Boys walk out with their heroes

Reece Herron with Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley. INLM4311-306con

Reece Herron with Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley. INLM4311-306con

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OLIVER Spratt from Moira and Reece Herron from Lurgan got to experience every young Northern Ireland fan’s dream as they walked out as McDonald’s Player Escorts for the national team’s game against Estonia at Windsor Park.

This fantastic opportunity arose after the pair won a McDonald’s competition and each got to experience first-hand the excitement of the build up to the game, including being pitch-side as the Northern Ireland team warmed up, before walking out hand-in-hand with Northern Ireland players Steve Davis and Gareth McAuley for the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship Qualifier.

McDonald's Player Escort Oliver Spratt with NI's Steve Davis. INLM4311-307con

McDonald's Player Escort Oliver Spratt with NI's Steve Davis. INLM4311-307con

Providing Player Escorts for Northern Ireland home Internationals forms part of McDonald’s new four year Community Partnership with the Irish FA which aims to drive participation and raise standards in grassroots football.

Through this partnership a new Community Awards event has also now been launched to recognise and reward those clubs, coaches and volunteers that make outstanding contributions to grassroots football within Northern Ireland.

The McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards 2011 will take place on Tuesday, November 22 at Belfast City Hall.

Nominations are now open so if you know a coach, club or volunteer that deserves recognition for their contribution to the beautiful game at grassroots level and to the local community please fill in the nomination form at www.irishfa.com/communityawards.

Commenting on the new Awards scheme Pat Jennings, McDonald’s Head of Northern Ireland football, said: “Grassroots football is the lifeblood of the game and I’m delighted that through the new Community Awards initiative between McDonald’s and the Irish FA we will be able to pay tribute to those people who do so much for the game we all love.”