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Rising stars Oisin and Sally enjoy a financial lift


Helping hand: Dame Mary Peters, Oisin Kiernan and Sally Bell
Helping hand: Dame Mary Peters, Oisin Kiernan and Sally Bell

By Adam McKendry

Ulster Rugby prospect Oisin Kiernan and sailing star Sally Bell have been selected as the recipients of the Mary Peters Trust Make It Happen award for 2018.

The up-and-coming pair will each receive a £2,000 bursary from the Trust to promote their development and future careers, with the assistance of sponsors Bluefin Sport Insurance.

Both Oisin and Sally submitted applications, which were assessed by a panel assembled by the Mary Peters Trust leading to their selection for the bursary following an interview.

The money is set aside for the recipients to put towards furthering their athletic careers in whatever way they see fit, as they will have specified in their application forms.

For 18-year-old Oisin, the grant will go towards helping him further his fledgling career in the Ulster Rugby system.

A promising prop forward, originally from Virginia Rugby Club in Cavan, he has been capped at Under-19 level for both Ulster and Ireland, making him a player to watch out for.

A boarder at Campbell College in Belfast, who he represents in the Schools' Cup, the award will be able to provide him with meals at school that meet the nutritional requirements for him to reach his optimal body mass composition.

It will also help him pay for transport to training sessions at Kingspan Stadium to help with his growth in certain areas of his game that right now he cannot commit to on a regular basis.

Sally, meanwhile, will be assisted tremendously by the award after a promising 2017.

The 18-year-old from Holywood is embarking on her first steps towards qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, where she aims to represent Ireland.

Having been placed on RYANI's Performance Pathway in 2010, she has shown her potential by being brought into the Performance Academy at the start of 2017 and since then she has flourished.

Becoming Irish Youth National champion and strong showings at the U21 and Youth European Championships saw her named Ireland's sole representative at the World Championships.

Having turned 18, Sally has gone professional and moved to Dublin to work with the Development Group to try and maximise her chances of reaching Tokyo in 2020 and Paris in 2024.

She doesn't receive any financial support from RYANI, so this boost from Make It Happen will greatly help her pay for her training and equipment, which costs around £12,000.

Bluefin Sport is a specialist division of Bluefin Insurance, a leading national provider of insurance and risk management solutions to the world of sport.

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