University of Galway celebrates sporting success and heroes

Pictured are the 2023-24 University of Galway Sports Awards recipients with Feargal O’Callaghan, University of Galway High Performance Sports Lead and Justin Kossel, University of Galway’s Students’ Union Club Captain. Credit - Aengus McMahon
Mar 25 2024 Posted: 15:17 GMT

University of Galway has marked a year of sporting success and heroes at our 39th annual Sports Awards. 

The awards allow the university and sports community to come together to celebrate the triumphs and endeavours of athletes, sports clubs and coaches.

Among the winners were athlete Fiona Everard, golfer Liam Nolan and the University’s Women’s Soccer.

Fiona Everard who won the 2023 Irish National Cross Country Championships in Kilkenny, finishing 37 seconds clear of the field, in a race run in extreme muddy conditions. She has since gone on to represent Ireland at the 2023 European Cross Country Championships and was selected for the 2024 World Athletics Cross Country Championships.

In golf, Liam Nolan started off 2023 by winning the South American Amateur Open, following it up with the Brabazon Trophy in May last year and competing in the Walker Cup.

The Women’s Soccer team has gone from strength to strength in the last year, making every the final of every competition they entered and the A-Team winning the University Premier League, which came on the back of wining the Premier Cup last year. Therese Kinnevey and coach Billy Clery both earned individual awards for their success on the field.

A special awards ceremony was held at the University to recognise all University of Galway athletes and Clubs and their successes.

The University presented awards recognising sporting performance, leadership and participation, as well as those that contribute to the running and development of the University of Galway Sports Clubs. 

The University Honours Awards celebrate remarkable final year individuals who have made an outstanding and sustained contribution to sport; shown an impeccable example of sportsmanship and a high level of performance and achievement; been an excellent ambassador within the University and student sport; and competed at a regional level or above.


University of Galway is now home to 40 active sports clubs, which are student-led and organised, with more than 6,000 students participating in sport and activity daily at the University.


University of Galway’s Dean of Students, Professor Ciara Meehan, said: “Congratulations to each of the awardees and a special word of thanks to all those who promote our University values of respect, openness and excellence through our Clubs.

“Our annual sports awards reflect not only the excellence of our students in terms of preparation, performance and competing, but also the contribution they make, and their clubs make to our campus life and the importance of openness and participation in sport and exercise for the wellbeing of all our community.”

University of Galway Director of High Performance Feargal O’Callaghan, said: “Our Sports Awards are a celebration and recognition of endeavour and achievement of our students and their coaches in many sporting codes and at varsity, national and international level.

“Everyone involved in our Clubs brings honour and often glory, and also enjoyment, in no small amount, to University of Galway.

“Many of the awardees will with certainty go on to achieve greatness in their chosen sport but for us in the Sports Unit, it is an honour and a pleasure to work with them and to get to know such talented individuals and to support all those involved in Clubs. We look forward to bright futures for all of our athletes and take this opportunity of the awards to recognise all those who brought us success and those who competed at their best.”

2024 Sports Award Winners

  • University Honours

Rian de Bairead (Bushypark, Co. Galway) Sailing

Liam Nolan (Barna, Co. Galway) Golf

Therese Kinnevey (Rosscahill, Co. Galway) Women’s Soccer

  • Sports People of the Year

Fiona Everard (Enniskeane, Co. Cork) Athletics

Peter McGlynn (Mallow, Co. Cork) Volleyball 

  • Individual Performance of the Year

Robert McDonnell (Galway City) Athletics

  • Team of the Year

Women’s Soccer Club

  • Club Captain of the Year Award

Tianming Yao (Galway City) Table Tennis

  • Club of the Year

Sailing Club

  • Coach of the Year

Billy Clery (Furbo, Co. Galway) Women’s Soccer


  • Most Improved Club Award

Table Tennis

  • Best Event of the Year Award

Kayak Intervarsity 2024

  • Unsung Hero Award

Leah Smith (Belturbet, Co. Cavan) Swimming

  • SU Club Captains’ Choice Awards

Sarah Hontz (Galway City) Lacrosse

Conor Moran (Galway City) Windsurfing


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