Four students from Mary Immaculate College (MIC) have been awarded bursaries in honour of MIC graduate and Tipperary ladies footballer, Rachel Kenneally.
The Rachel Kenneally Memorial Award, a bursary scheme funded by Munster LGFA, was announced by MIC last February in honour of Rachel who sadly passed away in 2018 at the age of 26.
Sophie Hennessy, Fiona Keating, Kate Hickey and Micaela Glynn from Clare are the first cohort of students to be awarded bursaries under this scheme with each valued at €750.
At the inaugural presentation of the Rachel Kenneally Memorial Award, which took place online, President of MIC, Professor Eugene Wall, commended the students for their commitment to ladies football and congratulated them on receiving these awards in recognition of their sporting achievements.
Speaking at the presentation, Professor Wall said, “Ladies football has a long tradition at MIC and we are committed to supporting female athletes and coaches while they are students here at the College, and also within their own communities. In awarding Sophie, Fiona, Micaela and Kate these bursaries, it is envisaged that they will contribute to college life, and to their clubs and counties by playing, coaching, promoting and by being ambassadors for the sport. We are delighted to be able to honour MIC graduate, Rachel Kenneally in this way and these awards reflect our commitment to the development of high value scholarship initiatives and award schemes.”
For the four recipients of the Rachel Kenneally Memorial Award, Rachel was a player who they and many of their peers look to for inspiration.
Speaking at the online presentation, Rachel’s father, Denis Kenneally, said, “It is a huge honour for Mary (Rachel’s mother) and I, as well as Rachel’s sisters, Laura and Louise in Australia, and her extended family, for Rachel to be remembered in this way. We would like to congratulate the winners and also commend all of those who applied for this bursary scheme. It is a very difficult time for all but especially for young students. Rachel would be so proud of you all. Never give up hope – tomorrow is a new day.”
Jerome Casey, President of Munster LGFA, said, “Munster LGFA is delighted to sponsor these bursaries for students in Mary Immaculate College in memory of Tipperary’s Rachel Kenneally. It is an honour to be partnering with MIC in this initiative and it is wonderful to honour Rachel in this way.”
All of the awardees are in their first year of college at MIC. Sophie Hennessey, Micaela Glynn and Kate Hickey are each studying at MIC Limerick to become primary teachers, while Fiona Keating is studying at MIC Thurles to become a mathematics and business studies post-primary teacher. For Micaela, who hails from Kilmihil in Co. Clare, the suspension of team training and matches due to the lockdown has been difficult at times.
She said, “I miss the environment, as well as the support from my team mates and management who make it all worthwhile. I can’t wait to be back on the pitch playing football with those who I’ve grown up playing with. At the end of the day, it’s them I have to thank for my love of sport and I look forward to the competitiveness and group challenges to be back again.”
Rachel Kenneally graduated from MIC in 2013 having studied to become a primary teacher. The Aherlow club player was an integral member of the MIC ladies football team that were crowned Giles Cup champions in 2012 and having made her debut for the Tipperary senior ladies football team in 2009, Rachel played inter-county ladies football until 2014.