Women’s Student Coach Academy


Student Sport Ireland hosted their penultimate workshop for the Women's Student Coach Academy on Thursday 20th of April at the Sports Campus, Dublin with a panel discussion featuring Saragh Buggy, St Abban’s AC.

The Women’s Student Coaching Academy is a collaborative programme between SSI, Sport Ireland, 26 third level institutions and ten national governing bodies of sport (NGBs).

The ten NGBs include; Athletics Ireland, Badminton Ireland, Basketball Ireland, the Camogie Association, the Football Association of Ireland, Hockey Ireland, the Irish Rugby Football Union, the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, Rowing Ireland, and Volleyball Ireland.

The aim of the programme is to provide the female student coaches with the support system that will enable the students to develop and reach their coaching potential. Furthermore, the programme aims to increase the number, and visibility, of female coaches in third level institutions and create female role models for other female students to progress into coaching who are currently significantly less common than male coaches in third level institutions.

The 22/23 intake has the following athletics participants:

Niamh Moohan

ATU Donegal

Tir Chonail

Katie Gibbons

ATU Donegal

Castlebar ac

Paula Chioma Igwe

SETU Waterford

Ferrybank ac

Robin Sweeney

TU Dublin

Donore Harriers

Emma MCCay

Ulster University

City of Derry

Sophie Moroney

University of Limerick

Emerald AC

Orlaith Obrien

SETU Carlow

Waterford AC


The morning session saw students engaged in a workshop focusing on Fundamental Movement Skills delivered by 18-time national triple jump champion Saragh Buggy. Training as an elite athlete,  Saragh also coaches primary aged children multi sports and fundamental movement skills, and lectures in DCU St Patrick's Campus, Drumcondra.

Saragh was a part of an insightful panel discussion with a number of Ireland’s leading coaches such as :

-Basketball Ireland Leinster Head Coach Erin Bracken who has over 10 years coaching experience in competitive super league basketball.

-Janet Walsh of Rowing Ireland, coach at the Junior World Championship’s

- Chloe Farrell , taekwondo star and now working as a Sports Development Officer, shared her experience in various coaching settings.

Questions were posed to the panel by the female student coaches in attendance about their coaching journey, its beginnings, biggest challenges, what has kept them going and what they enjoy most. Speakers had informed the participants of the importance of athlete centred coaching, which will enhance performance but most importantly encourage and empower their athletes to gain and take ownership of the coaching processes.

This kind of advice will likely be invaluable to the student coaches as they begin their coaching journey and will help them to stay involved through life stages. The panel also discussed how special coaching is and that the relationships built and rewards from seeing people progress and grow in confidence is more enjoyable long term than any medal wins. They spoke of coaches and role models they admire the most as those who show kindness over the years and offer encouragement to all in the sport, creating a sense of community.

We look forward to working with Student Sport Ireland on the academy as it develops further and to Noel Holohan of Student Sport Ireland for organising and we wish Saragh all the best for a busy Summer season, thanking her for taking the time to come to speak to these young female coaches.

For any queries regarding this programme, please email lillyannohora@athleticsireland.ie  

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