Jennifer Dunne - Excelling in Sport and in Life

Dublin Ladies footballer Jennifer Dunne, is in her 4th and final year of studying a Bachelor of Education at DCU. Jennifer is now the recipient of the Paddy J Wright Sport Memorial Scholarship for two years running. In this piece, she describes how the scholarship has helped her to juggle her final year studies and football at college, club and county level.


“I am delighted to be receiving this scholarship for a second year in a row as it helped me tremendously last year. The extra support has allowed me to really focus on my studies and my sporting career also. I began playing GAA at the young age of five and my family were hugely involved in my local club, Cuala. The sport has brought so much to my life, from developing unwavering determination to establishing life-long friendships. I have been playing with the Dublin Senior Ladies team for five years now. In that time, I have been lucky enough to play in my fair share of All-Ireland finals. Unfortunately, last year did not result in a win but it has done us the world of good as a team and sparked a new hunger within us to go on and give it our all this year.

As I joined the team from quite a young age, I have always looked up to my team mates and how they manage to juggle careers and family life with their training. This has set the standard for me in terms of working hard in training but also in my educational journey. The last year in college was difficult at times with Covid affecting us for another year. We were uncertain if teaching placements would go ahead but thankfully it has this semester and we were able to have on campus lectures last semester also. Being in person makes a huge difference to college life for me. I hadn’t seen some of my fellow course mates in over a year and I was really missing playing with the college football team too.

I am very glad to be back and am now on an eight-week placement in Rath Michael, a primary school in Shankill. I am thoroughly enjoying placement and see it also as a great opportunity to pass on my sporting knowledge to the children in the school. I hope this will stand to me when I apply for jobs this summer. I plan to lead by example and show my students that GAA and sport as a whole, can be hugely beneficial to your life. It is a great way for young people to build their confidence as well as relationships and trust. I know from personal experience that a team who has each other’s backs off the pitch, is one that plays better together on the pitch. I will aim to instil this within the students I teach and help to show them that staying fit and active can be lots of fun too.

As well as keeping busy with my studies and work experience, I am thrilled to be back playing college football. Being back together after Covid means we are reunited as a team but now also have some new faces joining us. Now in my final year, I am seen as somewhat of a leader on the team and it’s a great chance for me to develop my skills further in this way. We have made good progress so far and will have the opportunity to play in DCU in March for the O’Connor Cup. It’s great to be hosting and to have the facilities to do so in DCU. With balancing all of this, it has been immensely helpful to have the support of the scholarship. It is rare that I get time to rest but with the help of the scholarship, I can do so, instead of worrying about working part time on top of everything else.

‘I am hugely grateful and honoured to be receiving it two years in a row and I am proud to represent the hardworking females in GAA and sport in general.’


It is great to see how far we have come in that aspect and I am excited to see what the future holds.”

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