PTSB is programme sponsor and 15 new athlete ambassadors added

Highlighting a significant expansion to the Olympic Federation of Ireland Olympic schools programme, Dare to Believe, Permanent TSB has today been revealed as the programme sponsor. Dare to Believe was originally launched in 2019, bringing the Olympic Games, and the Olympic values to primary schools around Ireland. Today’s announcement also sees the launch of the Dare to Believe Secondary School curriculum as well as the addition of 15 Tokyo 2020 athletes to the programme, bringing the total of Olympic and Paralympic ambassadors to 31.

Over the past twelve months over 77,000 primary school children have engaged with the programme which has adapted to the globally changing environment. Since 2020 Dare to Believe has included hugely popular virtual challenges such as the Road to Tokyo, as well as a successful collaboration with RTÉ’s Home School Hub. Dare to Believe is an interactive ‘Five Ring’ curriculum teaching students about Olympics values such as respect, friendship and striving for excellence, and includes a classroom visit from a Team Ireland ambassador.

The secondary school curriculum is based on the same principles and has been developed in conjunction with teachers and explores important topics through the lens of sport. Aimed primarily at Transition Year students, topics that are addressed range from the positive impact of sport on society as a whole and well-being, to important topics such as respect, equality and hate speech, through the ‘Don’t Scroll By’ module. The curriculum encourages dialogue around key subjects such as mental health and racism.

The expansion of the programme includes 15 exciting new ambassadors who will deliver their story to classrooms, imparting insights on their sporting journey and sharing tips on how to deal with challenges, demonstrating examples of their resilience. The ambassadors range from Olympic hopefuls to Olympic and Paralympic medallists, including Olympic Champion Kellie Harrington, Olympic bronze medallists Aifric Keogh and Eimear Lambe and Paralympic silver medallist Nicole Turner.


Harrington has been a Dare to Believe ambassador since the launch of the programme in 2019 and is passionate about inspiring communities and schoolchildren around the country. The Olympic gold medallist is also a Permanent TSB ambassador and speaking at the announcement said,

“I want to give kids what I have had in my sporting career, and I want to let them know that believing is achieving. That anything is possible once they believe.

Kellie Harrington, Dare to Believe Ambassador

"Through the Dare to Believe programme, as ambassadors, we can show them the power of believing in their dreams, and that if they dare to believe they can achieve something positive in their lives, be it an actor, a singer or a sports star. I’m excited to see the programme expand to transition year students, and think that this can make a real difference for someone out there.”  

Dare to Believe was founded by Beijing 2008 Olympian Roisin McGettigan,

“We are delighted to be expanding our Dare to Believe programme to secondary schools. We all know that there is a high level of teenagers dropping out of sport and this programme aims to address this and promote the wider values of sport; physically, socially and mentally. Through Dare to Believe sport is promoted as self-development tool for character building, leadership, connection to community and wellbeing.  We worked with TY teachers and students at every stage of the TY programme's evolution to ensure that the 6-unit curriculum is fit for purpose as an interdisciplinary life skills and wellbeing programme. Our Olympic & Paralympic ambassador role models can't wait to get into schools to work with this cohort and I'm sure they will have an incredible impact on the students they engage with.”

Speaking at the launch, Eamonn Crowley, Permanent TSB Chief Executive Officer, said: 

“The Dare to Believe schools programme has had a significant impact on communities across the country over the last 12 months, reaching more than 77,000 primary school children. We are proud to be able to support its expansion into secondary schools, to help to further grow that impact.

“Our community ethos is a key differentiator for Permanent TSB and like us, Dare to Believe is grounded in communities across the country.

“This is a natural sponsorship for the Bank as it goes hand-in-hand with the recent announcement of our landmark partnership with the Irish Olympic and Paralympic teams for Paris 2024.

“Everyone in Permanent TSB is excited about Team Ireland. We want to share that excitement with the many thousands of schoolgoers that will benefit from not only the programme, but from the opportunity to meet Ireland’s Olympians and Paralympians, who are an excellent example of just what can happen when you dare to believe.”

Speaking today, Peter Sherrard, OFI CEO said,

“We are delighted to have Permanent TSB’s support to grow and develop our Dare to Believe schools programme. Since it started in 2019, it has gone from strength to strength. The athletes have shown how powerful and inspirational their stories can be to children all over the country.

