Trinity Development and Alumni and DU Swim and Water Polo club with the support of an alumnus donor have created a match funding initiative in memory of DU Swim and Water Polo coach Bert O’ Brien. The Bert O’Brien fund intends to match every donation made in support of DU Swim and Water Polo club to a value of €10,000.

Bert was a dedicated member, coach and advocate of DU Water Polo and a giant in Irish swimming and water polo. He was the Trinity water polo coach for nearly 50 years, starting as the women’s coach in 1974 before also taking over the men’s team. His achievements with DU Swim and Water Polo club included several Colours and Intervarsity's titles, a double men’s and women’s Irish University Swimming and Water polo Association (IUSWA) victory in 2015 and a women’s Leinster Cup win that same year. In 2014, Bert won Swim Ireland’s ‘Outstanding Contribution to Water Polo’ award and in 2015, he was presented the Trinity ‘Contribution to Sport Award’ at the Trinity Sport Awards. On an individual level, he was the former president of Water Polo Ireland and an avid sea swimmer, winning the prestigious Liffey Swim on two occasions.

Michelle Tanner, Director of Sport and Physical Activity remembers Bert fondly. “Bert was a champion supporter for swimming and water polo, a charismatic, passionate and dedicated coach who contributed significantly to the development of the club over many years. Participation in sport is a hugely important part of the student experience in Trinity and this initiative is a perfect match to Bert’s legacy.”

Kate Bond, Director of Advancement and CEO of the Trinity Foundation, commented, “The establishment of this matched funding initiative has had a great response to date from the wider Trinity alumni community and club members who have generously contributed to Bert’s memory. We are delighted to present this initiative to alumni to help channel valuable funding to the Swim and Water Polo Club, while honouring their late coach, Bert O’Brien.”

Niall Costello, outgoing captain of DU Swim and Water Polo, commented “I believe the Bert O’ Brien match fund initiative will leave a fantastic impact on the club, helping it to grow, develop, and achieve more, all whilst keeping Bert’s memory alive”. DU Swim and Water Polo club noted that Bert “was a passionate, empathetic, and honourable man, whose love for water polo was always evident. He touched the hearts of so many people in the water polo community with his unique talent for motivating and encouraging players in an inclusive environment. Bert was much more than a coach to many generations of students in Trinity and beyond. He was a friend. His impact on our lives, our club, and our sport will be felt forever. May he rest in peace.”

Donncdha Carroll, Alumni and Sports Outreach Officer, Trinity College Dublin commented, “It is impossible to speak about Swimming and Water polo in Trinity without mentioning the contribution of Bert O’Brien as a coach, supporter and friend to generations of student athletes. A former President of Irish Water polo and recipient of the Swim Ireland ‘Outstanding Contribution’ award, Bert is remembered for his kindness and patience, fondly nicknamed the ‘heart and soul of Irish water polo.’ He received the Trinity Sport Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 for his stalwart support of the sport and his endless service to the college. The establishment of this match fund in his honour and the sheer scale of engagement from across the Trinity alumni community will carry on Bert’s memory and support the club he loved for years to come.”

The Bert O’Brien fund intends to match every donation made in support of DU Swim and Water Polo club to a value of €10,000. The two-fold nature of this initiative will expand each donation’s impact on DU Swim and Water Polo Club and the fund will assist the club’s future in allowing kit and equipment to be purchased alongside subsidising training camps and competition travel costs.

Trinity Sport join DU Swim and Water Polo Club and Trinity Development and Alumni in saying that Bert will be missed by all students, alumni, friends and staff who he met and inspired over his many years at Trinity College Dublin. For every donation made to the Bert O’ Brien Fund, it will be matched to the value of €10,000, donations can be made via the Trinity Development and Alumni website here. Please specify that the donation is for the ‘Bert O’ Brien Match Fund Initiative’ when donating.