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€600,000 awarded to students and graduates at MIC’s annual College Awards night

Twins Niamh and Tara Ryan holding prop cheques at the College Awards ceremony

The achievements of almost 150 students and graduates were celebrated at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) on Tuesday 28 November, with close to €600,000 in scholarships and bursaries presented—the highest total amount bestowed at the College’s annual awards night.

Congratulating all those who received awards was Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC, who said: “I wish to express my heartfelt congratulations to all of our awardees on your success. This ceremony is a most significant occasion, marking as it does one of the highlights of our academic calendar, as we celebrate the various achievements of our current students, recent graduates, and alumni, all of whom have made an outstanding contribution to society.”

Four MIC alumni were among those celebrated at the event, in recognition of their achievements since graduating. Legendary Kerry footballer Tomás Ó Sé, holds five All Star awards, five All-Ireland titles and nineteen Munster Championship medals and is widely regarded as one of the best players of the modern game. Since hanging up his boots, Tomás has gone on to manage underage teams in Cork and Kerry and is a sports pundit on The Sunday Game, alongside former Alumni of the Year awardee, Jacqui Hurley. He graduated from the Bachelor of Education in 2001 and is a Principal of Gaelscoil de hÍde in Fermoy. Petula Martyn, from Limerick, presents the business news on Ireland’s most listened to radio programme, Morning Ireland. After graduating from MIC in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts, she worked with Limerick’s Live 95FM and then the Limerick Leader newspaper before joining RTÉ as a multimedia journalist in 2011. Miriam Keegan, from Emo, Co. Laois, is a leading sustainable fashion educator, designer, business developer and advocate. Graduating from MIC in 2016 with a Bachelor of Education and specialism in Visual Art Education, she went on to undertake study on Fashion and Apparel Studies and sustainable fashion at the University of Delaware. She has instructed hundreds of primary teachers on sustainable fashion in the classroom and is Head of Sustainability at Irish fashion brand, Aoife McNamara. Limerick hurling Captain Declan Hannon has overseen the Treaty’s remarkable dominance of the sport in recent years and holds five All-Ireland medals, six Munster titles and three All-Star awards, to name but a few of his sporting accolades. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from MIC, Declan decided on a career in recruitment and is the National Recruitment Manager at Unijobs.

Professor Eugene Wall (centre) with the MIC Alumni of the Year 2023

Over €100,000 in total was presented to 53 first-year students who received an MIC Entrance Scholarship on the basis of their impressive Leaving Certificate results. A further nine deserving students who have excelled in their chosen sports were presented with Munster GAA bursaries, valued at €750 each. Sarah Ryan from Tipperary Town was awarded the Rachel Kenneally Bursary, which is awarded annually in memory of former MIC student and Tipperary Ladies Footballer, Rachel Kenneally. MIC’s five Elite Sports Scholars were celebrated on the night: Irish hockey player, Anna Horan; Kerry Ladies Footballer, Aoife Dillane; Irish athlete, Thomas Devaney; Mayo Ladies Footballer, Sinead Walsh and Limerick U20 hurler, Cian Scully. Additionally, Clare Senior Hurler, Diarmuid Ryan and Waterford Camogie player, Niamh Murphy were presented with the MIC GPA Sports Scholarship worth €4,000—awarded to which two Gaelic Players Association members who are undertaking postgraduate study at MIC.

Two very talented musicians were awarded the first Ashling Murphy Memorial Scholarships. The new scholarship scheme, which is jointly presented by MIC and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), recognises first-year Bachelor of Education students for their exceptional achievement and talent in the field of traditional Irish music. This year’s recipients were Róisín Ní Chonchúir from Co. Offaly, and Catherine Joyce, from Co. Mayo.

Three PhD candidates were collectively awarded €165,000 by the Irish Research Council to fund their doctoral research. Grace Cardiff, from Bridgetown, Co. Wexford, is undertaking research into the enactment of student voice pedagogies within her own primary teaching practice, and examining the influence of student voice pedagogies on how children experience meaningfulness in PE. Ciara Moloney from Co. Longford, is undertaking a PhD in the Department of Drama & Theatre Studies on diaspora and interculturalism in Martin McDonagh’s plays and films. Sinead O’Mahony from Cappamore, Co. Limerick, was awarded funding for her PhD within the School of Education, entitled ‘Middle Leadership in Irish Primary Schools: A Critical Analysis of Principals' Perspectives’.

IRC Scholars pictured with Dr Julianne Stack, Graduate School Director

Three further doctoral researchers were awarded a Doctoral Research Scholarship in Professional Learning for Teachers and Other Education Professionals which supports research on any aspect of practitioner learning and continuing professional development. Lorraine Diggins from Sixmilebridge in Co. Clare, Mary Hanley from Glenroe, Co. Limerick and Norma Lenihan from Croagh, Co. Limerick were all presented with their awards on the night.

Three postgraduates were awarded funding for their studies at MIC: Hilary Dolan from Clarecastle, Co. Clare was awarded an MIC Doctoral Award; Wonder Kofi Abzigbli was awarded a Doctoral Studentship, and Muhammad Shareef Shazil was awarded a Postgraduate Studentship.

MIC’s Postgraduate College of Sanctuary of Scholarships were awarded for the first time this year and were presented to two recipients. The scholarships aim to support International Protection Applicants, refugees, and migrant groups to pursue postgraduate study and consist of an annual stipend of €3,000 and a full fee waiver.

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WATCH: MIC College Awards 2023

Aisling White from Kilmallock, Co. Limerick was the recipient of the Shellie Murtagh Memorial Bursary. The fee waiver and bursary of €500 is awarded to a postgraduate student wishing to pursue their dissertation in the area of autism and is funded by the family of Shellie Murtagh and MIC. Shellie was a Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching) student and sadly passed away from cancer in November 2013. Shellie’s father, Éamonn Murtagh presented Aisling with her award.

Anna Purcell from Rathdowney, Co. Laois received the TOMAR Trust Award which is valued at €8,500 over four years. The award is offered by the TOMAR Trust to support MIC’s PATH programme which seeks to recognise students who transfer with distinction from their Further Education programme to take up a place in MIC Thurles’ teacher preparation programme. Anna is among the inaugural class of the BA in Education, Home Economics and Business Studies.

Recent graduates of the Faculties of Arts and Education were presented with awards for topping the class in their subject or specialism and seven current students were awarded the Saint Bonaventure Trust Prize, which recognises the academic excellence of students studying Theology and Religious Studies.