30 Under 30 – Leaders of Tomorrow

Sport for Business 30 Under 30 identifies those who will be among the next generation of Ireland’s sporting leaders.

We have received nominations from the worlds of Gaelic Games, Rugby, Soccer, High Performance, Golf, agencies involved in sports marketing, brands involved in sponsorship and some of the technical areas of sports performance.

We have always believed in the power of youth to effect change and in the benefit of mentoring to develop potential.

This is an exciting adventure to put that belief into practice.


Leanne Sheill

Leanne Sheill is Marketing Manager with responsibility for Sponsorship and Loyalty at SSE Airtricity.  She looks after a sponsorship portfolio that extends across some of the islands largest properties from the SSE Airtricity League to the SSE Arena in Belfast.

This is the tenth year of the partnership between the brand and Irish Football where it is also the Official Energy Partner to the FAI and the International teams in the Men’s and the Women’s Games.

Sheill stepped up into the Management role in 2017,  having worked alongside Anne McAreavey previously, and has also been involved with the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon over the past five years.

Sheill graduated from Griffith College Dublin with a BA Degree in Business Studies and Marketing.


Paddy Carberry

Paddy Carberry is a key member of the sponsorship team at Vodafone Ireland.

He was part of the crew in London earlier this month to collect three awards at the prestigious European Sponsorship Awards for the work done on Vodafone’s #TeamofUs and Centre Stage sponsorship platforms.

Carberry has been with Vodafone for four years having joined as part of their Graduate programme after completing a primary degree in DCU in Journalism and Irish followed by a Business Masters in Next Generation Management.

Working across both strands of Vodafone’s sporting and entertainment portfolios of sponsorship has seen him active from Chicago to the Iveagh Gardens with content creation at the heart of the twin strategies.

He has maintained a desire to learn, completing the European Sponsorship Association Diploma in 2017 and also represented Ireland last year at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity


Ross O’Dwyer

Ross O’Dwyer is CEO and co-founder with Richard Barrett of Pundit Arena, the online sports media hub that has sprung to life alongside SportsJoe and Balls as an alternative to the mainstream media in recent years.

With a strong original focus on challenger sports like MMA, latest developments on the service have focused on Rugby and an advance on the wider UK market.

O’Dwyer was a key mover behind the site securing broadcast rights to the Barbarians match at Thomond Park against Tonga in November as well as the Barbarian’s first ever Women’s match at the same venue against Munster.

A Graduate of Commerce and International Marketing from UCC, it was an incubator at that venue which helped in the creation of Pundit Arena.  O’Dwyer is a mentor with Enterprise Ireland and also a co-founder of the One-Zero event bring sport and technology together in Dublin over the past three years.


Aisling Fox

Aisling Fox is a Digital Marketing Assistant with AIG and has played a key role in their sponsorship activation with Dublin GAA, The All Blacks, Irish Golf and Irish Tennis.

She joined the company in 2016 after winning a “GenWhy” Fellowship targeting graduate millennials.  The winners spent the summer creating innovative solutions to the problem of making the company, the brand and its products more relevant to a young audience.

At the end, Fox was rewarded with a full-time job on the Marketing team and has continued to shine.

Originally from Leitrim, she completed a Masters Degree in International Marketing with Consumer Psychology from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh and had previous spells working in marketing with Smith and Wollensky in Boston and In the Company of Huskies in Dublin.


Declan Healy

Declan Healy is Head of Marketing and Events at Mondello Park.  In his 29 years, he has lived a life less ordinary.  Responsible in 2017 for a 34 percent lift in Mondello Park’s digital audience this is a big year for the track celebrating its 50th Anniversary.

Healy has plans for live streaming, for original content and for a programme to transform the way that circuit racing is promoted and engaged with.

He has a background in entertainment having graduated from DCU with a degree in Arts, Entertainment and Media before returning to secure a Masters degree in Business from the UCD Smurfit Business School.

In whatever spare time he has he still performs live as a musician and manages an amalgamated Hurling team in West Wicklow.


Jenny Kelly

Jenny Kelly is a Consultant with Teneo PSG and part of the strong young team that landed the Sponsorship Agency of the Year Award at last week’s European Sponsorship Awards.

Nominated for this recognition by one of the clients she works with Kelly was described as having “phenomenal knowledge of the sports world and set to become one of the leading faces of the agency world in the coming years.”

She graduated from Maynooth University with a Degree in Business and management and has since undertaken courses specific to the PR world at the Public Relations Institute of Ireland and the European Institute of Communications.

She not only talks well on sport but also plays having represented the Dublin Club All-Stars against the Dublin Ladies Football team in January.


Niall McGovern

Niall McGovern is the Player Development Manager with the Gaelic Players Association.  He is the main contact point between the players from around the country and their Association in terms of what they need and what the GPA can deliver.

He meets the challenge of finding ways to help players achieve their potential on the field of play without it impacting on their lives, study and careers.

