Chief sportswriter Marisa Kennedy reports from the UL GAA Scholarship Awards evening, which was attended by Tipperary great Liam Sheedy.

Students from University of Limerick received High Performance Scholarships from UL GAA, in conjunction with Bank of Ireland, at a ceremony in the college on Wednesday night. 33 students received the scholarships while further bursaries were given to 19 students, funded by the Munster Council.

It is the inaugural year for the participation of Bank of Ireland in the High Performance Scholarships, and after a fiercely competitive interview process, stars from hurling, camogie, and gaelic football received the prestigious awards.

Speaking at the ceremony, Head of Sales at the bank, Liam Sheedy congratulated and praised the recipients and said that they were eager to form a bond with the college in the coming months.

“Whether it’s from a careers perspective or from a high performance, we’re looking forward to forming a really strong partnership with the college and we’ll be monitoring the on-field performances of these recipients," he said. Sheedy stressed the importance for recipients to find a balance between their work rate in sport, and in their college work. “You have got to match your talent and work ethic on the field with how you apply yourself academically, and the most successful people have realised that.”

Sheedy made reference to the successful GAA players who have applied themselves and have been successful in the Bank of Ireland, most notably Henry Shefflin. He assured the players that academic success lends itself to on-field success. “One runs in tandem with the other and it really allows you to get the best out of yourself in everything you do,” he added.

As well as providing financial assistance to the students, these scholarship will allow the players full access to the state-of-the-art sports and training facilities in UL as well as support structures in place in the college. The award winners were chosen based on their success in their codes at club and inter-county level. Among the recipients are Julia White, All Ireland winner in 2014 and Tony Kelly, 2013 Hurler and Young Hurler of the Year. Winners were chosen from first years, all the way to post-graduate students. Recipients will be reassessed on an annual basis for the scholarship.

Attending the award ceremony, were current All Ireland winners, Pádraig Walsh of Kilkenny, Maria Walsh of the Cork camogie team and Valerie Mulcahy of the Cork Ladies football team. All three were honoured at the ceremony and were highly commended for their commitment to the university, to their studies and to their inter-county teams.

Photo: Valerie Mulcahy/