Women in Sport 2017 – Emma Byrne

Sport for Business, in partnership with Liberty Insurance, has begun the publication of our 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.

Emma Byrne

That was some week that Emma Byrne put down.  She is the most decorated Irish footballer in the history of the game with 127 caps for her country, twice voted Players Player of the Year by her peers in the English club game, an eleven time League title winner and with a EUFA Women’s Champions’ League Medal to add to the collection.

Her professional career spans nearly 20 years years and today she will take to the field as captain once more of the Republic of Ireland Women’s Senior Team.

All of that alone would merit a place on this list but in the wake of the stand for the right of the Women’s team to fair treatment from the FAI, her influence has moved up a significant amount.

As team captain she was to the fore in the call for better treatment that captured national and worldwide attention last week.  Having enjoyed such an illustrious career she was probably the player least in need of the match payments and kit but that was immaterial.

Hers was the voice calling out the unfairness of the initial decision three years ago to remove the match payment, her career continued so perhaps that gave her the courage to lead the team off the field again and into the storm of publicity that ultimately helped to win the right result.

Her playing career has entered a new phase, leaving Arsenal in December and starting with Brighton and Hove Albion with a new coaching responsibility as well.

Byrnes is a regular pundit on Eurosport coverage of the Women’s game and studying for a career in media when she does hang up her boots.

Everything she has done in her career to date suggests that she will be a winner in that too.

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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