Honorary Membership awarded at SSI Annual General Meeting

March 1, 2021  |  News  |  Share

Student Sport Ireland at its annual general meeting on February 25th awarded honorary membership to three individuals namely, Joanne Wylde (nee O’Halloran), Paddy Gallagher (Paddy and Noel Collins (Cork IT) for their work and dedication to sport in the third level sector. The AGM took place virtually with citations presented by Terry McAuley (Trinity College Dublin), Tim O’Connor (Technological University of Dublin) and Miriam Deasy (Munster Technological University – Cork). It is hoped that certificates will be presented to the recipients and their families in person in the coming months when restrictions are eased.

Joanne Wylde (nee O’Halloran) RIP

Joanne Wylde (nee O’Halloran) – posthumously.

Joanne was a dear friend to many of us involved in student sport. Terry McAuley appointed her as Physical Recreation Officer in Trinity College Dublin from 1991 to 1997.  She was one of the original members of the Council of University Sports Administrators in Ireland (CUSAI) (a former version of SSI) in the early 1990’s and served as Honorary Treasurer for many years.  She was Head of Delegation at the World University Games in Fukuoka in 1995 and was involved in the administration of many teams and individuals who competed in the FISU World University Games and Championships around this time including the hosting of the World University Cross Country Championship in the University of Limerick in 1994 and the early proposals and discussions to support the hosting the World University Golf Championship in Coleraine, in 2002.  Additionally, her sister, Lesley, was the Tennis Coach/Manager at the World University Games in Daegu in 2003.

She gave hours of dedication and support to the development of student sport not just in her role in Trinity but also in equal amounts to CUSAI. She was a huge influencer and supporter for the development of student sport in Ireland and she was involved in the first ever recruitment of a part time paid role of ‘CUSAI Administrator’ for the organisation

She left student sport in 1997 for a new role as Manager at Loughlinstown Leisure Centre but she maintained contact with many of her friends and colleagues in student sport and later worked part time in UCD as lecturer in sport and recreation.

Sadly, Joanne passed away on the 29th December 2020 having been ill for some time.  She will be remembered for her kindness, her passion, her commitment, her friendship, her drive and determination, her competitiveness (and excellence) on the Tennis Court, and her fun and innate ability to put everyone she met at instant ease.

We hope that this Honorary Award from Student Sport Ireland will help her immediate family, husband Declan, her four children, Kevin, Michael, Sinead and Roisin, her brother John and two sisters Rocky and Lesley and her wider network of family and friends, to take some comfort to know that Joanne was truly special and appreciated by us all in Student Sport Ireland. We believe that the developments in student sport would not have occurred without her input in the early days. Her legacy and values live on in everything we do as professionals who support and develop student sport in Ireland. 

Jointly nominated by Terry McAuley and Michelle Tanner, both former Trinity College colleagues of Joanne.

Paddy Gallagher (Letterkenny IT)

Paddy Gallagher (Letterkenny IT)

Paddy started in Letterkenny IT (LYIT) in 1993 after transferring from the VEC (now known as the ETB).  LYIT as it is currently known, was the old Regional Technical College back in 1993.  Paddy previously spent around 15 years in the ETB before his transfer to LYIT.  In total, Paddy has 43 years of public service.  Paddy started off in LYIT in the Engineering Department administration before moving on to admissions and student services where he landed his most recent role of Sports Officer.  Paddy was also heavily involved in the Students Union throughout the years in LYIT and was responsible for the introduction of many programmes and events including the annual Student Achievement Awards which is the biggest night of the student calendar each year. 

His passion for football and athletics was well known and Paddy was a member of the backroom team for the two World University Games in 2001 in China and in 2003 in Korea. Paddy worked alongside Paul Walsh (Griffith College) as fixtures secretary with the CFAI executive committee for many years and was always available at the end of a phone to help his colleagues across the country.

Externally, Paddy has also been involved in coaching roles in sport down through the years, particularly Orchard, Letterkenny Rovers and most of all his beloved Finn Harps, which he will now also be involved with in his retirement.  Paddy, since earlier years was also involved in photography, a passion that he continued throughout the years both personally and in his role as Sports Officer in LYIT.  Paddy sadly lost his wife Patricia to cancer in 2019.  Paddy has 2 sons, Darren and David and 2 grandsons Blake & Luca.  He is looking forward to spending more time in his retirement with his family and also hopes to have more time to enjoy walking, running, football and photography.

Nominated by Paul Walsh (GCD), seconded by Michelle Tanner (TCD)

Noel Collins (Cork Institute of Technology)

Noel Collins (Cork IT) 

Noel gave 40 Years of Service to Cork IT (and Cork RTC originally) starting in 1977 and ‘officially’ retiring in June 2017. Noel was the driving force of HESF (Higher Education Sports Federation) an organisation set up by Dept of Ed to coordinate sport within the newly formed RTC sector in the 1970’s and continued to be involved on committees and working groups of the newly named ISSA (Irish Student Sport Association) before the merger with CUSAI, for several years.

Noel’s official title was Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sport, Leisure and Childhood Studies, but he performed many more roles outside that brief. To so many people across the higher education echelons – the name of Noel Collins is inextricably linked to sport at CIT.

He was, and continues to be, a living institution. As well as being a lecturing hero, Noel has coached, mentored, counselled, mediated, diagnosed and inspired so many students and staff during his time on the Bishopstown Campus. Despite retirement he remains as active as ever in the sporting circles of the now Munster Technological University, where his expertise is still widely sought. He is very much in touch with the modern student and he is still involved directly in the coaching and mentoring of the Cork Campus Student GAA Club and is currently involved with the Fresher Hurlers.

The fingerprints of Noel Collins are very much in evidence in the vast sporting infrastructure of the MTU Bishopstown Campus – and it was often his incessant campaigning and cajoling that ensured that the building of so many of the facilities now in place ever got off the ground. Before ever the term Student Centric became in vogue, he was a qualified practitioner – with student well-being central to his daily motivation.  His is a powerful legacy and an inspirational role model for us to follow. He continues to be fondly remembered by the thousands of students he encountered during his 40 years, as well as the staff, sporting organisations and governing bodies that all had experienced his passion for and immense knowledge of Irish Intervarsity Sports.

Nominated by Christine O’Donovan (UCC), seconded by Miriam Deasy (MTUC)


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