Women in Sport 2017 – Jessica Harrington

Sport for Business, in partnership with Liberty Insurance, today begins the publication of our annual list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Irish Sport.

For 2017 we are extending the recognition given to women who are taking a lead role in sport by also identifying 50 of the next generation that are coming through, at pace, to make their mark within sport.

This is not about Women’s sport, it is about the influence that women are wielding across all sport.  We will identify leaders on and off the field of play.  They will include those who are role models in terms of their abilities on and off the field of play.  They will come from teams and individual sports, from sponsorship partners, from the media, from the administrative corridors of power and from places where influence may be subtle but no less powerful.

There are those who stand out as obvious candidates and others who you may be meeting for the first time.  The one common thread among our two groups of 50 women is that they care about sport and are using their intelligence, insight and powers of innovation to make sport relevant to all.

Jessica Harrington 

Age should never be a barrier to ambition and trying something new should never be a step too far.

Jessica Harrington has lived up to both of those maxims throughout her career as a racehorse trainer and has doubled down in 2017 at the age of 70.

She needed one winner at this year’s Cheltenham Festival to become the most successful woman trainer of all time at the ‘World Cup’ of her sport.

She secured that in the biggest race of them all with Sizing John in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.  It completed a full house of the Champion Hurdle with Jezki (2014) and the Champion Chase with Moscow Flyer (2003 and 2005).

Sizing John was her first time entering a horse in the race so her eye for talent is focused not only on those she think will win but also on those for whom the biggest prizes might be tilting at windmills.

Racing is one of the few sports where men and women compete against each other both in the saddle and in the management of horse as trainers.

Harrington has scaled the ultimate height in the latter having previously represented Ireland as a three day eventer at World Championships and Olympic Games.

Mary Davis, Special Olympics

Sonia O’Sullivan, Olympian

Sinead Galvin, Galvin Sports Management

Evanne Ní Chuillin, Joanne Cantwell and Jacqui Hurley, RTÉ

Louise Kidd, AIG Insurance

Ellen Keane, Paralympian

Siobhan Earley, Gaelic Players Association

Maeve Buckley, Line Up Sports

Suzanne Eade, Horse Racing Ireland

Sinead Heraty, Irish Ladies Golf Union

Sinead Kissane, Journalist at TV3

Irene Gowing and Sorcha Fennell Sheehan, Bord Gais Energy

Jo Donnellan, Sponsorship Manager at Heineken

Elaine Carey, Chief Commercial Officer Three Ireland

Sarah O’Connor, Head of Sport at Wilson Hartnell

Georgina Drumm, President at Athletics Ireland

Sue Ronan, Head of Women’s Football at FAI

Fiona Hampton, Head of Sales and Marketing at Ulster Rugby

Karen Campion, Head of Business Partnerships at FAI

Miriam Malone, CEO at Paralympics Ireland

Cliona Foley, Journalist

Cliona O’Leary, Head of TV Sport at RTÉ

Edel McCarthy, Sponsorship Manager Electric Ireland

Lisa Browne, Head of Marketing Electric Ireland

Sarah O’Shea, Honorary General Secretary at Olympic Council of Ireland

Helen O’Rourke, CEO at Ladies Gaelic Football Association

Kelli O’Keefe, Teneo PSG

Jennifer Gleeson, Sponsorship Manager at Diageo

Mary O’Connor, CEO Federation of Irish Sport

Carol McMahon, Ulster Bank

Deirdre Ashe, Liberty Insurance

Sian Gray, Head of Marketing at Lidl

Roisin Glynn, Social media Manager at AIB

Michelle Tanner, Head of Sport at Trinity College

Gemma Bell, Sponsorship Manager at Bank of Ireland

Tracey Kennedy, Chair Cork County GAA Board

Katie Taylor, World Champion Boxer

Joy Neville, Referee

Niamh O’Donoghue, FAI Board Member

Joan O’Flynn, CEO Camogie Association

Lindsay Peat, Rugby Player

Annalise Murphy, Olympian Sailor

Dee Forbes, Director General at RTÉ

Emma Byrne, Footballer 

Fiona Coghlan, Grand Slam Rugby Winning Captain

Dr Una May, Head of Participation at Sport Ireland

Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone

Cora Staunton, Ladies Gaelic Footballer

Sarah Keane, President Olympic Council of Ireland

Jessica Harrington, racehorse trainer and Irish Times Sportswoman of 2017

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