“Thanks to Permanent TSB, we have an exciting new secondary school curriculum that will see our athlete ambassadors engaging students through a range of stimulating and relevant topics that transcend sport - helping teenagers so much at a critical time in their development journeys.”

Registration for the Dare to Believe programme is free of charge and all details can be found on for both primary and secondary curriculums.

#First NameLast NameSportCounty
4OrlaComerfordAthletics (PI)Dublin
11MartinGordonCycling Track (PI)Dublin
20ThomasMaloney WestgårdCross-Country SkiingNorway
22BrendanNewbyFreestyle SkiUtah, USA
23ShaneO DonoghueHockeyDublin
26GretaStreimikyteAthletics - ParalympianMeath
27RichaelTimothyCycling Track (PI)Galway
28NicoleTurnerSwimming - ParalympianLaois

Last week we officially launched the OFI Dare to Believe Road to Beijing, inviting school children around the country to join us on an interactive journey to Beijing, celebrating winter sports, Team Ireland and the Chinese culture along the way.

One of the goals of Road to Beijing is to get children active in a fun way, and to help them enjoy the many benefits of sports! To celebrate that we have unveiled a Winter Circuit Challenge with many of our winter sports stars contributing to an exercise video that can be played in schools for a quick fitness hit!

Sign up to the Road to Bejing by registering below:


The challenge is part of the OFI’s ‘Dare to Believe’ programme

To coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of Team Ireland competing in the Winter Olympics, and on the back of the hugely successful Olympic Schools Challenge last summer, the Olympic Federation of Ireland has today launched Road to Beijing. The free online schools challenge will run from the 4 – 20 February, the same timeline as the Games in Beijing, and will bring students on an interactive journey from Ireland to China, celebrating winter sports, Team Ireland and the Chinese culture on the way.

Schools can create teams, and as the classes long their physical activity, it is converted to a distance on an interactive map which helps them move from Ireland to Beijing, passing Chamonix and Innsbruck en route, and unlocking videos and activities on the way. The online registration portal is now open REGISTER YOUR SCHOOL FOR THE CHALLENGE HERE.

Road to Beijing is part of the OFI’s Dare to Believe Programme and aims to open up the world of winter sports to Irish school children as well as teaching them about Team Ireland at the Winter Olympics and celebrating the Chinese culture. The 10,000km challenge is modelled on the last summer’s Road to Tokyo which saw 55,000 school children get more active while also learning about the wider benefits of sport and the Japanese culture.

Speaking today, Róisín McGettigan-Dumas, Dare to Believe programme creator, said,

Inspired by the success and feedback from our Road to Tokyo challenge received, we were excited to recreate the magic and evolve our Olympic School Challenge website and curriculum to coincide with the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Students and teachers will be fascinated to learn about the life of Winter Olympians and be inspired to get active themselves by trying out the snow sport PE lessons & games. In addition, students will enjoy the variety of classroom cultural activities & crafts and we can’t wait to see their creations.”

Annie Colquhoun, Teacher at Christ Church National School, Waterford stated,

“This is such an exciting topic to start off the beginning of 2022. The free lesson plans and PE ideas are so motivating for both staff and pupils alike and it has created such a buzz of excitement within the school. “The free resources are absolute gems! The lesson plans are exciting and engaging for all age groups, promoting cross curricular learning within the classroom.”

Alpine Skier and Team Ireland Olympian Tess Arbez has been contributing to the Road to Beijing challenge, and is looking forward to inspiring school children around Ireland,

“I’m passionate about sports, and especially winter sports, and I’m really excited to see that school children around the country will be learning about our sports. Competing in Pyeongchang was a dream come true, and now there is an extra special feeling knowing that young people all around Ireland will be sharing my passion and backing me while we are competing. It will be a very special Games, and best of luck to everyone taking on the Road to Beijing.”

Sign up to get involved in the Olympic Schools Challenge – Road to Beijing  HERE

The OFI Dare to Believe programme is now in its fourth year and it teaches primary school students about Olympic Values and Olympism through a curriculum that includes over 40 of the approved education methodologies. The new Olympic Schools Challenge – Road to Beijing will focus on exploring the joy of effort and the wider benefits of sport and staying active, with topics like teamwork, visualisation, motivation and goal setting discussed on the way. Find out more here.

