Aly Finlay received a Volunteer Champion Award, in recognition of extraordinary achievements in volunteering in female schools and youth rugby, at the Ulster Rugby’s Volunteer Recognition event earlier this month.
Aly (pictured above, centre) is part of a formidable coaching team alongside her husband Terry and son Ross. She coaches at Enniskillen Royal Grammar School, who have been at the forefront of girls schools rugby in Ulster for more than a decade, and more recently have made their mark on the national stage.
Aly has developed Enniskillen Royal GS to be the team everyone aspires to beat, but very rarely do. Several of her school players have gone on to represent Ireland in at national U18 or senior teams, including Kathryn Dane, Claire Bowles, Ellie Ingram, Ellie Rix and Katie Hetherington to name a few. Aly has also been involved in coaching the Ulster U18 Girls 7s squad in recent years, which led to other club players gaining international honours.
This award is in recognition of the time, effort and passion Aly has put into developing her players and the unprecedented level of success she has achieved over the years.
Perhaps the most inspirational aspect of Aly’s achievements is the environment she manages to create within her squads. It’s not just about rugby but more importantly it’s about the people in the team. Every player feels valued. They are part of something unique and that’s purely down to the fact that Aly really cares.
As Aly plans to retire from coaching at the end of this season we would like to extend a huge ‘thank you’ to her, Terry and Ross.
The Real Rugby Heroes Award (formerly the Community Champions Award) seeks out volunteers who make an invaluable contribution to the game at a grassroots level and to the lives of young people across the Province.
There will once again be two categories to enter:
Adult – aimed at volunteers who work in adult rugby including men and women’s rugby and adult disability rugby
Youth and mini rugby – aimed at volunteers who work within youth and mini rugby including youth disability teams
Each category winner will receive £1,000 bursary for their local club and two runners up will be awarded £500.
The deadline for entries is Monday 18th February 2019. Anyone can nominate by filling out the online application form at www.ulsterrugby.com/realrugbyheroes.