Tuesday 27 September 2016

Young entrepreneur tackles boot problem in GAA

Paul Healy

Published 23/04/2015 | 02:30

Shíofra Ryan from St Brendan’s Community College in Birr, Co Offaly, won the top award in the senior category at this year’s Student Enterprise Awards National Finals in Croke Park, organised by the Local Enterprise Offices. Photo: Mark Stedman
Shíofra Ryan from St Brendan’s Community College in Birr, Co Offaly, won the top award in the senior category at this year’s Student Enterprise Awards National Finals in Croke Park, organised by the Local Enterprise Offices. Photo: Mark Stedman

THESE boots were made for walking, but young entrepreneur Shíofra Ryan has found a way to make them do so much more.

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The 15 year-old transition student of St Brendan's Community School Co, Offaly has become Student Entrepreneur of the Year, for her inventive injury preventing boot for GAA players.

Entitled 'An Tionchar', the boot is designed to support the ankle but still allow full movement while protecting it from belts of a hurley.

Ms Ryan came up with the idea after getting a bad ankle injury of her own.

"I love GAA, it's my main interest and hobby", she told the Irish Independent.

"I play a lot of camogie and I strained my ankle and I went to the physiotherapist but the only effective solution they could offer me was to pay €250 to put an insole into my boot when really there should have been something there".

Studying the movements of hurling midfielder Richie Hogan and Liverpool player Steven Gerrard, she came up with the shock absorbent insole that could withstand the force of a sliotar.

Always the inventor, she is hoping to create more products, with her boots already available in county colours or club colours.

Following her victory, the budding businesswoman has already received interest in her product and she hopes to take it on to a bigger manufacturer.

The 13th Annual National Finals saw 74 students from all over the country displaying their creations, which ranged from glow-in-the-dark sliotars with mini UV torches, farm safety apps, board games to help improve literacy and rain harvesting products to help conserve water.

Including the regional finals, more than 17,000 students took part this year.

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