The official poster for the latest schools challenge from the OFI Dare to Believe programme has been revealed. Road to Beijing will run in schools nationwide next February, to coincide with the Winter Olympic Games. Modelled on the successful Road to Tokyo, which saw 55,000 students take part, the aim of the Road to Beijing is to open up the world of winter sports to Irish school children as well as teaching them about Team Ireland at the Winter Olympics and celebrating the Chinese culture.

To mark the reveal of the official poster, the Dare to Believe team have launched a colouring competition that will run from the 17 December - 17 January, with the winners to be announced at the official launch of the OFI Dare to Believe Road to Beijing Olympic Schools Challenge.

For more details on how to enter the competition visit the OFI Dare to Believe website.

Next week Team Ireland will be encouraging school children around Ireland to Get Active as part of the Active Schools Week 2021 campaign. This is an initiative of the Active Schools Flag where for one whole week there is a concerted effort to get children around the country moving!

For Dare to Believe athletes Sarah Lavin, Ollie Dingley and Anna O'Flanagan this serves as a perfect warm up session for the Olympic Schools Challenge Road to Tokyo which kicks off the following week and runs for the month of May.

Using sample games that were displayed in the RTÉ Home School Hub Olympics last year, with referee Kenneth Egan (Olympic silver medallist in boxing), and a host of Team Ireland athletes like Kellie Harrington and Thomas Barr, we are challenging children to try some fun games like Toss the Ring and the egg and spoon race.

Team Ireland is supporting Active Schools Week, which is the key part of the Active Schools Flag applications process.

Every day next week we will be sharing a Team Ireland challenge video so stay tuned!

Speaking ahead of Active Schools Week, coordinator Karen Cotter said,

“Active Schools Week is a flagship event for us in the Active Schools Flag. The initiative is about getting school children nationwide active, and to get them enjoying the various sports and activities that can help them achieve the physical activity goals that are recommended. We are delighted to team up with Team Ireland for this year’s Active Schools Week, along with our other partners – and are looking forward to sharing the daily challenges set by the Irish Olympic athletes, and know that they will go down a treat!”

Active Schools Week 2021 runs from 26-30 April 2021.

Sitting on Anna O’Flanagan’s desk are a set of pens that have remained in the packet for almost six years now.

In just under a hundred days, she may finally get around to chucking them out, maybe even burn them. Bought in something of an emotional daze in Valencia, in 2015, the day after Rio qualification was denied by the width of a post, they sit there as a vivid reminder of shattered dreams.

“They will definitely go in the bin once I set foot on the pitch in Tokyo!” the Green Army’s all-time top goal-scorer says of that pen set.

“There’s a long way to go and I need to hopefully stay fit and well and play to the best of my ability over the next while to get on that pitch. Maybe I can burn them then!”

For many of her team-mates, the stationery is an odd keepsake but is something O’Flanagan uses to find something of an emotional catharsis in good times and bad.

“I have lots of notebooks and do get slagged over it!” she laughs. “I find it interesting to write about how I am feeling. You can have so many thoughts going around your head, worries or concerns, thinking about what might happen.

“When you write it down, your rational brain kicks in and the act of writing means you can rationalise it a bit better and wonder ‘why was I thinking about it like that?’ When you put pen to paper, it can look a bit ridiculous. It helps get a sense of reality!”

It is something which helped her through the tough lockdown times when she struggled for a sense of purpose. O’Flanagan has put her career on hold to, first, pursue and succeed in the run-up to 2018 World Cup silver, and then again for this Olympic push after a stint with Deloitte in the Netherlands.

But when Tokyo was put on hiatus, it had her questioning what next as the limbo of whether or not the Games would go ahead was played out.

“There was so much uncertainty for everyone in the world. For us, as athletes, we thrive off certainty and being planned. What gets me through training and those tough days is really visualising being at that next major tournament, being at the Olympics, competing and winning games.

“I went through a period when I just couldn’t see it, I couldn’t feel it. The world seemed so upside down that the thought of being able to travel to an Olympics seemed so far away.

“That was when I struggled the most. The last couple of months, there’s been such positive communication coming from Tokyo and also seeing other sports teams and events happen.

“Now, I can see it unfold. It will be weird and different for sure but being able to visualise it makes it seem more real, more tangible. We have to stay focused and assume it is happening, but I am not as anxious now that it will be binned at any second.

