• Pic of launch at IT Carlow.
  • PFA Ireland, Institute of Technology Carlow & FAI team up on new scholarship initiative for players and ex-players

    Institute of Technology Carlow (IT Carlow), the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland (PFA Ireland) today launched a new annual postgraduate scholarship open to players and former players with the aim of encouraging and supporting the pursuit of postgraduate study among international, League of Ireland and Women’s National League players and ex-players.

    The innovative postgraduate scholarship, to be jointly funded by IT Carlow and PFA Ireland/FAI, will be available for 28 different programmes of study at IT Carlow, from higher certificate to masters, across six academic departments: engineering: science; computing and data science; business; digital marketing and design; humanities and social sciences. A full list of the eligible courses is available on www.itcarlow.ie.

    Applications for the new scholarship are now being accepted via www.itcarlow.ie with a closing date of 30 July and the term to commence this September. Successful applicants will be known as Institute of Technology Carlow Postgraduate PFAI/FAI Scholars.

    Speaking at the launch of the new postgraduate scholarship, David Denieffe, Registrar and Vice-President for Academic Affairs at IT Carlow said, “Institute of Technology Carlow is delighted to provide this unique opportunity for football players and ex-players to progress to postgraduate study. This scholarship programme builds on our long-standing and highly successful relationship with the FAI and incorporates PFA Ireland. We look forward to continuing to build on these very strong relationships into the future.”

    Republic of Ireland Under-21 Men’s team manager Jim Crawford was present for the launch of the postgraduate scholarship programme at IT Carlow alongside FAI Regional Manager Barry Ferguson and Peamount United Women’s National League and FAI Cup winner Lauryn O’Callaghan, a student at IT Carlow.

    Well qualified to talk on the subject, Jim Crawford returned to education towards the end of his playing career and completed a master’s degree in his mid-40s. He commented, “This scholarship programme will greatly assist current and former players and coaches with their education and post-playing career prospects. I know from personal experience that it can be a challenging time for players and ex-players as they look to return to and progress within education. This scholarship has the potential to have a hugely positive impact on the successful applicants.”

    IT Carlow sports scholar Lauryn O’Callaghan said, “As I enter the final year of my honours degree here in IT Carlow, I already have one eye on ‘what’s next’ in terms of my progression to masters level. I am considering the MSc in Strength and Conditioning in the future as I will continue to combine training and playing with Peamount United alongside work and study. It’s great to know that there are opportunities to apply for a postgraduate scholarship such as the one announced here today.”

    PFA Ireland Player Executive Ollie Cahill commented, “PFA Ireland is delighted to be working with IT Carlow and the FAI in offering this new postgraduate scholarship opportunity for our members. It is a new and exciting concept and IT Carlow is hugely supportive of players and ex-players in their educational endeavours. We look forward to working with them on this programme, and other similar opportunities, in the future”.

    Representatives from IT Carlow, PFA Ireland and the FAI were also in attendance for the announcement including: IT Carlow Director of Sport Dónal McNally; Declan Doyle, Vice-President for Development and Research, IT Carlow; Paul O’Reilly, FAI IT Carlow Football Programme Manager; Will Clarke, FAI League of Ireland Academy Development Manager; and Ollie Cahill, PFA Ireland Player Executive.

    League of Ireland Academy Development Manager Will Clarke said, “The FAI and IT Carlow have a longstanding relationship since the launch of the BA Sports Coaching and Business Management degree programme in 2009. We are delighted to further develop this relationship by collaborating in this new IT Carlow/PFA Ireland/FAI postgraduate scholarship, the first of its kind in Ireland. This is the first time the three bodies have come together to offer a scholarship at this level and it is a significant milestone in player education and support within Irish football. We look forward to working closely with both IT Carlow and PFA Ireland on this initiative.”

    IT Carlow will assess applications and entry criteria for the Institute of Technology Carlow Postgraduate PFA Ireland/FAI Scholarship. For more information, contact paul.oreilly@itcarlow.ie.