University College Cork (UCC) and Cork City FC have announced a five-year extension to their partnership that will see players from across the club gain scholarships and access to UCC’s world-class sports facilities.
Over 20 student athletes have benefited from UCC and Cork City’s decade-long partnership, and the extension of the agreement will ensure players from both the men’s and women’s team are afforded equal opportunity to further their footballing careers while studying at one of Ireland’s leading universities.
The deal sees UCC retain its position as Official Academic Partner to Cork City, and the university’s logo will appear on the sleeve of the men’s team’s home and away kits from next season until at least 2027.
As part of the agreement UCC and City will also work together to develop a research proposal in relation to the governance of football, develop UCC’s Degree in Sports Studies, Nutrition and other relevant sport and health-related academic matters.
Shaunagh McCarthy plays for City’s senior team while she studies for a Masters in Management and Marketing at UCC.
“It's really important to have the connection between UCC and Cork City, even for benefits such as using the facilities here. As a player, having the Mardyke Arena is a huge factor, having the gym to use, the pool for recovery and facilities like that. Then as a student, coming here to study at this recognised university, it is an honour to study and play here,” she said.
Kelly Leahy plays for City’s Under 19s team, and will this week be starting a Degree in Commerce in UCC.
“I’m buzzing to get started, it’s such a huge honour to get the scholarship, to play for City and come to UCC. It’s great for my development,” she said.
Welcoming the extension of the partnership, UCC President Prof John O’Halloran said:
“At UCC we pride ourselves on developing our graduates in a holistic sense, beyond their academic endeavours. We value sport as a key component of the third level student experience, playing its part in supporting this development of students in a healthy, social and high-quality environment.
“We are delighted to extend this long-running partnership with Cork City, as we have seen first-hand the positive outcomes it has yielded. Since 2012 we have worked together to dispel the notion that young players must forgo their education if they are to enjoy successful footballing careers.
“Thanks to our collective effort we have produced players who have obtained third-level qualifications while forging their footballing careers both here and overseas. This extension means our partnership with Cork City will run for at least 15 years continuously – we are proud supporters of the Rebel Army here at UCC,” he said.
Cork City FC Chairman Declan Carey said:
“Everyone at the club is delighted to be continuing our partnership with UCC. Over the last number of years, their support has been invaluable to the club and we look forward to this next chapter of our continued association with them.
“The formal addition of the women’s team to the partnership is another very positive step and one we are very pleased to be taking. Several players have combined their studies at UCC with playing for the club and this has set them up well for the future, both on and off the pitch. I am sure that this new partnership will offer further opportunities to players who will come up through the ranks over the next number of years.”
Éanna Buckley, Chief Operating Officer of Cork City FC commented:
“We are absolutely thrilled to have UCC continuing as a partner of the club. We have developed really close links over the last number of years, and this is a continuation of that. Whilst football is our primary focus, we believe it is extremely important to help prepare our players for life beyond football as well, and having a partnership like this will open many doors for our players into the future.
“I am particularly pleased that this new agreement will offer equal opportunities to players in our men’s and women’s teams; the women’s game is growing all the time and this is an important step for us as we look to develop on that front. I would like to thank the President, Diarmuid Collins, and JP Quinn, as well as their colleagues, for their support of the club.”