“That was so hard when we were training and trying to do your best, doing it with that in the back of your mind. I don’t have that worry anymore.”

The nature of the current world, though, means the road remains a bumpy one with plenty of twists and turns. The most recent example, last week’s proposed trip to Malaysia being called off at the last minute.  

“Malaysia was a disappointment, but we are still able to train and play and this just gives us a perspective on how sport is cruel and your whole sporting career can change overnight. You have to treasure each day.”

A feature of the Green Army story, though, is how they roll with the punches and while other countries may be new to such slings and arrows of fortune, O’Flanagan says there will be few better outfits capable of coping.

“We know if there is any team that knows how to deal with adversity, it is us. If there is any team that has come together before and succeeded, it is us.

“We always say we are used to playing in front of no supporters. An empty stadium in Japan is no different to training in Abbotstown every week. Those little things add up.

“We saw from the GB win that what we are doing here has been going well and the year probably has stood to us as a group. If anything, we enjoy doing it when our backs are against the wall.”


* Irish international hockey star, Anna O'Flanagan, is an ambassador of the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s new Olympic Schools Challenge, ‘Road to Tokyo’. The interactive challenge will engage with school children, encouraging them to get more active and teaching them about Tokyo and the Olympic Games.

The challenge is part of the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s ‘Dare to Believe’ schools programme, which is proudly supported by FBD, and sees Team Ireland calling on schools and families across the country to join them on the Road to Tokyo from May 4th to May 31st. You can find out more here:  


The challenge is part of the OFI’s ‘Dare to Believe’ programme

The Olympic Federation of Ireland in association with FBD Insurance has today launched their new Olympic Schools Challenge, ‘Road to Tokyo’. The challenge is part of the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s ‘Dare to Believe’ schools programme and sees Team Ireland calling on schools and families across the country to join them on an interactive journey from Ireland to Tokyo from May 4th to May 31st.

The Olympic Schools Challenge ‘Road to Tokyo’ offers schools across the country the opportunity to take part in a fun, interactive and educational journey with a host of Team Ireland athletes, as they begin preparations for the final months on the road to this year’s Olympic Games. Schools and families can get involved by logging their physical activity and workouts, which convert to kilometres and move them closer to Tokyo each step of the way.There will be four stopovers en route for all involved, where students will learn about the Olympics, Tokyo, and get some insights and pro tips from Team Ireland athletes. There will be spot prizes, art challenges, and quizzes to make sure that all interests are catered for!

Now in its third year, ‘Dare to Believe’ - which was set up with funding from Olympic Solidarity and is supported by FBD Insurance - brings the Olympics into the classroom for over 5,000 children nationwide. The school activation programme is championed and supported by the Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission, and was developed by 2008 Olympian, Róisín McGettigan-Dumas. It teaches primary school students about Olympic Values and Olympism through a curriculum that includes over 40 of the approved education methodologies. The new Olympic Schools Challenge ‘Road to Tokyo’ will focus on exploring the joy of effort and the wider benefits of sport and staying active, with topics like teamwork, visualisation, motivation and goal setting discussed on the way

Speaking today, Róisín McGettigan-Dumas was looking forward to the new schools challenge: Speaking today, Róisín McGettigan-Dumas was looking forward to the new schools challenge: “We are really excited to be launching this new Olympic Schools Challenge for pupils, teachers, schools and families across the country, and to be inviting them to join us on the Road to Tokyo.  This is a hugely exciting way to bring the Olympics and, in particular, this year’s Olympic Games, into the classroom for children across the country, and held build excitement for our athletes as the countdown to Tokyo continues. Through this programme, we are really looking forward to showing children across Ireland that they can dare to believe, and we hope that this challenge will not only inspire children to follow their dreams, but will also help to motivate them to get out there and get active with their classmates and families. We are extremely grateful for the support from both Olympic Solidarity and FBD Insurance, which allows this programme to continue to grow.”

Aileen Donoghue, Head of Marketing at FBD Insurance, stated: “FBD Insurance is thrilled to support Team Ireland once more with this fantastic new challenge. The Olympic Schools Challenge ‘Road to Tokyo’ is one not to be missed by schools around the country. As we move closer and closer to Tokyo, this challenge is a superb way for elite Irish athletes to truly connect with children across the country, and help them to get active while also learning all about the Olympic Games and Olympic values. We are really excited to follow their journeys across the world through the virtual tracker that will lead them to Tokyo, and we know that the Team Ireland athletes will be thrilled with their support as they begin their final preparations for this year’s Olympic Games.”

