Monday 24 October 2016

Tommy lines out in the world of academia

Published 11/11/2015 | 02:30

Tommy Bowe, who graduates today with a post-graduate diploma, from Hibernia College and the University of London
Tommy Bowe, who graduates today with a post-graduate diploma, from Hibernia College and the University of London
Tommy Bowe when he received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree in Belfast in 2014
Tommy Bowe walking down the aisle with his wife Lucy Whitehouse

You can tell that Ireland and Ulster winger Tommy Bowe has sound business acumen.

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This afternoon, he collects his latest academic qualification at the RDS - a post-graduate diploma in business management from Hibernia College and the University of London.

Donning a mortarboard and gown in the colours of the University of Ulster, Tommy knows only too well after three years of studying business and marketing alongside team-mate Andrew Trimble that he should lineout wearing his own business kit, so that will mean shoes from his Lloyd & Pryce range and a blazer from his XV Kings clothing brand.

"I'll be hobbling up with my crutches to collect the diploma," said Tommy, who was wearing a leg brace after surgery for a posterior cruciate ligament and meniscal injuries to his right knee sustained during the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Argentina.

"It's just very frustrating to have got myself up to that level of fitness and playing wise during the World Cup and then to be injured again," said Tommy, who already has an honours degree in construction engineering and management from Jordanstown.

"The first two weeks after my operation were difficult because I wasn't allowed to do anything - I was literally just lying up on the sofa and in bed watching TV.

"I was going out of my mind, but the last couple of days I've been able to get into training, and while I've not been able to do a whole pile, just being around everybody is really good."

Tommy said he doesn't have a game plan to continue in the world of academia.

"No, I think that's the end of the studying for me now. I was never much of a bookworm at the best of times, and between the degree and now this post-grad that will be end of it. Business-wise, I just want to get more involved with the lads," he said, referring to Jim and Barry McArdle from Buddha Brand Industry who run his footwear and fashion brand from his native Co Monaghan. The brothers also drive Amy Huberman's Bourbon Footwear range.

When it comes to business expansion plans, Tommy didn't rule out moving into womenswear.

"We have a women's shoe collection which has gone really well for us," he said. "We'd obviously look to get into womenswear - there's a huge market for it out there - but we want to do the job right, so there's no point in expanding just for the sake of it."

Would Lucy, his wife of six months, be interested in offering some advice from the sidelines?

"She would be delighted to give a few ideas all right - she'd be more than happy to tell me exactly what she'd like to wear," said Tommy.

Naming his shoes after rugby players, the Gilroy has been a best-seller, but Tommy said his own favourites are "the Healy and Pienaar".

Irish Independent

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