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Time Agenda
12:00 Welcome & presentation of research by Sarah Colgan, 20x20
12:15 Keynote address by Martina Navratilova 
12:35 Panel 1 - Martina Navratilova, Brian O'Driscoll & Sonia O'Sullivan, moderated by Jacqui Hurley
13:05 Panel 2 - Rachael Blackmore, Casey Stoney & Niamh McCarthy, moderated by Jacqui Hurley
13:30 - 13:35 Coffee break
13:35 Cliona Foley in conversation with Ada Hegerberg
13:55 Panel 3 - Mary O'Connor, Ger Gilroy & Cliona O'Leary, moderated by Declan Quigley
14:15 Breakout sessions - Past, Present and Future of Women in Sport with Mary Peters, Graham Shaw and Leona Maguire
14:30 Close

Speaker bios

Martina Navratilova, undeniably one of the greatest athletes of all times, has won an unprecedented 59 Grand Slam titles, including a record 9 Wimbledon singles championships. Martina’s career spanned an impressive four decades, until she retired at 49, becoming the oldest player to ever win a Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2006. Known for taking women’s tennis to a new level of speed and fitness, she was named Women’s Tennis Assocation (WTA')s "Tour Player of the Year" seven times, named the Associated Press's "Female Athlete of the Year" and declared one of the "Top Forty Athletes of All-Time" by Sports Illustrated. Martina now an ambassador for the WTA, is a regular commentator for the BBC at Wimbledon and international spokesperson for causes close to her heart.

Sonia O’Sullivan, a former World Champion and Olympian is one of the country's most successful athletes and one of the greatest Irish sports people ever. Winning Three World Championship Gold Medals and Three European Championship Gold Medals, as well as her Olympic silver medal at the Sydney games in 2000, Sonia still holds the World record over 2000m along with every Irish record in the books in distances ranging from 800m to half marathon. Since retiring, Sonia has become a regular contributor on RTE Sport for World Championship Athletic events and has authored two books entitled Running to Stand Still and her frank autobiography, Sonia, My Story. Sonia has a regular column in The Irish Times and spends her time sharing her knowledge with young athletes and supporting causes close to her heart.

Brian O’Driscoll, former captain of the Ireland Rugby team and Leinster rugby team, is the most-capped player in rugby union history, having played 141 test matches – 133 for Ireland (83 as captain), and eight for the British and Irish Lions. He is also the highest try scorer of all time in Irish Rugby and the eighth-highest try scorer in international rugby union history, and the highest-scoring centre of all time. Widely decorated, Brian holds the Six Nations record for most tries scored, (26), the record for most Heineken Cup tries (30) for an Irishman and was chosen as Player of the Tournament in the 2006, 2007 and 2009 Six Nations Championships. Ranked 10th in the '50 Greatest Rugby players' list in The Daily Telegraph. Since retiring, Brian has a successful business, joining Newstalk as a rugby pundit and co-presenter on Off The Ball since 2014 and works for BT Sport as an analyst.

Ada Hegerberg is a professional football player, playing for Olympique Lyonnaise and previously for the Norwegian national team. In 2018 Ada was the first-ever recipient of the Ballon d'Or Féminin, the top prize in football. Ada is one of the most successful football players having scored 282 goals in 271 appearances, including a record 53 Champions League goals. In the 2015/16 season, she was voted UEFA Best Women's Player in Europe and even outscored Cristiano Ronaldo, who’s often referred to as the best player in the world. Also named BBC Women's Footballer of the Year for 2016/17 and listed on Forbes ‘30 Under 30 - Europe - Sports & Games 2020’ list.

Rachael Blackmore is undoubtedly the most successful female jockey Britain or Ireland has ever produced, having ridden an astonishing 90 winners, including her first Cheltenham festival win, in March 2019. Turning professional in 2015, she was the first woman to do so since Maria Cullen in the 1980 and was also the first woman to win the Conditional Riders Championship, in 2017. Rachael clocked up the most wins for a woman jockey ever in these islands in one season (2019) and coming second overall only to Paul Townend in the recent National Hunt season as champion jockey.

Casey Stoney MBE was an English footballer playing for teams such as Liverpool, Charlton and the English national team. Capped more than 100 times for the women's national team, she was an integral part of the England teams at the UEFA Women's Euro 2009 final and the quarter finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2007 and 2011. Casey won the Nationwide International Player of the Year award for the 2007–08 season, in 2012 was named captain of the England team and the Team GB Olympic squad. In 2013, Casey became the first female member of the Professional Footballers' Association's management committee and became the first female manager at Manchester United Women’s team in 2018.  

