Jerry Kiernan Foundation unveils list of athletes set for financial support in 2023

Fund established to honour passion and insight that Kiernan, who died in January 2021, always brought to sport

The foundation has announced the Irish athletes who are set to benefit from financial aid. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

These are challenging times for young athletes everywhere. The cost of everything is going up and it’s harder to find the value in anything, including that once-upon-a-time idea that being a successful runner would be a lifestyle choice of great envy.

Jerry Kiernan always fought for the profile of the sport over the comforts of, say, a team environment. On the back of that came the Jerry Kiernan Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting aspiring Irish athletes, which on Tuesday evening announced the second list of athletes who will be receiving financial support in 2023.

Set up in late 2021 to honour the passion and insight that Kiernan, who died in January 2021, always brought to the sport, the fund of €30,000, to begin with, is all about easing in some small way the needs of the young athlete — between the track, field, cross-country and race-walking.

The list includes Tokyo Olympians, European cross-country medallists, and multiple national champions — all among exciting emerging talents who have shown the promise and potential to compete and challenge on the world stage in their respective sports.


The foundation will provide financial assistance to cover training expenses, equipment costs, and other essential needs to help these athletes focus on their training and competition schedules.

“We are thrilled to be able to support these talented and hard-working athletes,” said foundation chairman Murt Coleman.

“Jerry gave tirelessly of his time and energy to all those who were lucky enough to call him their teacher, coach or friend. By investing in these athletes we aim to keep Jerry’s memory alive and to honour his legacy in a fitting manner. The foundation would like to extend its congratulations to these athletes and wish them all the best in their training and competitions throughout the year.”

Cash via Kiernan fund: financial aid for athletes

Courtney McGuire.
Jack Rafferty.
Hiko Tonosa.
Reece Ademola.
Efrem Gidey.

The list of athletes to be financially supported by the Jerry Kiernan Foundation in 2023 includes distance runners Cathal Doyle, Courtney McGuire, Efrem Gidey, Eilish Flanagan and twin sister Róisín and Hiko Tonosa. Also on the list is Jack Raftery (400m), John Fitzsimons (800m) and John Travers (1,500m), Louise Shanahan (800m), Michaela Walsh (hammer) and Reece Ademola (long jump).

Gidey last weekend clocked 13:49 to come home with eight seconds to spare over Zakariya Mahamed at a 5km road race in the UK, the winning time not far off Gidey’s track PB of 13:44

The 22-year-old, who finished sixth in the 10,000m at the European Championships last year, is enjoying a fine start to the year, also clocking 27:57 for 10km on the roads in Valencia and finishing seventh at the European Clubs Cross Country in Oropresa del Mar, Spain.

Athletes, aged between 18 and 40, are assessed based on their previous achievements and longer-term potential, taking into account other sources of income or support available to them. The assessment process is conducted by an independent panel.

Among the recipients again is Shanahan, the support last year assisting her to a memorable summer of the track, making the final of the European Championship 800m final in Munich.

“I’m lucky to be able to do the sport I love, and some level of funding like this is massive,” she said. “Unless you’re at the very top of the sport, you likely won’t even have a kit contract, or any major funding.

“I’m a full-time student, and I guess a full-time athlete on top of that. This is targeting the level of athletes who don’t have that level of support, and for some athletes that could be the difference between able to go on a training trip or not, maybe train at altitude, even the shoes and spikes are so expensive.”

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics