Joy Neville, International Rugby Referee and scholarship recipient Gemma Dunican, Thurles Rugby Club. Picture: Alan Place
Tipperary’s most promising sports stars were among 57 athletes to receive the Limerick Institute of Technology Sports Scholarship this academic year.
Tipperary camogie players and hurlers were among those honoured, as well as those from other sporting disciplines.
Tipperary senior camogie players Keeley Lenihan and Jenni Grace, as well as Tipp minor hurler Rian Doody received sports scholarships. LIT student and player with Thurles Rugby Club Gemma Dunican also received a sports scholarship.
Both based at the Thurles LIT campus Shayleen McDonagh was recognised for her ladies football success and basketball player Nadine Rice was also among those honoured.
Sports stars including Joe Canning and Jackie Tyrrell have previously received the scholarship from LIT, while current lecturers include Marcus Horan (formerly of Ireland and Munster) and Michael Fennelly (Kilkenny).
LIT’s Sports Scholarship Programme has doubled in size over the last three years, and provides athletic support, focuses on individual welfare, and includes off-field mentoring and education support to its recipients.
Supported by sponsors PMI, AIB and the Munster Council the LIT Sports Scholarships are set apart from others as they encourage young athletes to achieve greatness in their chosen sport, while providing a vast range of off-field supports.
President of LIT, Prof Vincent Cunnane, described the scholarships as “the heart of what LIT is about – recognising our own while supporting people to be the best they can be.”
“It is important to understand that these young people are part of an institution which recognises them as a member of this community. That means valuing them in a balanced way. Its about what happens off the field and off the track as much as on it. It is about the whole person and putting the circumstances in place to allow them to unlock as much of their potential as possible,” he said.
“In addition to financial aid, we have a number of athlete support measures built into our programme to do this. These range from off-field mentoring to education support, sports psychology, and advice on managing issues like social media.”
Congratulating the scholarship recipients Prof Cunnane added, “You’re living the dream, representing your team, your college, your county, in some cases your country, excelling at what you do. Your talent, your striving is being recognised and supported. Here at LIT we think it is important to support you and to recognise your excellence.”
During the scholarship presentation ceremony at Thomond Park last week, Prof Cunnane also presented LIT graduate and the college’s former Rugby Officer - World Rugby Referee of the Year 2017, Joy Neville with the LIT Outstanding Achievement Award.
“Joy will always be “one of our own”, one of our LIT community, of whom we are immensely proud. The list of your achievements is hugely impressive, but it is your commitment, determination to strive to be the best you can be, breaking down barriers and becoming a role model not only for our scholarship recipients here today, but to sports’ women and men all over Ireland that makes you outstanding,” he told the International Rugby Referee.
LIT’s Sports Scholarship programme is now open for applications at lit.ie/sport.