In light of Danny Gilroy's nomination for Coach of the Year at the Alnwick & District Sports Council Annual Awards, we asked Phil Hodgson of League Express for his thoughts on Danny Gilroy.
Gilroy has worked tirelessly to bring rugby league to North Northumberland as part of his role at Rockets Community, the community arm of the Bears' sister club, Cramlington Rockets.
It's because of Gilroy's efforts that Alnwick Bears will be launching later this month.
This is what Phil Hodgson had to say:
It’s been my pleasure and my privilege to have covered amateur Rugby League for almost a quarter of a century for, successively, the Rugby Leaguer, the League Weekly and, for the past decade, the League Express.
During that time I have been impressed by many clubs and the volunteers who have run them.
None, though, have made more of a mark on me than Cramlington. The Rockets, based in Northumbria, have laid down strong roots in a county that is still habitually described as being outside the sport’s traditional heartlands.
In my opinion the development work undertaken by Cramlington in particular in recent years, so often setting an example for others to follow, has been so successful that Rugby League in the north east should now be viewed as being as strong as it is in the old strongholds of Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire.
I have described from time to time the work undertaken by the many tireless stalwarts at Cramlington Rockets as being messianic, and I stand by that assessment. Chairman Jeff Ball and Development Officer Steve Beaty have taken plenty of accolades over the years, and rightly so, but one individual whose immensely important input has perhaps gone under the radar a little is Head Community Coach Danny Gilroy who rightly and deservedly enjoyed a rare moment in the limelight when, in 2015, he and Beaty collected the ‘Outstanding Contribution’ award, at the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley, for their sterling work in delivering coaching to over 6,000 children in the north east in a 12-months period.
Gilroy hasn’t slackened his pace since that heady day – not in the slightest. He remains wholly committed to the development of grassroots Rugby League in Northumbria and beyond. And that kind of wholehearted, enthusiastic and thoroughly professional commitment makes Danny Gilroy one of the most important coaches in the world of youth and junior sport, never mind solely in Rugby League.