News and Views

Olympian Paul O’Donovan secures Quercus Scholarship

4 Sep 2018

It’s been a busy summer of rowing for Skibbereen Olympian Paul O’Donovan and it’s going to get a whole lot busier as he takes on the challenge of Graduate Entry Medicine in UCC this week.

O’Donovan, Olympic silver medallist from Rio in 2016 in the lightweight double sculls and double world championship gold medallist in the single sculls, was awarded UCC’s top sporting accolade over the summer, a Quercus Sports’ Scholarship.

“The scholarship recognises sporting excellence and Paul embodies all that the Programme could wish for in a Quercus Scholar”, said Prof John O’Halloran, UCC Deputy President and Registrar and also Director of the Quercus Programme.  “At UCC we believe in creating an environment in which academic excellence can be combined with opportunities for personal development, independent thinking and the nurturing of talent across many domains. Paul has excelled in so many ways. We are delighted that he becomes a UCC student today and look forward to supporting him in realising all his ambitions” added Prof O’Halloran.

One of those ambitions is in the very immediate future with the world championships in Bulgaria taking place this weekend. Paul will pair with his brother Gary and a podium finish is the target.

“In fact, I am heading to Bulgaria today to begin preparations for the world championships, so I’ll only just have started here in UCC and I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks!” said Paul.  “UCC and the Quercus Programme have been extremely accommodating and my absence has been planned for well in advance. I am really looking forward to starting Graduate Entry Medicine and honoured to be doing it as a Quercus Sports’ Scholar. I am lucky that UCC recognises my love of rowing and my passion for medicine and will support me in balancing both” added Paul.

Joining Paul at the World Championships in Bulgaria are two other UCC Quercus Scholars, Nutritional Sciences student, Ronan Byrne, in the heavyweight double sculls and fellow Skibbereen native, Aoife Casey, in the lightweight double sculls.

Paul is part of the fifth intake into the Quercus Talented Students’ Programme. The scholarship programme is now supported by Ford, with the announcement having been made by William Clay Ford, Jr, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company and great-grandson of Henry Ford during a visit to UCC in April 2017 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Ford in Ireland

“Having such a talented trio of Quercus Scholars representing their country in the world championships is a proud day for UCC and we wish them all the very best of luck” concluded Prof O’Halloran.


For more about the Quercus Talented Students’ Programme at UCC visit here

For more on this story contact:

Michèle Power, Programme Manager, Quercus Talented Students’ Programme, UCC Tel: 021-4904688 or Email:

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