Board of Sport Ireland
John Foley (Chairperson)
John has extensive experience in senior leadership roles across a number of industries and has significant experience in leading and developing sporting organisations as CEO and Board member. John is a former CEO of Waterford Crystal and now operates as a business consultant. Since 2009, he has held the position of CEO/Interim CEO with a number of sporting organisations, namely Athletics Ireland, Cycling Ireland and Tennis Ireland.
Lynne Cantwell is Ireland’s most capped woman in Irish rugby and a former Vice-Captain & Captain for Ireland’s 15s & 7s team. She has represented Ireland 86 times over a 13 year period and jointly led Ireland to their first ever Six Nations Triple Crown, Grand Slam title and victory over World Champions, New Zealand 2013/14. Since retiring she has continued to represent and help progress the game.
Mary is the former Assistant Chief Executive with the Health and Safety Authority. Mary joined the HSA from Waterford Crystal where she had the role of Human Resources Manager. Having previously served on many Boards and committees, Mary has been on the Sport Ireland Board since its establishment in 2015 and has participated as both Chair and member of a number of sub committees. She has a keen interest in all sports and particularly in promoting participation.
Páraic has a lifelong experience of active involvement in sport, as both administrator and participant. From 2008 to 2018 he was Director-General of the GAA. As Director-General he provided a strategic and analytical perspective and developed policies on a wide range of issues for the Association.
His current roles in Irish sport include President of Ulster Schools GAA; independent member of the board of Ulster GAA; member of the Disputes Resolution Authority and Chairperson of the Judging Panel for the Federation of Irish Sport ‘Volunteers in Sport Awards’. He is Coaching Officer in his local GAA club, Scotstown. Páraic has extensive board and corporate experience and is a current member of the Institute of Directors. He is currently a director of Enterprising Monaghan and Chairperson of its Strategy Committee. He is also a director of Sport Ireland Facilities DAC.
Jerry Grant has a background in Civil Engineering and is an experienced Director and Executive Advisor in the Utilities and Construction sectors with 25 years at Director Level including roles as director of MC O’Sullivan Consulting Engineers (MCOS), and 10 years as Managing Director of RPS in Ireland. Jerry has the held roles of Specialist Advisor, Head of Asset Management and Managing Director with Irish Water from 2012 to 2018. He is currently Managing Director of Jerry Grant & Associates and External Member of the Governing Body of the Technological University Dublin. Jerry is a member of the Institute of Arbitrators and is qualified in Law & Arbitration as well as being a Chartered Fellow of Engineers Ireland. Jerry was appointed as Chairman of Dublin Port Company in December 2020 and has been a Board Member of Project Woodland since March 2021.
Kevin is an experienced solicitor and was a partner with Mason, Hayes & Curran for more than 20 years. In 2020 he became a consultant, focusing on executive coaching and talent development within the firm. Kevin has been involved with sport in a voluntary capacity for many years and is also active in the wider voluntary sector.
Olive competed as a high performance athlete from 2000 – 2013. She represented Ireland at four consecutive Olympic Games and became World Athletics Champion in 2009. Since retiring from competitive sport in 2013, Olive has been a member of the Sport Ireland High Performance Committee. She is the current Chair of the Sport Ireland Research and Participation Committee and represents Sport Ireland on the FAI Nominations Committee. Olive has an MA in Leadership & Strategy. The research element of her MA focussed on the delivery of organisational change and implementation of governance reform in the aftermath of an organisational crisis. She currently works as a Statistician in the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Deirdre is an experienced Paralympic athlete with extensive international and high performance experience. She represented Ireland at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and has achieved medal success in European and World Championships. Deirdre is a Research Officer with the Health Research Board and is actively involved in leadership roles in disability sport as well as being a player and coach at grassroots level.
Miriam has been a Senior HR Executive and Project Manager with the HSE with over 30 years’ experience in the health services at senior operational level and across various facets of HR, project management & services management. Her expertise includes Hospital and Community Services Management, Employee Relations, Pensions, Recruitment and Project Management.
She has been a member of a number of state boards – Employment Equality Agency, Broadcasting Complaints Commission, National Sports Campus Authority of Ireland - and is currently serving on CORU’s Physiotherapists Registration Board. Miriam has had significant involvement in sport over a long number of years as a player, administrator, referee and coach. She played a central role in the development and implementation of national strategic plans for the Camogie Association and was National President from 2003 -2006. She is currently a member of the Board of Offaly Sports Partnership and has served as Chairperson from 2010 to 2020.
Roger is a highly qualified Sports Business Leader, having attained a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and a Master of Business Administration, both from UCD. He has been a full member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants since 1997. He has extensive experience working in elite professional sport, holding the positions of Managing Director and Head of Finance & Regulations at ERC, the organiser and rights holder of the Heineken Cup rugby tournament and as CFO of the newly redeveloped Curragh Racecourse Ltd. Roger’s current position is Director, Commercial Affairs with ICON plc.
Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh
Iognáid’s career has been in the fields of administration, research, academia and management. He is a former President of NUI Galway. During his term of office, he led the University to a period of unprecedented growth in student numbers, capital developments, research income and philanthropic fundraising. He served as Chair and Board member of the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUGB). His research has been published in international journals and he has served as a visiting professor at Stanford University, the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey California, the University of Connecticut and Glasgow University. He has also served on many Boards in the public, private and voluntary sectors. He has been involved in athletics as a competitor at national and international level and was selected as Captain of the first (united) Irish team since 1937 to compete internationally in the European Cup, which was held in Santry in 1967. He also coached athletics, and served on the Board of Athletics Ireland. He plays golf and is currently chairman and Board member of Golfing Union of Ireland, which he has helped guide through the process of combining with the Irish Ladies Golfing Union leading to the establishment of Golf Ireland, a single body to promote the game of golf in Ireland.
Deirdre is Director of Sustainability and Quality Assurance (Origin Green) in Bord Bia where she is responsible for the management and development of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance programmes with 54,000 farmer and producer members and 300 Origin Green company members. As a member of Bord Bia’s Senior Leadership Team, she contributes to the ongoing corporate governance and budgetary management of the organisation, with a particular focus on the Quality Assurance Board. Prior to 2020 she was Head of Corporate Social Responsibility with Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland and Interim Head of Communications.
Deirdre was an international high-jumper with 13 years’ experience competing on the senior international stage of sport. She was an Irish Olympian at London 2012 and has competed at multiple European and World Championships, culminating in a 5th place position at the 2011 World Championship in Daegu. She holds the standing Irish Record of 1.95cm.
Michelle works as the Director of Sport and Physical Activity in Trinity College Dublin where her work includes strategic development, management, staffing, resourcing and promotion of sport, infrastructural projects, representation, stakeholder engagement and planning, with a portfolio of 67 acres of outdoor sports and 13,000sqm of indoor sports facilities.
She is an active Board and committee member, holding officer positions within Student Sport Ireland and a strategy advisor to Volleyball Ireland. She is a current member of the World University Sports Federation (FISU) Gender Equality Working Group and she was the first Irish and first female President of the European Network of Academic Sports Services (ENAS). She has been a member of 3 European Union (EU) Expert Groups, executing the EU Work Plan for Sport, and has moderated panel sessions at the EU Sport Forums and other related events. She has a recent post graduate qualification in Governance and an MBA in Sports Management. Michelle is a former Irish international volleyball player, and is a current youth club coach, manager and national coach developer.