Doctor John has a ball at University of Limerick conferring ceremony

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Limerick hurling manager John Kiely who was conferred with an honorary doctorate with his wife Louise and daughters Aoife and Ruth at the University of Limerick today.

ALL-IRELAND winning hurling manager John Kiely was the star attraction at a sports award ceremony of a different kind in University of Limerick today when he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate.

During the ceremony earlier today, there was a moment’s applause to remember UL alumna, former staff member and honorary doctorate recipient Dr Vicky Phelan, who sadly passed away this week.

It was the first time that UL’s Sports Scholarship Awards were held in conjunction with an Honorary Doctorate Conferring Ceremony and over 100 elite athletes from various sports were in attendance alongside the three-time All-Ireland winning manager.

The newly conferred Dr John Kiely was described by UL President Professor Kerstin Mey as “one of the great sporting leaders of our time” as he received the highest honour the university can bestow.

The Galbally man said that the honorary doctorate was a great honour and to have it bestowed in the University’s 50th year made it all the more special.

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“I have been very fortunate to lead the Limerick senior hurlers during a time of great success over the last six years. I have enjoyed working with a very special group of young men, many of whom have graduated during that time from this University.

“My being honoured today is a recognition of what the group has achieved over the last six years and the deep impact it has had on the people of Limerick far and wide. Our spirits have soared, past wounds healed, and a new generation inspired. Young and old have come together to support and celebrate as they had only imagined.

“I want to thank the University for acknowledging my part in this wonderful group. I am deeply honoured and humbled to join a group of people from all walks of life, many of whom I have admired throughout my life. I am very honoured and grateful,” he added.

The conferring was watched by several of his charges including Limerick captain Declan Hannon and teammate Cian Lynch, GAA President Larry McCarthy and team sponsor JP McManus.

107 of UL’s finest athletes from 19 different sports were presented with a scholarship from the UL Sports Scholarship Academy, the aim of which is to support dual-career student athletes to meet the requirements of their degree programme, while also honouring their sporting commitments.

To date, UL has invested almost €1 million in the sports scholarship academy.

UL Sport Executive Manager Neasa O’Donnell said that as the university continues to expand, so too will the reach of the Academy with more students winning All Ireland titles and achieving podium finishes at European and world events.

“We look forward to watching our student athletes represent Ireland at the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.”

Among those receiving scholarship awards were Roisin Cahill (kayaking), Ciara Neville (athletics), Mark McDonagh, (horse racing), Kate Flannery, (rugby), Sarah Hickey, (basketball) and Tiernan O’Donnell, (para basketball).

More information on the UL Sports Scholarships here

John Kiely with his mother Breda; daughters Aoife and Ruth; father Tom and wife Louise after his conferring at the University of Limerick.