Naomi Carroll from Cratloe was one of 55 young people who received a Gaisce Gold Award from President Michael D. Higgins at a ceremony in Dublin Castle.

The award challenges young people aged 15-25 to push their boundaries and develop skills which will stand to them throughout their lives.

This year’s recipients successfully completed five challenge areas for 52 weeks or more including volunteering with a charity or community group, taking part in a four-day adventure journey as part of a team, and broadened their horizons on a five-day residential stay away from home.

Naomi Carroll is an international hockey player who has played camogie for Clare and is a sporting all-rounder who loves a new challenge. She decided to aim for a Gaisce Gold after completing her Bronze and Silver Awards.

Naomi knitted teddy bears for a UK charity for distribution by firefighters to children they meet at the scene of fires. She also cycled 320km around Kerry and volunteered in the Midwest School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Limerick.

Some of her time was also spent time volunteering in the Alzheimer’s units at Carrigoran House. In addition, she found time to improve her hockey skills.

Naomi believes involvement in sport has taught her a lot about life, from the highs of winning to the lows of losing and how to deal with adversity. It’s been the most fulfilling and challenging experience of her life so far.

In his address, President Michael D. Higgins said, “It gives me great pleasure to recognise the dedication, perseverance and generosity of our Gaisce Gold recipients.

“Today marks the conclusion of a journey – a journey in which you tested yourselves, through your thoughts and actions, first discovering and then surpassing your own limits.

“It was a journey in which you demonstrated not only a personal determination but also a commitment to the service of your communities and of your fellow citizens. Today is a day on which you, your families and friends, your teachers and mentors, can justly feel very proud of your accomplishment.”