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Importance of Sport at all Levels Highlighted as MIC Celebrates its Fitzgibbon Winners at Gala Homecoming Dinner

Fitzgibbon Cup team and management posing with the cup at the Homecoming. There are three rows of 15 people, all wearing suits.

An Tánaiste, Micheál Martin TD, emphasised that aspiring to play and win in third level sport is “a precious jewel in the college experience” as he presented medals to the Mary Immaculate College Fitzgibbon Cup-winning players and management team at a Gala Homecoming event on 11 March at the Limerick Strand Hotel.

Although the Shannon Suite was lit up in MIC blue, An Tánaiste brought a distinctive red tone to proceedings referencing the strong Rebel County connections in the team with Corkmen including manager Jamie Wall and captain Colin O’Brien, and the fact that the Fitzgibbon Cup is named after Dr Edwin Fitzgibbon, a Capuchin friar who was a Professor of Philosophy at University College Cork.

Captain Colin O'Brien lifts the trophy over his head in front of the crowd
WATCH: MIC Fitzgibbon Cup Homecoming Gala 2024

“We’re here to celebrate sport and the importance of sport in our lives, and particularly third level sport on-campus. We should never take from the student experience the importance of playing for your college or university, and to develop that bond and that spirit that you will never lose for the rest of your lives. All of the players here this evening, you are part of a special group. In years to come—a decade, two decades, three decades—you will always look back and remember the year you won the Fitzgibbon. No-one can ever take it from you.”

Tánaiste Micheál Martin speaking at the event
Tánaiste Micheál Martin
Tánaiste Micheál Martin speaking to Captain Colin O'Brien
Tánaiste Micheál Martin speaking to Captain Colin O'Brien
Tánaiste Micheál Martin presents Jamie Wall with his Medal
Tánaiste Micheál Martin presents Jamie Wall with his Medal

Addressing close to 300 staff, students and guests, Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC, saluted “all the players for their skill, commitment and tenacity and a special congratulations to Jamie Wall and the management team”.

He added that An Tánaiste appreciates “how the GAA, both locally and nationally, is an integral part of the social fabric of this country. It is an honour to have him here tonight to celebrate the Fitzgibbon Cup victory and present the medals”.

Deputy Leddin, Deputy O'Donnell, Senator Byrne, Prof Wall, An Tánaiste, Deputy O'Dea, Deputy Collins

Jamie Wall—an MIC Alumnus who has been involved with all three MIC Fitzgibbon Cup wins, as a coach in 2016 and as manager in 2017 and 2024—praised the players, strength of the 40 strong panel his four coaching colleagues (which included his first cousin, Podge Collins) as well as the College community. He welcomed the large student attendance at the event because the student body was very supportive and it meant so much to the team to celebrate with their friends.

He also paid special tribute to Éamon Cregan, his predecessor as Manager of the Fitzgibbon Cup team, and also to MIC staff members, Noreen Lynch and Leonard Enright (RIP)—after whom MIC’s Elite Sports Scholarships are named.

Jamie Wall speaks into a microphone. The Fitzgibbon Cup is pictured behind him
Jamie Wall
Éamonn Cregan speaks to Jamie Wall
Former MIC hurling manager Éamonn Cregan speaks with Jamie Wall
Professor Niamh Hourigan, Éamonn Cregan, Professor Eugene Wall and Podge Collins with Jamie Wall holding Fitzgibbon Cup
Jamie Wall holds the Cup, with Prof Niamh Hourigan, Éamonn Cregan, Prof Eugene Wall & Podge Collins
An Tánaiste with Prof Eugene Wall and the MIC Hurling Management Team
An Tánaiste with Prof Eugene Wall and the MIC Hurling Management Team

“Peadar Cremin, who was president when I first came to study here, told us all in his initial speech that you never really leave Mary I. I’ve been involved with the College for a long time, and I think Mary I never leaves you.”

Male student takes selfie with four females. He stands in the middle.
Group shot of seven people, four of whom are standing
Group shot of six females
Tánaiste Micheal Martin speaks to students
Three females seated at a table
Female and male
Three females and two males seated at a table
Two females and a male at a table

On the night, An Tánaiste also acknowledged a special publication penned by MIC Alumni, Ciarán Crowe and Joe Lyons, and published by MIC.

Launching Cumann na mBunscol: Caoga Bliain ag Fás, he complimented the “mammoth piece of work…littered with great stars of yesteryear” and many legends in the making. He also reflected on his own primary school GAA experiences and how many of the young hurlers on the winning team would have started at primary school age.

“The book is a celebration of the primary teachers of Ireland who are really doing something unique. In every parish across the country, girls and boys play with their primary school and out of that comes great people, great players and great character.”

An Tánaiste with Joe Lyons and Ciarán Crowe
An Tánaiste with Joe Lyons and Ciarán Crowe

Mary Immaculate College is very grateful for the support of generous sponsors for the event, namely: Quinn Architects, Grosvenor, MasterChefs, G4S Security, Pure Electrical, Martins Coaches, Core Landscaping, Commane Heating and Plumbing, Marlhill Construction Services and PBC Builders Ltd.