Offaly footballer graduates from GPA leadership programme at Maynooth University

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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Offaly footballer graduates from GPA leadership programme at Maynooth University

Stephen Lonergan receives his award at Maynooth University

An Offaly footballer was among 24 talented GAA players to graduate from The Jim Madden GPA Leadership Programme at a special ceremony in Maynooth University last Friday, January 25.

A further ten players graduated from the Special Purpose Award in Professional Leadership – an optional accreditation pathway for those who have already completed the initial programme.

The Jim Madden GPA Leadership Programme is tailored to athletes performing at an elite level with each student working with a professional life coach to address their individual development needs and help them reach their personal goals.

Offaly footballer Stephen Lonergan, who graduated from the programme last week, said, “The Jim Madden GPA Leadership Programme has been a thoroughly enjoyable journey where my leadership skills have been honed in-depth. I have met incredible people along the way and hopefully, these experiences will help me pave out a successful leadership path."

The programme consists of a leadership masterclass, development centre workshop, personal and interpersonal leadership workshops, group leadership skills workshop and a community project.

Paul Flynn, CEO of the GPA, who is a past graduate of the course and said: "We’re delighted to see the growing numbers participating in this programme every year. I know from personal experience how beneficial the Jim Madden Programme is."

"I, for one, found it empowering to see the different styles, approaches and techniques of a wide host of leaders from different disciplines and how they had their own authentic style. We wish all today’s graduates the best of luck for the future as they bring their learnings into their lives, both on and off the pitch.”

Presenting the awards, Vice President-Academic of Maynooth University, Professor Aidan Mulkeen, said: “Maynooth University is delighted with the continued success of this Leadership Programme and our partnership with the GPA. Maynooth’s Leadership Programme Accreditation Pathway develops the skills required for future leaders to unlock their full potential and to pursue further education.” 

There is also an optional accreditation pathway for participants of The Jim Madden GPA Leadership Programme leading to a Special Purpose Award in Professional Leadership awarded by Maynooth University through the Department of Education.