UCC honoured sporting excellence with the presentation of sports scholarships to 62 students last month. Director of Sport & Physical Activity at the University, Mr Declan Kidney, bestowed the honours, as part of the UCC Sports Scholarship Scheme, at a special ceremony in the Mardyke Pavilion.
A total of 14 sports are being recognised from the college: athletics, basketball, camogie, Gaelic football, ladies’ Gaelic football, hockey, hurling, rugby, sailing, ladies’ and men’s soccer, table tennis, and tennis.
Following on from a hugely successful year for the University’s soccer teams, the sport will come under the spotlight with the presentation of UCC Soccer Development Awards to six students. A further nine UCC Soccer Club players will receive soccer scholarships, with four female players also among the awardees.
An additional 19 students are receiving Munster Council GAA bursaries; these were to be presented by Mr Gerry O’Sullivan, Chairman of the Munster Council of GAA.
The strength of the senior and U20 rugby team is also reflected in the awarding of 15 scholarships to UCC Rugby Club, who play in the All-Ireland Division 1B.
The UCC Sports Scholarship Scheme is well-established within the University, and provides a range of important supports as well as acknowledgement of the recipients’ dedication to their sport. In addition to financial support, scholars also receive access to a qualified exercise physiologist and physiotherapist, and academic support where required.
Reflecting on this, Declan Kidney said: “UCC are delighted to support students in their endeavours to fulfil their sporting ambitions, while at the same time giving priority to their academic studies.”
UCC is delighted with the continued support for scholarships from Irish Assistant Soccer Manager Roy Keane, who supports a number of soccer awards. Recipients of the Roy Keane Soccer Scholarships include Cork City Women’s FC captain Ciara McNamara, along with Daniel Pender and Shane Daly Butz – two players who made a major contribution to UCC’s Collingwood Cup and Munster Senior League success in 2016/’17.
Michael J Dowling also continues to support hurlers through the Michael J Dowling Hurling Scholarships. This year’s recipients include Waterford’s Conor Gleeson and Mark O’ Brien, as well as Tipperary senior intercounty player, Michael Breen.
This year, Greenstar/Panda have come on to sponsor a number of GAA Scholarships. They include Cork senior camogie player Chloe Sigerson, and Cork senior intercounty hurlers Mark Coleman and Darragh Fitzgibbon. Conor Ryan receives his first basketball scholarship. In addition to assisting UCC Basketball Club in the colleges league and intervarsities, he is part of the UCC Demons Superleague squad. Lesley Ann Wilkinson, Hayley Linehan and Hannah McCarthy are also among the awardees. They play their club basketball with UCC Glanmire, and all won the National Senior Cup with the club earlier in the year. Liam Manning receives his first sports scholarship award for his performances in sailing. He was part of the UCC team that recently retained the Irish Team National Racing Championship, and he was a crew member with Fionn Lyden – a UCC Quercus Scholar who won the ‘Champion of Champions’ at the All-Ireland Irish Sailing Championships, held on Lough Owel some weeks ago.
Cork’s All-Ireland senior camogie success is reflected in the awarding of scholarships to Orla Cronin, Meabh Cahalane, and Chloe Sigerson. Sean Powter receives a Gaelic football scholarship. He has only recently returned from Australia, having been a member of the Irish team who played the Aussies in the Compromise Rules Series. Cork’s young hurling sensations of the summer, Mark Coleman and Darragh Fitzgibbon, also receive scholarships. They hope to lead UCC to Fitzgibbon Cup success in 2018. Rugby player John Poland, meanwhile, receives his scholarship following his recent transfer from Cork Constitution.
The UCC Sports Scholarship Scheme ceremony follows the recent Quercus Gala, during which seven talented students were acknowledged for their sporting prowess. Welcoming in the new Quercus scholarship awardees at last week’s event were former Munster rugby player Cian Bohane, Tipperary hurler Paddy Cadell, Cork camogie and ladies’ Gaelic football player Hannah Looney, hockey goalkeeper Hannah Humphries, Kerry senior Gaelic footballer Robert O’Donovan, and rugby’s Jack O’Sullivan.