: “Many people have supported me over the years, including the people who were involved in Westport GAA Club the very first day I went down there to play football. I would never forget what those people have done for me and for many others who have gone on to enjoy a great life in sport, be it in terms of winning titles, making friends and learning important social skills for life.”

Mayo Sports Partnership places a huge emphasis on promoting volunteering, particularly since Covid-19 wreaked havoc on sports participation.

“We try to identify and break down the barriers that may prevent people from volunteering in their clubs. These barriers can include a feeling that you are not qualified enough or you have haven’t the relevant experience. The reality is that there is a role for everybody, and we help clubs to develop their volunteers so that they can all make a valuable contribution,” said Cathal.

Mayo Sports Partnership’s sports disability development officer, Ray McNamara, will also deliver a presentation on how clubs can promote and manage greater inclusion and diversity.