Women in Sport 2017 – Niamh O’Donoghue

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.

Niamh O’Donoghue 

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

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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