Sport for Business, in partnership with Liberty Insurance, is publishing our third annual list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Irish 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.
At the 2017 AGM of the FAI, it was announced that Niamh O’Donoghue has become the first woman appointed to the FAI Board of Management.
The current chairperson of the Women’s Football Committee, O’Donoghue has been hugely influential in Irish football over the past three decades as she was part of the organising team for the UEFA Under 16 European Championships in 1994 and has helped to drive women’s football on to a new level.
Involved in football administration as a volunteer since the early 1980’s, O’Donoghue was elected as chair of the Ladies Football Association (subsequently renamed the Women’s Football Association of Ireland, WFAI) and joined the FAI National Council in 1991 when the LFAI achieved formal recognition from the FAI.
With that appointment, O’Donoghue became the first woman to be appointed to the FAI Council. She has served in both capacities ever since, in addition to playing a pivotal role on various committees, appeal boards and working groups under the aegis of the FAI.
As part of the process that saw the WFAI dissolved and women’s football integrated within the FAI by the creation of the Women’s Football Committee, the Association gave the commitment to appoint its chairperson to the FAI Board by 2018.
That commitment has now been honoured and it is fitting that O’Donoghue should be in place to become the first woman to join that top table group.
She used her speech in Kilkenny to press for further advances in equality.
As Secretary General of the Department of Social protection she has long been recognised for her talents as an individual in a wider world and she will remain one of the strongest voices for Women’s Sport in Ireland and one of the finest examples of how Women can achieve recognition in administration through talent
Mary Davis, Special Olympics
Sonia O’Sullivan, Olympian
Sinead Galvin, Galvin Sports Management
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