Also speaking at today’s launch, Team Ireland athlete Sarah Lavin stated: “I am absolutely delighted to be a part of such a special launch today with the Olympic Federation of Ireland and FBD Insurance as part of their ‘Dare to Believe’ programme. The Olympic Schools Challenge ‘Road to Tokyo’ is one I would have loved to have taken part in myself when I was younger, and I know there are many pupils around the country who are already counting down to Day One of the challenge on May 4th. When I was young, my dream was to represent Ireland and to compete at an Olympic Games and hopefully, through this challenge and the ‘Dare to Believe’ programme overall, we can inspire the next generation of Olympic athletes and start them off on their own sporting journeys.”

You can find out more about ‘Dare to Believe’ here and sign up to get involved in the Olympic Schools Challenge – Road to Tokyo here:

The Dare to Believe Programme is a collaborative project which is supported by a number of stakeholders including the IOC, the OFI Athletes' Commission and the Irish Olympians, as well being supported by FBD Insurance.

Dare to Believe and follow Team Ireland on the Road to Tokyo


This May join Team Ireland on the Road to Tokyo. Over the month we are inviting schools and families to join us in an interactive journey from Ireland to Tokyo, with our Olympic athletes offering tips, insights and activities along the way!

The Summer Olympic Games occur every four years, and following the postponement of the 2020 Games by one year, Team Ireland are in their final months of preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, which take place from the 23 July - 8 August.

In April we will be launching our ROAD TO TOKYO Olympic Schools Challenge, where classes and families can log their activities, 15 minutes at a time, and watch their tracker move across the world to Tokyo. There will be four stops en route, where students learn about some of the Olympic Values, the history of the Games, and get some insights into the lives of the Team Ireland athletes. There will be spot prizes, art challenges, and quizzes to make sure that all interests are catered for!

The focus for this challenge is exploring the joy of effort and the wider benefits of sport and staying activity, with topics like teamwork, visualisation, motivation and goal setting discussed on the way.

The campaign will be launched on April 13th officially.

Last weekend we had a number of highlights from Equestrian and Golf, with a round up of those medal winning performances from Eventer Cathal Daniels and Golfer Stephanie Meadows. This weekend will be another relatively quiet one, and we have also included an interview with Jack Woolley who is preparing for his first competition since the pandemic started. For anyone interested in getting the transcript, it is available on request.  

The Olympic qualification status of the athletes can be found AT THIS LINK which will be regularly updated. While many athletes are currently training from home, with little competition, see below a summary of sports which will see Irish Olympic hopefuls in action this coming weekend. This weekly update is provided in collaboration with the various National Governing Bodies, and the press officer contact details for each sport is provided below.  

Olympic Federation of Ireland Updates

Dare to Believe on RTÉ After School Hub Winter Games – Following last week’s announcement of FBD’s sponsorship of the programme several of the Dare to Believe ambassadors have featured on RTÉ’s After School Hub Winter Games. The aim of this has been to introduce younger children to the Olympic sports in a fun and interactive way.


Last weekend Ireland’s 2019 European Championship bronze medallist in Eventing Cathal Daniels (Galway) continued his preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games with a commanding win in the feature CC14*_S at the Portugal Winter Tour in Barroca d’Alva. While this event held a chance for some international athletes to achieve the qualification standard needed for the Games, it was not relevant to Ireland, who have already made history with full teams qualified in all disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Show Jumping. Full report HERE.


After a three week break Stephanie Meadows and Leona Maguire were competing in the Pelican Women’s Championship Presented by Dex Imaging & Konica Minolta in Belleair, Florida from the 19-22 November. Stephanie finished third on the LPGA tour, which sees her jump a couple of places to 38th in the Olympic rankings. Leona finished T53, and also has jumped a few spots to 43rd in Olympic rankings.

Stephanie Meadow credited the huge team behind her after matching her career best LPGA Tour finish with a third place result at the Pelican Women’s Championship.

