SEVEN ‘inspirational’ sporting stars will be added to the University of Limerick’s hall of fame this Saturday.
The athletes - all of whom boast some connection to the university - will be honoured with inclusion in UL’s Sports Hall of Fame, joining a host of others since the initiative began in 2013 as part of the UL40 anniversary celebrations.
Rugby star Keith Wood, track and field athlete Ruth Algar, rugby player Fiona Coghlan, Clare hurler Brian Lohan, Paralympian Seán McGrath, Olympic athlete Liam O’Brien and camogie and football player, Fiona O’Driscoll, will all be inducted.
The hall of fame marks the university’s unique contribution to sport at a regional, national and international level and serves as a “permanent tribute to and recognition of the many outstanding sporting achievements of past and present members of the campus community for excellence in achievement and/or service to sport,” according to UL president Professor Don Barry.
“These seven individuals will be remembered for their achievements, their commitment to excellence and the inspiration they provide to our next generations of athletes,” he said.
“They have reached the pinnacle of their sporting careers and have earned our highest esteem and gratitude for their contribution to UL Sport and I would like to give my congratulations to all of this year’s inductees,” he added.
The inaugural inductees included those like rugby’s Tony Ward, who studied at the then National College of Physical Education in the 1970s, hockey player Eimear Cregan and Minister Jimmy Deenihan.
Six of the seven inductees to be added to the hall of fame ranks at Saturday’s event are graduates of UL, while Keith Wood was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Science by the University in 2004.
The ex-Munster and Irish rugby star, who lives in Killaloe, began his career with Garryowen, winning All-Ireland League titles in 1992 and 1994, and also played with Munster and Harlequins over a starry career.
In recent years he has worked with Special Olympics Ireland and in the burgeoning area of sport tourism, hosting two successful European Sport Tourism Summits at Thomond Park in recent years, drawing delegates from all over the world to the city. He told the Leader at the most recent summit that he loved “the fact that they are here in Limerick and it has been a big part for us, sport is absolutely embedded into the fabric of what it is to be a person from this region”.
The hall of fame awards event takes place on Saturday at 3pm and is open, with all welcome to attend. Families will have the opportunity to meet and chat with the inductees at a reception afterwards.