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Joe Schmidt, Prof. Brian MacCraith and Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh

Joe Schmidt and Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh receive honorary doctorates from DCU

Today (Tuesday April 30th) Dublin City University conferred the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) on Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, celebrated RTÉ sports commentator and writer, and Joe Schmidt, Head Coach of the Irish Rugby Team.

Delivering the citation for Joe Schmidt, Jim Dowling, the former Deputy President of DCU, said:

“Irish rugby has either produced or recruited many excellent coaches and perhaps none more accomplished than those currently in place across the country. Of them all, Joe Schmidt has been outstanding.

Joe is a humble man who shuns the limelight. He hastens to redirect the praise and honours he receives to the players and management teams around him. Yet, behind the quiet exterior, he is an ambitious, dedicated and driven individual with an extraordinary work ethic. His values are those that he demands of his players: humility, discipline (on and off the pitch) and relentlessness.

Family and strong family values are central to Joe’s life and foremost in his decision to leave the world of rugby coaching after the upcoming World Cup and return to New Zealand. In doing so, he leaves behind his Irish “family” ― friends, colleagues and communities that have been part of his life for many years.

Joe’s work away from rugby is largely unheralded but much appreciated by the charities he has supported ― particularly Epilepsy Ireland ― and the many events that he has unselfishly attended. The Schmidts have contributed enormously to Ireland and Irish Rugby and the reciprocation was acknowledged by Joe in thanking the IRFU for their patience and support and “so many people who have adopted my family and me, making us feel part of the community in Ireland”. Joe became an Irish citizen in 2015.”

Delivering the citation for Michael Ó Muircheartaigh, Larry Quinn, Chairman of the DCU Educational Trust said:

“Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh is a teacher, author, and avid promoter of the Irish language. He is probably best-known, however, for his role as a Gaelic games commentator for many decades.  His recognisable voice and lyrical descriptions have become synonymous with Gaelic games for generations of GAA supporters.  A native Irish speaker, Micheál has a huge interest in the promotion of the Irish language and he has played a major part at national level in this regard.

His proudest achievements, however, are the eight children that his wife, Helena, and he reared and gave to them all a good university education and sound footing for life. To quote Micheál:

“…it is of more value to them than if all my bets had won and given them a million euro each.”

Throughout his life, Micheál has lived life to the full. Brimming over with equal measures of energy and curiosity, Micheál has lived by the motto “Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today”. In recent years, he has become a standard bearer for healthy and active aging in Ireland, and has participated in a number of events here at DCU aligned with our Age Friendly University designation. So, whether it was communications, sport, the Irish language or the issue of aging, Micheál has always delivered outstanding contributions.”

Prof. Brian MacCraith, President of Dublin City University said:

“DCU is delighted to honour Micheál Ó'Muircheartaigh and Joe Schmidt, two iconic figures in Irish Sport. Their outstanding achievements and their dedication to excellence, on and off the pitch, make them fitting recipients of honorary doctorates from Dublin City University.

Micheál is the voice of our national games - Guth na gCluichí Gaelacha. He is a champion, not just for sport, but also for the Irish language and for our country’s older citizens. Joe is Irish Rugby’s most successful ever national head coach. He’s an inspirational leader who encourages and cultivates not only excellence but also important values.”

About Michael Ó Muircheartaigh

Born in Dún Síon, just outside Dingle in Co. Kerry, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh has been a Gaelic games commentator on RTÉ for over six decades and his voice is one of the most recognisable on the airwaves.  He is a graduate of St. Patrick’s College in Drumcondra (now incorporated into DCU).

About Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt is the current head coach of the Ireland rugby team and has led the team to three Six Nations Championships.  He previously coached Leinster to two European Cups, a Pro12 league title and the European Challenge Cup.