Women in Sport 2017 – Fiona Coghlan

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.

Fiona Coghlan

In a week where the adversity facing Women in Sport was to the fore, Fiona Coghlan is an appropriate addition to our list of the Most Influential Women in Irish Sport for 2017.

Coghlan was captain of the Irish Women’s Rugby team when they had the journey from hell to get to a Six Nations match against France in Pau in 2012.

They lost that day by a single point but the media storm around the comparison of the treatment faced by the men’s and women’s team gave rise to a new momentum that she was instrumental in harnessing.

Within a year the team had won a first Grand Slam, another 18 months on and they had defeated New Zealand for the first time and reached the semi final of the World Cup.

This year they will host that very tournament with a legacy ambition to have an additional 2017 players registered in the game.

All of that might have happened without Coghlan’s drive and influence, who knows.  She would probably be the first to suggest that of course it would but the fact is she was there.  She led a group of players, and indeed a sport, from where they were to where they went.

She is a teacher in Lucan but has not gone quietly away from public life.  She is an ambassador for the Women’s Rugby World Cup, an Ambassador for Liberty Insurance’s efforts to push parity of esteem for Women in Sport and she is Chair of the Dublin City Council Sport and Wellbeing Partnership.

She persuades people to do the right thing without ever being pushy.  She wears the cloak of leadership that came from the rugby scrum comfortably into so many other areas of sporting and public life.

Sport is always a game of inches and the post Pau Irish team could have gone another way.  The reality is though that they became winners.  They still are and that is a reflection of the leader they had at the time within their ranks.

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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