Deirdre McNally – BEd (Hons) in Early Education and Care

Name: Deirdre McNally

School: Sancta Maria College Louisburgh, Mayo.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to choose your course: 

My name is Deirdre McNally. I am 21 years old, from Louisburgh Co. Mayo. I have a twin sister Kathleen McNally who also attends ATU Sligo and is receiving a sports scholarship as well. I have always been sports mad! I enjoy playing Gaelic and soccer with the college teams and I play with the Louisburgh Ladies GAA senior team. I also train the u8 and u10 ladies GAA team, and I enjoy watching them progress and improve each training session. I chose my course Early Education and Care as I have always had an interest in working with children and this course offers students endless possibilities of career opportunities in the future. 

Why did you choose ATU Sligo? 

I chose ATU Sligo as it had the course I wanted to do. Sligo is a lovely town and I knew that they put endless time and effort into all of their sports team and have top-class sports facilities as I had played a couple of Gaelic matches at their facilities over the years. 

What advice would you give someone thinking about choosing ATU Sligo? 

I would highly recommend ATU Sligo as it has a very modern campus and the sports facilities are top class. I like the atmosphere in the college and the canteen has amazing food! ATU Sligo is nice as you get to know so many new people and the lecturers know you on a first-name basis which is so beneficial and makes you feel at ease in the lectures and tutorials. 

Do you like Sligo as a student town? e.g. things to do, food, nightlife, clubs and societies, accommodation etc. 

Yes, Sligo is a great town for students. The campus is in an ideal location, within walking distance of everything. This makes it so handy for students living in nearby accommodation as nothing is too far away. This offers students opportunities to walk to college, restaurants, nightclubs, pubs, cinemas and shops in Sligo town which is so convenient for students.  

What specifically about your course do you particularly enjoy? 

I enjoy the 2 semesters of placement that my course offers. This sets us up for our future careers gaining some experience working in the area of Early Childhood during our studies. I also like how all the lecturers get to know you on a first-name basis, as it makes me feel comfortable to ask them if I have any queries. 

What would you say to a student thinking about studying your course? 

If you have an interest in working with children, then this is the course for you. The various modules offered such as creative practice, art, drama, law, child psychology, running the country and Child protection are so intriguing and interesting, they set you up well for a future career in the Early-Years sector. 

Tell us about your sporting career/success so far? 

I have always had a huge love for sports from the beginning. This was evident from a young age as I always brought a football with me when I would sleep in my cot. Being outside for hours practising my skills, was where I was happiest! I began playing Gaelic when I was 5 years old with the Louisburgh Ladies u10 team. I also was the only girl playing soccer on the local u10 boys’ team, which made me much tougher! I also played a lot of indoor soccer in my younger days. One of the first awards I won was “Star of the Future” after participating in the GAA Cul camp at aged 9. I continued playing Gaelic all through the years with Louisburgh and I am still playing today on our senior team. I began playing with the Louisburgh senior team, at age 13. 

What we have won: 

2020- Senior shield Div 2 winners 

2017- Intermediate championship winners. 

2015- Minor league winners 

2015- Top scorer award from Louisburgh GAA 

2014- u16 Div 2 winners 

2013- Junior championship winners. 

2013- Top scorer award from Louisburgh GAA. 

 I played Gaelic for 6 years with my secondary school Sancta Maria College. 

What we won: 

I received an award in 2015 from my secondary school which was “Junior Sports Player of the Year” 

In 2012 We won the Connacht C championship Schools final. 

In 2017 Connacht B Championship winners. 

I also played 5 years with Mayo ladies at u14, u16(x2) and u18(x2) levels, which was an unreal experience and I met so many wonderful people who I am still friendly with today. 

In 2016- We won The Connacht B u16 Championship. 

 I am now in my third year attending ATU Sligo. 

What I have won so far in my time at ATU Sligo: 

2018- GAA All Ireland intermediate Fresher Blitz winners. 

2019- Soccer Futsal All Ireland Indoor-soccer finals. 

 What is the best thing about sports and sports facilities at ATU Sligo? 

It is an unreal experience playing with your college team, getting a chance to represent the college in sports that you love to play. Being a part of a college sports team is one of my favourite parts of the university, the amount of people you meet from your own and other colleges, studying different courses and in different years, is incredible. I also like travelling to away games as it is so beneficial getting to see what other colleges are like and their pitches and facilities, but none compare with ATU Sligo of course! At games all of the managers of the college teams look after us so well sorting us out with buses, gear and food before and after the games, you almost feel like a celebrity, walking into the canteen to get your breakfast before the match! The GAA, Astroturf and soccer pitch are top quality, the best I have seen around. The indoor gym and changing rooms are very modern, clean and well looked after. Overall, the sports, gym, pitches and changing rooms at ATU Sligo are of high quality. 

How has the sports scholarship benefited you? What are the advantages of it? 

Getting the sports scholarship has given me a huge amount of confidence. In my second year, for semester 2 I was on placement in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. I continued to travel long hours to Sligo and sometimes had to leave placement early to attend the soccer and GAA matches as I didn’t want to miss out on the fun and let my teams down. I am honoured to receive this scholarship as I have put in lots of effort, time and long hours to represent the college team in soccer and GAA. I look forward to representing ATU Sligo in soccer and GAA and winning some more silverware! 

Find out more about AU919 Bachelor of Education (Honours) in Early Education and Care

Find out more about ATU Sligo Sports Scholarships