Fiona Perryman of Cobh Pirates RFC is the winner of Munster Rugby's Volunteer Recognition Award for May.
Fiona has been involved in all aspects of club rugby at Cobh for nearly 30 years and is one of the main drivers behind the current thriving mini-section of the club.
Growing up in a rugby household, her late father Eddie Doyle would have been deeply involved with the club both as a player and as one of the founding members of the current juvenile section in the late 1970s. Fiona's introduction to the club activities towards the late '80s would see her elected to the position of secretary and from there she would have been a driving force behind the organisation of the very successful 'Annual Cobh Pirates Sports Awards' which recognised the best of sporting talent on the Great Island. These awards continued into the early 1990s.
During the coming years, she would fulfil important and guiding roles at the club, holding down executive positions and being active in organising fundraising initiatives and events as the club entered one of its more progressive decades, both on and off the field. During this period her mother Noirin Doyle would serve as chairperson and club president and thus continue the strong bond between the Doyle family and Cobh Pirates RFC.
In the late '90s, Fiona was instrumental in forming the first ladies team at Cobh Pirates. This transformation from the administration side of the club to the rugby playing side would not alone see her involved in playing the game but now step into the coaching of minis at the club.
From the early 2000s, Fiona has been the spine of the mini section at the club, where even some of the current J1 panel would have started their mini rugby under her instruction. She is probably one of the longest-serving coaches at the juvenile section of the club.
In the early days of mini rugby at the club, there were teams at U-8, U-10 and U-12s, and this has now grown to fielding at every age grade from 6 to 14 along with an U-16 and U-18 team at boys', plus this season, an U-15/18 girls' team. Overall, Pirates now gathers for a total of 300-plus kids and the one constant in all of this growth has been Fiona.
To add rugby activities within the club during the off-season, Fiona helped initiate and organise a very popular and successful summer mini tag tournament in association with An Garda Síochána, Cobh, that still runs to this day.
She was also very active in the IRFU 'Play Rugby' role out at Rushbrooke National School in conjunction with the local Rugby Development Officer, John O'Neill.
Fiona manages to bring unbelievable enthusiasm, organisation and rugby tutoring skills to a vital section of the club and manages to combine this with her work and family commitments and her love of coastal rowing. She really epitomises everything that is great about coaching, developing and directing mini rugby at Cobh Pirates RFC.
Fiona's daughter, Eimear, is now actively playing at the club under the umbrella of the U-18 South Cork girls' team and has recently attended Munster trials. Her son, Matthew, is also playing rugby at the mini section, so, the link with Cobh Pirates will continue long into the future.
To complete the her rugby jigsaw, Fiona along with her sister Roisin, another long and active member of Pirates' mini coaching team, are regular Munster supporters and have been to practically every home and away game over recent years as they followed Munster's rise to a European rugby force.
Munster Rugby is proud to acknowledge Fiona Perryman as an outstanding servant to rugby in the province.
As part of the prize, Fiona received free match tickets and full pre-match hospitality for last weekend's thrilling Pro12 semi-final win over Ospreys at Thomond Park.
The Munster Rugby Volunteer Recognition Programme was launched to give clubs and schools the opportunity to acknowledge the significant contribution made to rugby by volunteers throughout the province.
The programme is open to any person currently associated with domestic rugby in Munster, in a non-paid capacity at a club, school, college, university or associated affiliate of the Munster Branch IRFU.
Successful nominees who meet the set criteria will be recognised for their efforts by receiving a prize package including tickets and full pre-match hospitality for two to a Munster match.
For full details of the nomination process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.