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Cork's Mary O'Connor to be Honoured by University College Cork

UCC marks centenary of sport with honorary conferrings of sporting legends

Cork, 24 August 2012 –University College Cork will recognise some of Ireland’s greatest sportspeople at a unique Honorary Conferring ceremony on 7 September 2012. The event is the latest in a series of events marking UCC’s centenary of sport, UCC Sport 1911-2011.

“Sporting success has been at the heart of UCC for over 100 years since the purchase of the Mardyke lands in 1911. As part of our centenary celebrations, we wanted to pay tribute to sports people that have created a sporting legacy for Ireland, and whose drive and dedication reflect our commitment to sport at UCC”, said President Michael Murphy.

Former Ireland and Manchester United soccer player, Denis Irwin, will be honoured by UCC for his outstanding professional soccer career, which saw him capped 56 times for Ireland, and awarded with Premiership Medals (7), UEFA Champions League Medal and FA Cups (3).

With a Bachelor of Arts and Masters degree in Business Economics from UCC already, Ronan O’Gara will be conferred with an honorary doctorate for his contribution to Irish rugby. O’Gara is Ireland’s most capped player and has captained Munster, Ireland and the British & Irish Lions. He is the all-time highest points scorer for both Munster and Ireland.

Mary O’Connor will receive an honorary doctorate for her incredible achievements as both Camogie and Gaelic Football player. One of the most honoured players in the history of the GAA, she has won 7 All-Ireland Camogie medals and 5 All Ireland Ladies Gaelic Football medals, as well as 3 All Star Awards in Camogie and one in Ladies Gaelic Football.

Irish hurling legend and Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody, will also be conferred at the honorary ceremony for his enormous contribution to Irish hurling. Under his management, the Kilkenny hurling team has won 8 All-Ireland titles, 11 Leinster titles and 4 National League titles and have been an unstoppable force in the hurling world. As the longest serving manager in the game, Cody has transformed hurling coaching and management, and continues to be a driving force in hurling excellence in Ireland.

Aidan O’Brien, who is widely acknowledged as the greatest horse trainer in Ireland and the UK, will also be conferred with an honorary doctorate from UCC. From Istabraq to Rip van Winkle and Giants Causeway, horses trained by Aidan O’Brien have achieved enormous success at home and abroad, and his commitment to this sport and to Ireland has yielded enormous benefits to the Irish equestrian and equine industry.

These sporting heroes will be welcomed to UCC by President Michael Murphy on Friday, 7th September 2012 when an exceptional honorary conferrings ceremony will take place. Sports stars, sporting celebrities, families and friends of the guests of honour will be on campus to celebrate this great honour as well as UCC’s centenary of sport.

The centenary of sport, UCC Sport 1911-2011 started in December 2011, and has included a number of outstanding events and capital developments, in particular the official opening of the newly extended Mardyke Pavilion, an international Olympic conference, the opening of the redeveloped Mardyke Arena and most recently the announcement of Elite Sports Scholarships.

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