Head start for sports students
Wexford students are among those who have been awarded scholarships from Institute of Technology, Carlow, in recognition of their exceptional sporting ability and the fact they are competing at the highest level of their chosen sport.
The students from the Model County included: Niall Hughes; Natasja Behan; Marie Byrne; Olivia Daly-Tallon; Seamus Casey; Shane Reck; Nick Doyle; Joseph Carley; Cathal Dunbar; Gregory McGrath; Jai Popplewell and Ryan Byrne.
The scholarships will provide a range of supports for the students including financial, academic, mentoring, injury rehabilitation, strength-and-conditioning support, high-performance coaching and access to IT Carlow's state-of-the-art sports facilities.
In addition to the Wexford students a number of other high-profile Irish sports stars were also awarded scholarships including Para-Olympian soccer player, Tomiwa Badun, Cork senior footballer, Michael Hurler, world relay silver medalist, Molly Scott, record-breaking sprinter Marcus Lawler, 800m European Junior bronze medalist, John Fitzsimons and Irish women's soccer international Amanda McQuillan.
The sports scholarship scheme is in its 20th year and the awarding ceremony followed in the wake of Minister for Communications, Richard Bruton TD, turning the sod on IT Carlow's new €15m, 31-acre South Sports Campus.
A world-class training facility it will include six full-size playing pitches incorporating an all-weather artificial GAA pitch, a grass GAA pitch, two grass soccer pitches and two grass rugby pitches.
There will also be LED floodlighting and a 1.6km looped walking trail.
The facilities will also include a 400m athletics track and pavilion building which will accommodate changing rooms, meeting rooms and ancillary spaces.
The number of scholarships offered to students has more than doubled since the programme was introduced in 1999 and IT Carlow is now regarded as one of Ireland's leading third-level institutes for the provision of sport and physical activity.
Its President, Dr Patricia Mulcahy, congratulated all of the recipients and said they deserved their scholarships in acknowledgement of their achievements.
'Today we applaud you for your talent, application, dedication, persistence and leadership which continue to be an inspiration for our Institute community,' she said.
The recipients were also addressed by Kilkenny senior hurling manager, Brian Cody.