“I have achieved so much during my time here in UL. Because of my Co-op placement, I have been offered a job when I graduate, and in sport, I have earned awards like National Player of the Year.”

With an impressive record of achievements both on and off the courts, Tiarnán O’Donnell is an incredible ambassador for the University of Limerick. Having captained the Irish U23 Wheelchair Basketball team to the medal podium in Finland, and with eyes now set on the Paris 2024 Paralympics, Tiarnán looks back on his journey and his academic goal to study Mechanical Engineering at UL.

Overcoming challenges

“At the age of five, I was diagnosed with a rare malformation in my right leg and underwent operations every few months throughout the rest of my childhood,” Tiarnán explains. “When I reached my teens, my condition began to rapidly deteriorate. After my Leaving Cert, I made the difficult decision to amputate my leg. This was the best decision I ever made, and I have never looked back.”

Pursuing Engineering at UL

“Engineering in UL is a highly sought-after course, and I was determined to study here. With excellent modules and the Co-op placement, it makes my degree even more valuable. I was also attracted by the amazing sporting facilities on campus that allowed me to pursue my sporting goals while attaining a top-class education.”

Impact of sports scholarship

“I was fortunate to receive a sports scholarship for the duration of my time here, and it was a huge achievement as UL has the most competitive sporting academy in the country. Receiving the scholarship has allowed me to excel in my sport - I am twice the athlete I was when I arrived in UL, thanks to the facilities and support I received while here.”

Academic and sporting highlights

“I have achieved so much during my time here at UL. I have been offered a job when I graduate because of my Co-op placement. In sport, I have climbed to the top, earning a National Player of the Year award as well as a European All-Star. More recently, I won a national rowing title with UL. I also earned the opportunity to row for Ireland in an international regatta this summer, which has been a great experience.”

Gratitude and reflections

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my amazing family who were there for me every day and my friends who never let me fall behind anytime I was too ill to attend college. The friends you make here are truly friends for life. Co-op was my favourite part of the course as I learned so much during the nine months in industry and it really gave me the grá for research and development in engineering. It just shows if you want something badly enough, you can achieve it.”

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