Niamh McCarthy, a discus thrower from Co. Cork, entered the Paralympic Athletic scene in 2013 and secured her first big win with a bronze medal at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha in 2015. Niamh’s success continued at the 2016 IPC Athletics European Championships in Italy, claiming a silver medal and at the 2016 Paralympic Games claiming a silver medal, achieving a new personal best and setting a new European record. Niamh claimed another European Championship title and record distance in 2018 and a bronze medal for Ireland at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai in 2019, making her one of Ireland’s greatest athletes in the Paralympic sphere.

Clíona O’Leary is Deputy Head of RTÉ TV Sport. A native of West Cork, Clíona holds an Hons Degree in Media & Communications and English and an MSc in Sports Management. Clíona has been with RTÉ Sport since 1997 and formerly held the following roles there – Assistant Commissioning Editor, Editor on GAA/Soccer/Rugby/Olympics output and Away Team Leader on the Beijing and Rio Olympics. Clíona is Chair of the European Broadcasting Union’s Women in Sport Expert Group, represents RTÉ on the Federation of Irish Sport’s 20×20 Steering Group, and is the chair of RTE’s internal 20×20 committee, where she is also a designated Diversity Champion. Clíona is also Chair of Ranelagh Gaels Diversity and Inclusion sub-committee and lead coach with the U8 Girls team.

Ger Gilroy created Off The Ball which has brought in-depth sports discussion onto the airwaves. He co-founded Balls.ie in 2010 which has grown into one of Ireland's most visited sports websites, with nearly two million unique users. Covering every sport from Hurling to American Football, from Curling to Downhill Skiing, Balls.ie prides themselves on bringing their audience what is happening right now, in video, gif, image or tweet form. Ger is a former presenter of Setanta Sports and Newstalk and holds a bachelor's degree in English at Trinity College Dublin.

Mary O’Connor is CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport. She is a native of Cork previously worked with the Camogie Association as Director of Technical Development and Participation. She holds a Masters in Voluntary and Community Sector Management from UCC. Mary has represented her native Cork in both Camogie and football amassing a total of 12 Senior All Ireland medals over a 16-year dual intercounty career. She has won All Stars in both codes and was honoured with an Honorary Doctorate from University College Cork in recognition of her amazing contribution to sport in Ireland.

Mick Bohen is the Dublin Ladies GAA Team Manager and has guided them to an impressive three-in-a-row. His plans for a fourth championship have been so far derailed by Covid-19. In addition to the ladies’ squad, Mick has also been the Dublin Development squad coach, the Dublin Minor Football coach and has been a U21 Dublin Football coach. Mick has a BA and a Higher Diploma in Education from Maynooth University and works as a physical education teacher. 

Leona Maguire, a KPMG 20x20 ambassador since May 2018, began her professional career as one of the most decorated amateur golfers in history. She represented Ireland at the 2016 Olympic Games, led the Great Britain & Ireland team to victory in the 2016 Curtis Cup, and won the 2017 Ladies British Open Amateur Championship. Since turning pro, she has graduated from the Symetra Tour with two tournament wins and became a fully-fledged LPGA Tour professional in 2019.  After a decorated collegiate career at Duke University which included three NCAA Player of the Year awards and ACC Championships in 2017 and 2018, the Cavan native turned pro and became a KPMG brand ambassador in May 2018.

Lady Mary Peters was Northern Ireland’s first Olympic Games gold medallist. She competed in her first Commonwealth Games in 1958 and was selected to represent Great Britain in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, finishing a creditable fourth in the pentathlon. Peters was an incredibly versatile athlete, winning Commonwealth Games gold in the shot putt and pentathlon in 1970 and later breaking the indoor world record for 60 metres hurdles. At her peak in the early 1970s, she took gold in the pentathlon at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Following her retirement, she maintained a high profile as an athletics administrator as well as sitting on several public bodies in Northern Ireland. Mary Peters was made a Dame in Queen Elizabeth's birthday honours list in 2000 having already been awarded an MBE and an OBE for services to sport.

Graham Shaw
Graham Shaw is the Women’s National Coach at Hockey New Zealand, also known as the Black Sticks. Prior to this, he had long and strong ties to Irish hockey both as a senior international player, who was capped 151 times and as part of the coaching set up since 2010. Shaw joined the Irish coaching team as an assistant in 2010 before taking on the role of Head Coach for the Ireland Women’s Hockey team in 2015. Shaw has brought the team from 16th to 8th in the world rankings during his time in charge, which included the historic showing at the 2018 World Cup in England which saw them make the final.

20x20 - an initiative for women in sport

Podcast: 20x20 - choose what's next

Elaine Buckley, Ryle Nugent, Mary O’Connor, Gavin Cumiskey and Cliona O’Leary look at some of the highlights of ‘The Long Road’. 

20x20 - The Long Road

20x20, a KPMG supported national movement to champion girls and women in sport is the first initiative of its kind in Ireland. 20x20 was created by Along Came A Spider and presented by The Federation of Irish Sport with the active support of Ireland’s national sporting governing bodies.

