Eighty students at NUIG will receive funding to pursue their sporting interest this year.
Under the NUI Galway Sports Scholarship Scheme, more than €100,000 will be awarded to 75 students this year to help them to continue to develop their sporting excellence.
The sports encompass athletics, basketball, football, handball, hurling, rock climbing, rowing, rugby, soccer, swimming, and tennis.
At a special ceremony in the university this week, students were presented with the awards by Dr James Browne, president of NUI Galway. A total of 16 new scholarships were awarded, each to the value of €2,000 a year for the remainder of the students’ studies, bringing to 25 the number of students currently on sports scholarships.
The new awardees include athletes from County Galway: runner Orla Ní Mhuircheartaigh, basketball players James Loughnane and Paul O’Brien; footballers Úna Carroll and Gareth Bradshaw; rower Niall Kenny; swimmer Dairne Ryan; and tennis player Marion Hanley. Other counties represented included: from Tipperary, hurler Séamus Hennessy and footballer Ciarán McDonald; from Sligo, soccer player Michael Creane and rugby player Keith Farry; from Clare, handball player Diarmuid Nash and hurler John Conlon; from Mayo, rock climber Joan Mulloy; and from Limerick, rugby player Jeffrey Neville.
In addition, bursaries to the value of €1,000 were awarded to 50 students. These bursaries cover a wide range of sports and include surfing and windsurfing which are growing in popularity in the west of Ireland.
Another two awards of €1,000, sponsored through the Cadbury GAA Scholarships as part of the Cadbury GAA u-21 Football Championship, were made to current Westmeath inter-county footballer John Connellan from Athlone and current Mayo player Chris Barrett from Bellmullet.
Tony Regan, NUI Galway sports and recreation officer, said the university was entering a new era in terms of sport.
“2008 really has thrown a spotlight on sport at NUI Galway. Our students and alumni, namely Paul Hession, Olive Loughnane, Alan Martin, and Cormac Folan flew the flag with distinction in Beijing. Meanwhile, the new sports centre enhances sports facilities on campus with a 25-metre pool, squash and racquetball courts, an international basketball court, a state-of-the-art gym, specialist elite gym, and a high-tech climbing wall.
“We would like to congratulate our awardees who represent a cross section of outstanding talent and offer them every support in taking their talents further. This year’s sports scholarship awardees are the next generation of sporting heroes.”
The university encourages all school leavers who have a particular sporting talent to consider applying to the Sports Scholarship Scheme. The closing date for next year’s scheme is March 31, 2009. Details are available from career guidance teachers or by emailing ellen.kell[email protected].