Carlow woman - who worked three jobs to put herself through college - wins scholarship at DCU

Rugby legend Jamie Heaslip broke the news to her while she was on a J1 in Vancouver, Canada

Darren Hassett

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Darren Hassett

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Toni Ann Byrne with an award her college's dance society won for best society

A young Carlow woman - who worked three jobs at the same time to put herself through college - has won a scholarship for her Masters in Business Management at Dublin City University. 

Toni Ann Byrne from Old Leighlin was told that she'd been successful while she was on a J1 in Vancouver and it was none other than rugby legend Jamie Heaslip - the face of UrbanVolt's DCU scholarship programme - who broke the news. 

The 22-year-old applied for the scholarship while on her J1 and received the news at 6am because of the time difference. 

Speaking to Carlow Live, she said: "They told me I had been shortlisted and were ringing me again. I thought it was for another interview. Because of the time difference, I had to get up at 5.30am in the morning. 

"I answered the phone and I knew straight away it was Jamie Heaslip and what was going on. I was so overwhelmed, I could not stop crying. I was so happy. I was trying to be nice and say thanks but I could not stop crying."

A graduate in analytical science at DCU, Toni Ann starts her Masters later this month.

"I like organising things and working with people. I chose that because I would love to get into marketing or HR in a pharmaceutical company," she said.

Toni Ann is a daughter of Michelle, older sister to James and granddaughter of James and Ann Barry. 

She is also a past pupil of Presentation de la Salle Bagenalstown. 

During her undergraduate course, she worked as a restaurant waitress, nightclub hostess and in promotions all at the same time. 

"I'd be in college 9 to 5 and I'd work Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday. I'd work all weekend and sometimes on Sunday night as well," she added. 

Toni Ann achieved a 2.1 honours in her degree and said: "Education is important to me. I am really driven about it to do well. To get that scholarship is such a help. It shows if you work hard and do extra curricular things, it will pay off."