Playing in the final group alongside eventual champion Sei Young Kim and Ally McDonald, the Jordanstown professional recovered from bogeys at her opening two holes to post a hard-fought one-under par round of 69 for a nine-under par tournament total and a podium finish. The result ties her career-best performance, last earned at the 2014 US Women’s Open and is proof that the hard work is paying off for the now 28-year old. Full report HERE


Saturday (28th Nov) is the final week of Swim Ireland Performance Athletes Time Trial Series. Athletes who have been training at the National Sports Campus, UL Sport and in Bangor will race against each other in the third of the series at the NAC. This is the first time that athletes will come together with the previous two race days held in their home pools as virtual races.


This week’s interview was with Ireland’s Taekwondo star, Jack Woolley. Earlier this year Jack successfully secured Ireland’s first every spot in Taekwondo, competing in the -58kg category. In this interview (transcript available on request), Jack talks about some of the strategic decisions that were made when planning competitions that ultimately led to Olympic qualification, and also about the strides that he has made in his own training during lockdown.

Next week Woolley travels to Bosnia, where he will prepare for competition in the European Championships which takes place on the 10 December. WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE.

Dare to Believe, in association with FBD Insurance, features on popular RTÉ2 series

The winter is coming in fast, but the best way to stay warm is to stay moving. That's why After School Hub have a super Sports Week coming up next week.

Our friends from Team Ireland are here for the After School Hub Winter Games with Kenneth Egan, Kellie Harrington joined by Sive Brassil, Oliver Dingley, Brendan Boyce and stars of the Irish Women's Hockey Team all competing for the After School Hub gold medal!

Tune in next week from the 23-27 November between 3.20-4.20pm to see who becomes the RTÉ After School Hub Winter Olympics Champion!!!


25 Athlete Ambassadors set to bring the Olympics to the classroom in 2020/21 rollout

The Olympic Federation of Ireland has today announced FBD Insurance as the sponsor of this year’s ‘Dare to Believe’ Olympic Schools Programme. Ireland’s homegrown insurer is the Official Sponsor of Team Ireland on the road to Tokyo, and this extension of the sponsorship will allow ‘Dare to Believe’ to continue to grow and inspire schoolchildren nationwide. Today’s announcement also included the unveiling of the 25 ‘Dare to Believe’ athlete ambassadors from across a variety of sports.

In its first year, ‘Dare to Believe’, which was set up with funding from Olympic Solidarity support, surpassed all of its targets, bringing the Olympics into the classroom for over 5,000 children nationwide. The school activation programme, championed and supported by the Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission, was developed by 2008 Olympian Roisin McGettigan and, as the programme moves into the next phase, the focus is on further expansion, with a boost of 16 new ambassadors to the programme, bringing the total to 25 athletes.

‘Dare to Believe’, in association with FBD, will teach primary school students about Olympic Values and Olympism through a curriculum that includes over 40 of the approved education methodologies. The ‘five-ring’ programme allows teachers to interactively explore broad themes that reflect the Olympic Values of Respect and Equality, Healthy Body and Mind, and Joy of Effort. The final ring focuses on Striving for Excellence, which sees the athlete ambassador deliver their personal sporting story to the class, with the changing environment meaning that these visits will now be virtual.

A host of the ‘Dare to Believe’ athletes, including boxer Kellie Harrington, hockey stars, Anna O’Flanagan, Roisin Upton and Emma Buckley as well as Oliver Dingley (Diving), Sive Brassil (Modern Pentathlon) and Brendan Boyce (Race Walking) will also appear on RTÉ’s After School Hub programme next week from Monday, November 23rd, with Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission member and Olympic medallist in boxing, Kenneth Egan, also set to feature on the programme.

“I am delighted to be a ‘Dare to Believe’ ambassador and I’m thrilled that Team Ireland sponsor, FBD Insurance, has come on board to support this brilliant programme. When I was young, it was always my dream to be an Olympian and I trained and worked extremely hard to try and make that a reality.

Said Oliver Dingley, one of the athletes on hand to launch the programme,

I am honoured to be part of a programme that aims to inspire the next generation of Olympic athletes.  I look forward to telling them my story, passing on all of the skills I have learned from sport and trying to leave a positive impact on these pupils.” 

