Director of Sport and Physical Activity, Declan Kidney said to the students: “Life throws challenges at you, sport is a great way of learning to cope with life.”
The recipients of the scholarships range from All-Ireland winners in Gaelic Games to Olympic hopefuls and many who are just establishing themselves at the elite level.
Kidney praised each winner for their achievements so far and said UCC is there to help them take the next step and develop as both a person and an athlete.
Among the recipients were Kilkenny hurler and All-Ireland winner John Power, Ciara O’Connell who has represented Ireland’s ladies soccer team in the World Student Games and Cork minor ladies footballer Eimear Scally.
Power, who is entering the final year of his Arts course, said the financial help offered by some scholarships is a great asset.
“It takes a lot of pressure off my parents and myself and gives me more time to concentrate on my sport and my studies.”
Cork ladies footballer Eimear Scally said that the scholarship is vital in helping the profile of ladies sports.
“I don’t want to be original and say it (the scholarship) means everything to me but it does,” laughed Scally. “It definitely helps raise the profile of ladies sports as well.”
The effect of the scholarships go beyond pure financial assistance, second year student Ciara O’Connell said: “I wouldn’t have got into UCC without the scholarship, I was 25 points short for my course but because of the scholarship I got those points.”
In briefing the students prior to the awards ceremony Kidney was fairly blunt in stating that he wanted athletes to take responsibility for themselves and get a taste of reality now.
He said: ”Paperwork is your responsibility, there’s a couple of really good athletes both male and female who aren’t here because they didn’t fill out the form.”
The scholarship recipients in team sports had to cooperate to draw up their aims and objectives for this academic year immediately before the ceremony. Kidney told them: “Be realistic, they should be your goals for the season and show that ‘I’m accepting responsibility as a leader in my sport’.”
Guest speaker at the event was Éamonn Cashin, aiming to be the first Irishman to complete the Polar Bear Challenge later this month. A former teacher, he spotted a few of his past pupils among this year’s scholarship recipients.
Cashin echoed Kidney’s praise in his speech when the ceremony began.
“The students are here today because they achieved something in their chosen events. I admire and applaud you all.”
Cashin had to give up his teaching career as a result of injuries suffered when he was knocked off his bike last December.
He said: “Recovery is ongoing. I have a brain injury, I am a quarter blind in both eyes, I have vertigo, a damaged left knee and right ankle, reduced hearing in my left ear, and also had a damaged coccyx. But I never give up.”
“I must add that I am married to Claire and we have a nine-month old baby, called Paddy. My motto is ‘keep moving forward’, which is just as well because babies don’t understand standing still, and neither does my wife.”
Cashin shared a story from his childhood in Abbeyside when he once trained with Eamonn Coughlan.
“Speaking to me about achievement as we ran, he said something that has never left me; something that has inspired me throughout my on-going recovery, ‘Winners never lose’. It is true what they say: often it is the moments that challenge us the most which truly define us.”
Declan Kidney finished the awards by saying:”If you are the best you can be, you are automatically a success.”
O Murray, B Thistlewood and L Shanahan (Athletics); LA Wilkinson, K Diggin (Basketball); L O’Sullivan, O Cronin (Camogie); I Maguire, J McGuire, M Martin, L Connolly, S Cronin (Gaelic Football); A O’Grady, N Kerr, S O’Leary, E Barber, P Coulter (Hockey); J Barron, T Devine, D Morrissey (Hurling); S O’Connor, S Hogan (Rowing); S O’Hanlon, C Barry, C Gallagher, C Slowey, B Burns, C O’Regan (Rugby); T Murphy, A Gannon, C Murphy, E Browne, D Lucey, S O’Callaghan (Soccer); Lily De La Cour (Kickboxing), J O’Sullivan- Hourihan(Orienteering), M Ambrose (Ladies Gaelic Football), Darragh O’Sullivan (Sailing), E Cassidy (Swimming)
PSE Energy Kinsale - J O’Mahony (Basketball)
Bank of Ireland - E Scally (Ladies Gaelic Football), B Keohane (Rowing), D Keohane (Rowing)
MJ Dowling - R O’Shea (Hurling), Tadhg Bourke (Hurling), A Cadogan (Hurling), D Dawson (Hurling)
Kukri - D Begley (Kickboxing), Paul Derham (Rugby)
Trend Micro - L Lynch (Ladies Soccer), L Murphy (Ladies Soccer), D Pender (Soccer)
Roy Keane - K McCarthy (Ladies Soccer), S O’Mahony (Soccer)
Jonathan Herlihy Memorial Scholarship - M O’Leary (Tae Kwon Do)
Jason Foley - Adrian O’Sullivan (Basketball)
UCC Athlete Development Programme
D Cussin (Athletics); D Walsh, J Bridgeman, R Lynch, B McAuliffe, P Cronin, S McLoughlin (all soccer)
P Healy (Athletics), D O’Sullivan (Ladies Gaelic Football), G Wilkinson (Hockey), A Harrington (Rowing),
C Dorman (Gaelic Football); C Moloney and S Grace (Hockey); S O’Donnell and J Power (Hurling); J Casey (Rowing); F Leyden and S Guilfoyle (Sailing); C O’Connell and A O’Connor (Ladies Soccer); C Mintern (Triathlon)
N Rockett and H Looney (Ladies Gaelic Football and Camogie); S Keane, C Cox, D O’Shea, J Kiely, B Begley, K Shanahan, K Davis, J Davis, K Flahive (All Gaelic Football); N Cashman, B McCarthy, K Daly (Hurling); A O’Callaghan, C Spillane, S O’Donoghue (Hurling and Gaelic Football); L Lee and Adrian Murphy (Administrator)