Alumni Spotlight

NUI Galway alumni have made significant contributions to Irish and international business, sporting, social and cultural life. This month's Alumni Spotlight focuses on one Galway alumnus who's made his mark on the world.

Who's in the spotlight?

Former Irish rugby captain, Ciaran FitzGerald.

Former Irish rugby captain, Ciaran FitzGerald in action

What has he been up to?

FitzGerald was recently honoured with an NUI Galway Alumni Award for his contribution to sport on the national stage. "I was honoured and delighted to accept this prestigious award and it means a lot to me to be recognised by my former college," he said.

A keen a sports fan

FitzGerald, who is now an integral part of RTÉ Sport's rugby coverage, is still a keen sports fan and can be seen most Saturday afternoons at Donnybrook or Blackrock, watching and encouraging underage future rugby stars. On Sundays, he often heads to Croke Park to keep up with his other main sporting passion, GAA.

On his regrets

Looking back, FitzGerald has only one regret: "I never got to play rugby in Croke Park and that was always a dream of mine."

A student in Galway

When FitzGerald arrived in NUI Galway to study a BComm in the early seventies, he was keen to continue his sporting career and was snapped up by the rugby fraternity before his hurling prowess was recognised.

Ireland rugby captain

FitzGerald captained Ireland to the Triple Crown in"83 and"85 and the Lions on their losing tour to New Zealand in"83. An inspirational leader, he will be forever remembered for spurring on his exhausted team mates in the dying minutes of the"85 match against England with the immortal words, "Come on lads, where's your f***ing pride!"

Professional rugby career

After his graduation, FitzGerald played senior rugby for St Mary's College in Dublin, where his career on and off the field blossomed. In total, he won 22 competitive and three friendly caps for Ireland. He went on to coach the Irish national rugby team for three years. Playing in the amateur era, FitzGerald stayed in the army and at one point was aide de camp to the President, Dr Patrick Hillery.

On the importance of leadership skills

As one who has always led from the front, FitzGerald, unsurprisingly, believes that leadership is a vital but sometimes underrated virtue. "I would encourage all colleges to focus on leadership skills more and develop the individual personalities of students. In the present climate, students need to be brave, courageous and recognise opportunities when they arise. Sport gives you that ethos and opportunity and it must be recognised more in all of college life," he urges.

On being prepared

He is also a strong believer in preparation and planning "The best bit of advice I ever got was 'proper people, proper planning and the passage of time' will solve all problems. I would add "patience and perseverance' to that list also," says FitzGerald, who has put this advice into practice as the founder and managing director of Visualise, one of the country's leading ambient advertising companies.

"I faced many challenges on the field of play and it is a similar situation now in the business sector. Things are tough economically at present but we must stay focused and keep our eye on our goal."

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NUI Galway's 2010  Alumni Awards were presented at the annual Gala Banquet and Alumni Awards ceremony on Saturday, 6 March, 2010 in the Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway

» Read full story about Annual NUI Galway Alumni Awards Presented

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