Martin O’Neill lines out for JP at scholarship awards

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

Scholarship recipients, Mikeala Morris, from Kildimo and Kate Burke, Ballinsloe with JP McManus and Martin O'Neill. Picture: Alan Place.
REPUBLIC of Ireland soccer manager Martin O’Neill could have followed a very different path in life had he taken his mother’s advice.

REPUBLIC of Ireland soccer manager Martin O’Neill could have followed a very different path in life had he taken his mother’s advice.

Speaking at the University of Limerick on Saturday, as he presented 126 students with scholarships from JP McManus, the manager spoke of how he pursued his goals - even when the going got tough.

He said he once contemplated hanging up his football boots and returning to college during the darker moments of his early professional career.

Reminiscing on his brief college experience, the 62-year-old recalled how his mother didn’t agree with his decision to drop out of Queen’s University in Belfast where he studied law.

“I had an opportunity when I was at Queen’s to go and become a professional footballer at that stage and my mother wanted me to continue with education”.

This was the first time he presented the awards for the Co Limerick businessman.

“When JP asks you to do something you do it,” he said.

Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan and the Northern Ireland minister for employment and learning, Dr Stephen Parry presented the 126 scholarships to high achieving students from north and south of the border.

In all, 1014 scholarships have been delivered to date, worth €6,750 per student per year, and a special gift was presented to Lee Pollock from Newtownards, county Down, who was the 1,000th recipient.