The aim is to create a measurable cultural shift in society through a 20% increase in participation, media coverage and attendance in women’s sport by the end of 2020. According to Emer McGrath, our Lead Partner on this exciting project; “The ambition and talent of Irish women in sport deserves equal recognition and 20x20 can make a significant difference to this objective.” KPMG sponsored Leona Maguire will act as KPMG brand ambassador for 20x20 which is also supported by AIG, Investec, and LIDL.

Why 20x20?

International strategies and research reports, which aim to improve female participation, acknowledge that the shortage of female role models is a significant factor. 20x20 was originated and developed by the creative agency Along Came A Spider. It will showcase the range and breadth of Irish females involved in sport and sets out to create a measurable cultural shift in our perception of women’s sport so that it will be seen as something strong, valuable and worth celebrating. The campaign calls on the people of Ireland and all those involved in Irish sport and physical activity to get behind female sport in a concerted effort to increase media coverage, boost attendances and ultimately, grow involvement in female sport and physical activity by 20% by the end of 2020.

The 20x20 movement has gathered serious momentum since its launch. Recent research from Nielsen Sports found that 59% of Irish people believe that the media should do more to promote female sport, with 57% wanting to see equality in female and male sporting role models in media. In addition, 63% of people would like to see Ireland’s sportswomen become national heroes in the same way as our sportsmen. The initiative won 'The Gamechanger’ award for 2019 at Irish Tatler’s Women of the Year Award and the Sporting Innovation of the Year Award at the 2019 Irish Sport Industry Awards. We’re proud to have been nominated with AIG, Investec, Lidl Three Ireland, Along Came A Spider and The Federation of Irish Sport for three European Sponsorship Association Awards: Best Purpose-Led Sponsorship; Best Newcomer; and Gamechanger Award.

20x20 - if she can't see it, she can't be it

20x20 video library

20x20 Ambassadors

I’m thrilled to be KPMG's 20x20 ambassador and I’m very proud to be involved in this hugely worthwhile initiative that will benefit girls and women in sport across Ireland at every level.

Leona Maguire
KPMG's 20x20 Ambassador

The Irish female sporting heroes acting as 20x20 Ambassadors are Irish professional golfers Leona Maguire (KPMG’s Ambassador for 20x20) and Stephanie Meadow (Investec’s Ambassador for 20x20), Louise Quinn (Irish International & Arsenal Footballer and Three’s Ambassador for 20x20), Sarah Rowe (Mayo Senior Ladies Footballer and Lidl’s Ambassador for 20x20), Laura Twomey (Dublin Senior Camogie Player and AIG’s Ambassador for 20x20).

About Leona - KPMG's 20x20 Ambassador

Leona Maguire

Leona begins her professional career as one of the most decorated amateur golfers in history. Leona represented Ireland at the 2016 Olympic Games, led the Great Britain & Ireland team to victory in the 2016 Curtis Cup, and won the 2017 Ladies British Open Amateur Championship. In her four years competing for Duke University, Leona was twice a winner of the ANNIKA Award as national collegiate player of the year and the WGCA National Player of the Year award (2015, 2017).

20x20 Brand Ambassador Stories

The second video produced by the 20x20 campaign features Investec Ambassador and professional golfer Stephanie Meadow. Videos featuring each of the ambassadors and documenting their unique relationship with sport and the positive impact it has had on their lives will air over the course of the two year campaign.

Improving coverage of women in sport

Research commissioned by 20x20 and conducted by Nielsen as part of the campaign found that just 3% of sport’s print coverage, just 4% of sport’s online coverage and just 2% of TV sport coverage in Ireland is dedicated to women’s sport. RTÉ Sport, Off the Ball, SportsJOE and Her.ie are also early supporters of the campaign as Media Partners and significantly have each committed to increasing their own coverage of women in sport by 20% over the course of the initiative.

Pledge Your Support

Clubs, schools, universities and individuals are being asked to pledge one action to show their support by doing anything that can accelerate progress for women’s sport in Ireland and realise the key objectives. You can share your pledge idea by visiting the 20x20 Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. People can also show their support by simply putting the two 20x20 stripes on both cheeks and posting using #20x20#ShowYourStripes and #CantSeeCantBe online.

Seamus Hand

“20x20 is an ambitious and hugely positive initiative that reinforces our commitment to supporting equal recognition of women in every sphere of their lives”

Seamus Hand, Managing Partner, KPMG in Ireland

Emer McGrath

“The ambition and talent of Irish women in sport deserves equal recognition and 20x20 can make a significant difference to this objective.”

Emer McGrath, Partner, KPMG in Ireland

Thanks to our fellow 20x20 partners

The campaign has been made possible due to generous support from AIG, Investec, and Lidl. All of whom, like KPMG, are already significant and committed supporters of women’s sport through their sponsorships of Dublin GAA, Women’s Professional Golf, LGFA National Football League and the Ireland Senior Women’s National Football Team.

Find out more