People who succeed in life are not always the “brightest and the best”, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary told university scholarship students from the 32 counties over the weekend.
“It is how hard you work. Success comes in life to people who work hard at it. The great South African golfer Gary Player when told he was lucky, replied: ‘Yeah, the harder I practiced, the luckier I got’. Be ambitious and work hard,” he said.
Mr O’Leary was speaking at the University of Limerick where 125 students received JP MCManus All Ireland scholarships to assist their third-level education in colleges North and South.
Students attending colleges in the Republic receive €6,750 each year and those in the North get £5,500.
Mr McManus has committed €32m to the scholarships.
Mr O’Leary, in the keynote address at the ceremony, told students they should set out to be world leaders in their chosen fields.
“Be committed to whatever you do, whether it is in sport, in your personal lives. Work hard and don’t settle for second best. Don’t be satisfied just to be the best in Ireland, in Europe, but in the world stage. There is no limit to your talent. And some day you can come back here after conquering the world.
“Your hard work and dedication has already paid off in huge measure and you are now part of a privileged group of young men and women who have been honoured here today.”
He told the students they should never forget the role their parents have played in their lives and their success.
JP McManus said: “Our objective in establishing the All Ireland scholarships is to give this opportunity to a number of young people throughout the island of Ireland.”
One of the scholarship winners, Brendan Moran from Dooradoyle in Limerick, has commenced medicine in NUI Galway.
He said: “It makes all the good work pay off and will help us along in our studies.” Brendan, 19, said his ambition to become a cardiac surgeon.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan and the Northern Ireland minister for employment and learning, Dr Stephen Farry, were guests at the ceremony.
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