BSc (Hons) in Sports Development & Coaching, 2013
Boxing for Ireland and having your face on an Irish postal stamp are pretty impressive achievements for any student but LYIT Sports Coaching & Development graduate Steven O’Reilly took it all in his stride. Steven enjoyed every moment of his four years in Letterkenny and has since gone on to complete a Masters in Physical Education at the University of Limerick.
Steven’s passion for boxing began at the age of eight and by the time he finished his Leaving Certificate he had already represented his country. For the Ballybofey native, LYIT was the obvious place to further his interest in sport. Arriving in 2010, while part of the Irish boxing team, he was able to continue training for twelve hours a week in his home town while he studied at the Letterkenny campus.
Somehow Steven managed to cope with the four-year course while taking on Europe’s best in the ring. Overall, the middleweight boxer has won nine national titles as well as a European title. In 2012, while still at LYIT, only a cut eye in the last round of the finals of the Irish Championships prevented him from qualifying for the Irish Olympics team.By that stage he already won the rare distinction of being pictured on an Irish stamp, issued to commemorate the centenary of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association.Intensive as it was Steven found the Sports course very fulfilling and even found time to join the boxing and GAA (another passion) clubs on campus.
“The quality of teaching was excellent,” he says “The lecturers are so accommodating and do everything to bring you along and help you succeed.”
Steven is also very impressed with the sporting facilities at LYIT, not least the state of-the-art sports lab, which opened after he left. “They really cater for the elite athlete with the sports lab at LYIT. There’s a focus on the cardiovascular system, running with a mask on the treadmill, along with blood tests and dehydration tests, all done in the lab.”
While completing his Masters, which followed a one-year bridging course at LYIT, Steven spent his summers selling healthy food at festivals around Ireland, along with his brother and sister. Steven is now employed as the PE Teacher at St. Columba’s College in Stranorlar, Co. Donegal and is delighted to be working for his former school and giving back to his local community.
“My degree at LYIT was a great stepping stone towards my end goal in teaching. I have secured work at my former school and I am enjoying every minute in my new role.” For the time being boxing is on hold but Steven added, “I am passionate about teaching, after seeing the lecturers at LYIT, how they worked and how rewarding it was, I would also like to guide students in this way.