Playing rugby in France, studying in Sligo
David McGowan was able to continue his career as a professional rugby player in France while he was a student at Sligo Institute of Technology by doing his course on the internet.
A decade ago David would have found it impossible to combine his career as a sportsman living abroad with a degree course in Ireland.
The 6ft 5in Ballymote man plays as a second-row forward for Atlantique Stade Rochelais, a team based in La Rochelle.
After leaving school David started an engineering course at Athlone Institute of Technology, but found it impossible to combine it with the rigours of training.
While on a break home in 2008, the Ballymote native called to the Institute of Technology (IT) Sligo to enquire if he could somehow combine study with his playing career.
He was pleasantly surprised when he discovered that he could take a course in manufacturing management online.
With 21 courses available online, IT Sligo leads the field in third-level e-learning.
David logged on to his lectures live online at his home and was able to ask questions by keying in messages as the lecturers were speaking.
"It was ideal for me because I would usually be training in the morning. I would come back and watch the lectures in the early evening. If you miss a lecture, you can always find it online.
"I felt that it was important to plan ahead for a career in rugby. In my job you never know what might happen.
"You could get injured and the time that you have to earn good money in rugby is limited. Doing a course enabled me to plan for a career after rugby."