He has walked their path as well as Captain of the Dublin U21 Football team in 2013.  He completed a degree in Health Promotion from Dundalk IT in 2014 and has shown a commitment to his own personal development through completing a Diploma in Personal and Business Coaching through the Irish Life Coaching Institute.



Joe Walsh

It is unlikely there will be anyone younger on this list but there is no doubt that Joe Walsh, despite still studying for his Leaving Certificate at St Michael’s College, deserves his place.

With the impetuosity of youth, his self-declared ambition is to be the Head Coach of the Irish Rugby Team.  With the dedication of one who will give himself every chance, he has been putting in the hard yards.

He has specialised in video analysis and has built an incredible resumé of working with teams including Railway Union, Lansdowne and Coolmine RFC here in Dublin as well as taking the opportunity to shadow coaching staff and analysis teams at London Irish, Grenoble, Saracens and at Leinster, Munster, with the Irish team and with last year’s British and Irish Lions group.

Walsh decided at the age of 13 that it was coaching rather than playing that would define his relationship with sport.  He spoke at last year’s Zeminar event on a subject of ‘My Ambitious Story’.  It seems likely that story will take in a lot of high points along the way.


Amy Lynch

Amy Lynch is Sponsorship and Social media Manager at Aviva.

At last years Irish Sponsorship Awards she was the recipient of the Rising Star in Sponsorship Award and with Aviva signing an extension of five more years as sponsors of the Stadium that bears its name there will be plenty to get her teeth into.

After graduating with a Law degree from NUI Galway in 2014 the role of marketing and sponsorship might not have been an obvious path but she has taken to it in style.

With a key role in the sponsorship team, Lynch works across a range of programmes in soccer and rugby from the high end of experiential marketing at the big stadium events through to grassroots activation with mini rugby and soccer sisters.

All Aviva’s social media content creation is her responsibility and she is also a contributor to the other marketing elements driven by the sponsorship programme.


Ross Hamilton

Ross Hamilton is the Sports performance Development Officer at Trinity College Dublin and a fine example of switching dreams.

After completing a Natural Science degree in Trinity he focused on full-time sailing, competing for Ireland at three World Championships but narrowly missing out on London 2012.

He went back to college, completed a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology and is now charged with providing the support necessary for Trinity to up their game in the upper echelons of sport.

His role includes elements of Talent ID, performance management and managing Trinity’s Sports Scholarship Programme.


Sarah Crowe

Sarah Crowe is a key player in the project at the Confederation of Irish Golf which will bring the Irish Ladies Golf Union and the Golfing Union of Ireland together as a  single governing body for the sport.

A graduate in Politics and Public Administration from the University of Limerick she then spent time working at the European Parliament and in public affairs with Edelman in Brussels.

Two years as a Communications Manager looking after internal and external messaging with the ILGU led to her being appointed as Project Manager overseeing the coming together of the two governing bodies of golf, a role she has thrived in.


Gordon Britchfield

Gordon Britchfield is Sponsorship and Marketing Manager at eir and responsible for the activation of such high profile partnerships as with the GAA All Ireland Championships, as well as eir’s wider reach into entertainment and business.

He also retains responsibility for the marketing and PR function at eir Sport.

It was with the channel that he cut his teeth through such high profile wins as securing exclusive rights to Ireland’s victory in the AIG International against New Zealand in Chicago in 2016 and as the broadcaster here of Conor McGregor’s UFC fights and the 2020 Rugby World Cup.

Originally from County Clare, 27-year-old Britchfield qualified from Limerick Institute of Technology with a first class honours degree in Business Studies and Sports Management.

Immensely popular across the fields of sponsorship and media, Britchfield has achieved an awful lot in his career to date with the promise of more to come as eir expands still further.


Niamh O’Sullivan

Niamh O’Sullivan is the High-Performance Programme and Planning Manager at Sport Ireland. She has been in the role since November 2016 and is a key contributor to the High-Performance plans drawn up across all sports.

She brought experience in the day to day management of high performance having served in High-Performance roles at Swim Ireland prior to widening her brief within sport.

O’Sullivan graduated with honours from UCD’s Sport and Exercise Management course in 2012 and has been working towards an MBA in Business Administration and management from the Edinburgh Business School over the past three years.

The Kerry native is 27 years old and has a sporting pedigree to match her academic one having competed for Ireland at the Swimming World Championships in 2009 and 2011.


The criteria for submission is that the person should be working within the sports industry, or in a sponsorship or agency capacity that is bringing sport to life, and that they should be born in or after 1988.

We will identify those individuals over the coming weeks and provide a platform for them to share their thoughts on how Sport in Ireland can continue to develop.

We will build a programme of support based on the creation of a network of young leaders that could be of benefit to them throughout their working lives, and to our industry as a whole.

This is not the time to be shy, this is an opportunity to put forward those you have come across that have struck you as having real potential, or indeed for you to put yourself forward.

It’s not about where you are now.  It’s all about where you could get to with the right breaks.

The nomination process is simple. Contact us today with a name and a few lines on why you or they could be one of our 30 Under 30 for 2018, and share your nomination on social media using #SFB30Under30

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