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South East Technological University (SETU), in partnership with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), and the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland (PFA Ireland) has launched its annual postgraduate scholarship open to football players and coaches, both past and present, who wish to study at SETU.

SETU is the only Irish university to offer a postgraduate football scholarship. Its goal is to encourage the pursuit of postgraduate study among players and former players across all levels of the game, including at men’s and women’s international and League of Ireland levels. SETU aims to provide an innovative higher education experience to participants where their expert, first-hand knowledge and skills can contribute to research and learning at the university. This is carried out while facilitating scholarship participants’ continued involvement in the sporting arena.

Speaking about the benefits of the postgraduate scholarship, David Denieffe, Vice-President for Academic Affairs at SETU in Carlow said; “We are delighted here at SETU to continue our work with FAI and PFA Ireland to provide this scholarship opportunity to players, former players, and coaches. It provides an excellent opportunity for participants to progress to postgraduate study, while maintaining their sports interests. The programme builds on at long-standing and highly successful relationship with our partners and we are thrilled to witness the success of existing scholarship participants, while welcoming new students in the coming semester.”

Now in its second year, the scholarship is available to applicants across 34 postgraduate programmes of study at SETU’s campus in Carlow. This includes courses from higher certificate to masters level, across six academic departments including: engineering, science; computing and data science; business; digital marketing and design; humanities and social sciences. A full list of the eligible courses is available here »

Paul O’Reilly, representative from the FAI, commented, “We’re delighted to be part of the continuation of this postgraduate scholarship opportunity for a third year. It offers current and former players and coaches a chance to continue their education, upskill, and attain new qualifications. The supports on offer within this scholarship will now make masters and higher diploma courses a financially viable option for a large cohort of current and former players and coaches of international teams, and from the men’s and women’s national leagues. The collaboration highlights the combined commitment of SETU, FAI and PFA Ireland to the development of current and former players and coaches by supporting them to fulfil both their sporting and academic potential.”

John McGuinness, Player Executive at PFA Ireland, commented, “PFA Ireland is delighted to continue its relationship with SETU and the FAI in offering this postgraduate scholarship opportunity for our members. Education is a key component of the development of any individual, and we always encourage our members to prepare for their transition out of football. This scholarship provides an opportunity to take the next step on the education ladder and prepare for the future.”

Speaking about her experience of the scholarship programme, SETU student, Hannah Tobin Jones said; “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to study the MSc. in Strength and Conditioning programme at SETU. This course will allow me to progress in my current career as an athletic therapist, with a particular focus on rehabilitation and return-to-play aspects. The knowledge and skills that I’m obtaining will open new opportunities to work as a strength and conditioning coach with both individuals, and teams. Without this scholarship I would not have been able to progress my education while balancing my job working with the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team and playing football in the League of Ireland with DLR Waves. I’m excited about the future that SETU is helping me to shape and would recommend others to pursue this scholarship.”

Applications for the annual scholarship are now open at this link with a closing date of 5pm on Friday, 25 August 2023. Programme commencement is in September 2023. Successful applicants will be known as SETU Postgraduate PFA Ireland/FAI Scholars.

For more information on eligibility criteria, contact [email protected] or call +353 (0)86 075 8499

L-R, Denise O’Sullivan, Ireland international player and professional footballer with North Carolina Courage, of the NWSL, USA; and Hannah Tobin Jones, SETU student and scholarship recipient, photographed during Hannah’s role as sports therapist with the Irish women’s national team.