Speaking today, Roisin McGettigan highlighted the success so far of the ‘Dare to Believe’ programme:

“When we set about designing ‘Dare to Believe’, we had an ambition to inspire children to follow their dreams, to be daring and to believe in themselves. We set a curriculum that we believed would reflect that ambition, while being firmly planted in approved methodologies, with resources that would make the delivery as easy as possible for teachers. The first phase has received an overwhelmingly positive welcome, from everyone involved – teachers, students and ambassadors themselves. The aim was to display the many benefits of sport, activity, goal setting and respect in a way that even children with no real interest in sport could find something that they could learn from. We encourage them - through the programme - to follow their Olympic-sized dream, whatever that may be. Over the past year, we have been inundated with posters, cards, designs and videos from children nationwide who have participated in the programme. Last summer’s ‘Dare to Design’ competition was hugely popular, and we have been blown away with the feedback from the athletes’ involvement in the RTÉ Home School Hub productions – with more action coming in the next week! We are grateful for the support from both Olympic Solidarity and FBD Insurance, which allows this programme to continue to grow.”

Aileen Donoghue, Head of Marketing at FBD Insurance, stated:

“FBD Insurance has been delighted to support Team Ireland in their preparations for the Tokyo Olympics next year, and we are thrilled to now be able to expand that support into this year’s ‘Dare to Believe’ programme. We believe that this programme is a superb way for elite Irish athletes to truly connect with children across the country, helping them to develop skills across a wide range of areas and inspire them to achieve not only their sporting ambitions, but their life dreams. We have seen the superb impact that role models play in young people’s lives, and we know the profound impact of sport in our communities around the country; we are proud that we are helping Ireland’s elite athletes inspire the generation of tomorrow.”

Olympic Federation of Ireland Commercial Director, Catherine Tiernan added:

“FBD Insurance has been a brilliant supporter of Team Ireland on the road to Tokyo, and we are grateful of their extended support to help grow ‘Dare to Believe’. Last year’s programme was a resounding success, and we are excited to see it grow and expand even more this year.”

You can find out more about ‘Dare to Believe’ and how to get involved here:

The second phase of Dare to Believe includes the following athletes, representing a good geographical spread:


Athletics – 200mMarcus LawlorCarlowHigh Performance
Athletics – 400m HurdlesMichelle FinnDublinHigh Performance
Athletics – HurdlesSarah LavinLimerickHigh Performance
Athletics – SprinterSarah QuinnMayoHigh Performance
BoxingMichaela WalshBelfastEuropean Games Silver Medallist
DivingClare CryanDublinHigh Performance
DivingOliver DingleyDublin (+ family from Cobh)Olympian
EquestrianFred ScalaCarlowQualified for Tokyo
EquestrianJoseph MurphyCo. DownOlympian
HockeyAnna O’FlanaganDublinQualified for Tokyo
HockeyEmma BuckleyDublin/CorkQualified for Tokyo
HockeyNicci DalyDublinQualified for Tokyo
HockeyRoisin UptonLimerickQualified for Tokyo
HockeyShirley McCayBelfastQualified for Tokyo
SailingSéafra GuilfoyleCorkHigh Performance
TriathlonErin McConnellNewtownardsHigh Performance


Athletics - MarathonBreege ConnollyNorth-West IrelandOlympian
Athletics – 50k Race WalkBrendan BoyceCork County/CityOlympian
Athletics – 1500mGreta StreimikyteDublinParalympian
Athletics - HurdlesThomas BarrLimerickOlympian
BoxingKellie HarringtonDublinWorld Champion
BoxingGrainne WalshOffalyEuropean Games Bronze Medallist
HockeyShane O’DonoghueDublin, Wicklow, WexfordOlympian
Modern PentathlonSive BrassilGalwayHigh Performance
SwimmingNicole TurnerLaoisParalympian

In light of the global pandemic, Dare to Believe, the Irish Olympic schools programme, moved online, with over 200 schools around the country taking part as part of their home schooling.

Dare to Believe was launched in February 2019 and focuses on Olympism and Paralympism, and features the Olympic values. The fun and interactive programme has been completed over 5000 school children around the country. One of the highlights of Dare to Believe is the athlete visit, where an athlete visits the classroom to talk about their journey in sport and to answer questions.

Since 'lockdown' this programme has gone online, with the ambassadors conducting virtual visits via our Facebook Live feed.

The Facebook LIVE line up:






© 2021 Olympic Federation of Ireland.
Registered in Dublin No. 82262.
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