Updated: 31/01/17 : 10:48:35
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IT Sligo Unveils New Sports Scholars

Former Stoke City footballer Ryan O’Reilly and multiple sprint athletics champion Zak Irwin were among 22 new recipients of IT Sligo Sports Scholarships for 2017, which were announced by the Institute yesterday, Monday.

The awards provide financial and mentoring support to athletes of outstanding talent, many of whom may have already represented IT Sligo, their county or Ireland in their respective sports.

Recipients are supported by IT Sligo in keeping up their sporting commitments at the same time as pursuing their educational commitments and goals.

Cavan native Ryan O’Reilly is one of two Gold sports scholarship recipients this year. He spent five seasons with English Premier League club Stoke City before opting to return to Ireland and continue his education at IT Sligo where he is studying for a degree in business. He has represented the Republic of Ireland at every underage level. “Coming back to Ireland, I wanted to continue my education and to keep playing football,” said 21-year-old Ryan. “IT Sligo has given me the opportunity to do that.”

The other Gold Sports Scholarship recipient for 2017 is Sligo sprinter Zak Irwin, pictured above, who is a first year international marketing student. He is a multiple national title winner both indoors and outdoors and has previously represented Ireland at the World Junior Athletics Championships (2014).

Sligo All-Stars basketballers Philip Hamilton & Tobi Brockman were among the new
IT Sligo Sports Scholarship recipients this week

The list includes Donegal gaelic footballers Andrew McClean, Jamie Brennan and Michael Langan. The trio recently made their senior intercountry debuts for Donegal in the Dr McKenna Cup competition in Ulster.

Sligo Rovers Under 19 footballers Shay Doherty from Sligo and Gary Higgins, a native of Ballyhaunis in Co Mayo, are also new scholarship recipients.

While GAA and Soccer provide the bulk of the 22 new scholarship students, this year, basketball, equestrian and karate also feature with the awards spanning eight different sports in total.

Nine-time Irish boxing champion and former World junior championship winner Ciara Ginty from Geesala in Co Mayo is also recognised.

Donegal footballers (L-R) Andrew McClean (Kilcar), Michael Langan (St Michael's) & Jamie Brennan (Bundoran) are among the new IT Sligo Sports Scholarship recipients for 2017

Congratulating the new sports scholars on their awards, Dr Brendan McCormack, President of IT Sligo said: “One of Institute’s core missions is to develop and nurture rounded graduates and individuals. It is why we place a strong emphasis on the extra-curricular element to higher education, through programmes like our Sports Scholarship Scheme.

“Each of our Sports Scholarship recipients has excelled in their chosen sports activity and in so doing they have enhanced IT Sligo’s reputation as an academic setting that values and rewards sporting prowess.”

In addition to the first time recipients, a further 28 students had their existing sports scholarships renewed. These include Northern Ireland women’s soccer international Catherine Hyndman, IT Sligo Sigerson Cup captain Daragh McConnon and Irish international surfer Ronan Oerzten.

The Institute's new Sports Scholarship recipients for 2017

IT Sligo allocates a €50,000 fund for the Sports Scholarships Scheme each year and all students are entitled to apply.

Since its introduction in 2003, the IT Sligo Sports Scholarship programme has benefited students involved in a wide range of sports including soccer (ladies/men), Gaelic football (ladies/men), athletics basketball, surfing, boxing, camogie, hurling, golf, equestrian, lacrosse and martial arts.

List of new IT Sligo Sports Scholarship recipients 2016/17

County-by-County breakdown: Sligo 9, Mayo 6, Donegal 3, Westmeath 2, Cavan 1, Leitrim 1.

  1. Abigail Adams – Karate Aghamore, Ballyhaunis Co Mayo Year 1 in BA in Creative Design

  2. Fola Aryionde – GAA & Soccer Mullingar, Co Westmeath Higher Certificate in Science

  3. Jamie Brennan – Gaelic Football Bundoran, Co Donegal Human Nutrition – Year 1

  4. Tobi BrockmanBasketball Ballisodare Co Sligo Year 1 Mechatronics

  5. Shay Doherty – Soccer Strandhill, Co Sligo Health Science & Physical Activity

  6. Kevin Gallagher - Equestrian Ballygawley, Sligo BA Hons Accounting Year 1

  7. Ciara Ginty – Boxing Geesala, Co Mayo Studying Health Science & Physiology

  8. Damien Golden – Hurling Mullingar, Co Westmeath Final Year BA Hons Accounting – Year 3

  9. Philip Hamilton – Basketball Carney, So Sligo BSc Hons in Computing – Year 1

  10. David Hanley – Gaelic Football Mulranny, Westport, Co Mayo Year 1 Agri-Food Science Degree 19

  11. Gary Higgins – Soccer Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo Health Science & Physiology

  12. Zak Irwin – Athletics Sligo Year 1 International Marketing

  13. Niamh Kerins – Soccer Grange, Co Sligo Occupational Safety & Health – Yr 1 Grange in County Sligo

  14. Scott Kilker – Gaelic Football Belmullet Co Mayo Health Science & Physiology – Yr 2

  15. Michael Langan – Gaelic Football Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal Quantity Surveying

  16. Amber Lynch – Soccer Sligo Higher Cert in Accounting

  17. Brian Mahon – Gaelic Football Collooney, Co Sligo Health Science & Physicality – Yr 1

  18. Andrew McClean – Gaelic Football Kilcar, Co Donegal Mechanical Engineering – Year 1

  19. Niall McGoven – Gaelic Footballers Ballinamore, Co Leitrim Mechanical Engineering – First Year

  20. Denise McGrath – Soccer Ballymote, Co Sligo Health Science & Physiology – Second Year

  21. Ryan O’Reilly – Soccer Cavan Bachelor of Business – Year 1 From Cavan
  22. Laura Regan –Soccer Balla, Co Mayo Human Nutrition Level 8– First Year.