The Women’s Gaelic Players Association (WGPA) presented its 2019 third-level scholarships on Friday 5thApril at PwC headquarters in Dublin. A total of 46 scholarships have been awarded to third-level students across 23 colleges who play intercounty Camogie and Ladies Football. This is the fourth year of the WGPA scholarship programme, which includes support from global clinical development company ICON plc and, for the first time, the Irish American Partnership.
The scholarship scheme recognises the efforts of our members in pursuing a dual career and aims to mitigate some of the pressures of time, workload and commitment, enabling them to take opportunities for ongoing personal and professional development whilst striving for excellence as athletes.
Undergraduate and postgraduate students both feature among the recipients from 25 counties, across all grades of Ladies Football and Camogie, including 5 dual players such as Cork’s Hannah Looney and Limerick’s Rebecca Delee. The number of applicants and feedback from the players each year indicates the popularity of the scheme, as highlighted by Tipperary’s Maria Curley: “It really is a great programme that helps many people each year and I am thrilled to be a recipient. Players want to give as much as they can to their sport and their studies and that’s hard to juggle, but this is really helps and it’s fantastic to see it growing.”
Support is provided through the WGPA and 2 education partners; ICON plc, who contribute towards players studying Life Science subjects and for the first time, the Irish American Partnership (IAP) is also funding players who are pursuing careers in education. In attendance at the event were Niamh Murphy, head of Corporate Communications at ICON plc, Paul Flynn, GPA CEO, and PWC managing partner Feargal O’Rourke.
At her first official event, the launch was a special occasion for recently elected WGPA Chair Maria Kinsella, who also works as an audit manager in PWC and plays football with the Carlow Ladies. Maria welcomed almost 100 attendees, including parents, to the presentation ceremony saying “On behalf of WGPA & PWC, I’m delighted to welcome everyone here to what is a fantastic celebration of all that is good about our players; the pursuit of excellence, an appetite for hard work, relentless dedication, unwavering commitment combined with the determination to become the best version of yourself. We aim to encourage and support all our members to maximise their potential and maintain a healthy balance between their sport, studies and personal development during their time as a student. I hope these scholarships make that journey a little easier.
In recent months, we have witnessed a growing appetite for and interest in female sports in this country. This increased exposure has yet to fully translate to an increase in resources; I encourage you all, as young, smart, talented players to continue to question and challenge the status quo in order to keep raising the standards for all female GAA athletes across the country.
I want to thank ICON, Irish American Partnership and PWC for their backing and belief in the potential of these players. The clear correlation between collegiate athleticism and business success, shown in several studies, indicates many of these scholars will go on to be successful leaders in their respective industries. Thanks to your support, we’re helping the best in our games to be the best of themselves.”
The programme is open to all qualifying WGPA members and successful applicants receive a bursary to alleviate some of the financial pressures and time constraints faced by student players, including missed part-time work opportunities and the commuting costs associated with studying away from home. The contribution supplements the ongoing development of players through services such as careers advice, personal development coaching and leadership programme.
Players were awarded through the WGPA scholarship scheme as follows:
|Kelly||Boyce Jordan||Westmeath||Ladies Football|