Northern Ireland

AP McCoy and Liverpool FC's Brendan Rodgers get honorary degrees

McCoy Rogers UU degrees Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Brendan Rogers and AP McCoy were given honorary degrees from the University of Ulster

The world's greatest ever jump jockey and Liverpool FC's manager are among 13 "inspirational" people to receive honours from the University of Ulster.

AP McCoy, who has won more races than any jump jockey in history, accepted an honorary degree for his "outstanding contribution to sport".

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who also hails from County Antrim, was given the same honour.

He has yet to comment on the biting case involving Luis Suarez.


The Anfield boss and the champion jockey are among 13 personalities from the worlds of sport, the arts, public life, business and education whose personal achievements are being celebrated during the University of Ulster summer graduations.

Image copyright Nigel McDowell
Image caption AP McCoy has won every major trophy in UK horseracing

The ceremonies began on Monday in Coleraine, County Londonderry, and will continue throughout the week at other UU campuses in Northern Ireland.

Anthony Peter McCoy, also known as Tony, grew up in the County Antrim village of Moneyglass and is widely regarded as the best National Hunt jockey of all time.

He has won every major trophy in UK horseracing and has held the title of Champion Jockey for 19 consecutive years - winning it every year he was in contention.

Last November, McCoy celebrated the unprecedented milestone of his 4,000th career victory.

He received an honorary Doctor of Science (DSc) degree from the University of Ulster on Monday morning.

Premier League

In the afternoon, Brendan Rodgers accepted the same award for his contribution to sport.

The 41-year-old, from Carnlough in County Antrim, took over as Liverpool manager in June 2012.

The previous year, he helped his former club Swansea become the first Welsh side to reach the Premier League.

Under his leadership at Anfield last season, Liverpool looked to be on course to win the Premier League title, but were narrowly beaten by Manchester City.

Last week, Liverpool's star player Luis Suarez was punished with the biggest ban in World Cup history for biting defender Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay's group stage victory over Italy.

The striker was suspended from all football-related activity for four months, meaning he will also miss Liverpool's first nine games of the Premier League season.

TV stars

To date, neither Liverpool FC nor its manager have commented publicly on the biting controversy.

Other well-known faces set to receive an honorary degrees later this week are TV host Nick Hewer, US TV star Roma Downey and Irish rugby player Tommy Bowe.

Image copyright ALLSPORT/Getty Images
Image caption Rugby star Tommy Bowe has played for Ireland, Ulster, Ospreys and the British and Irish Lions

Nick Hewer rose to fame as Lord Sugar's sidekick in the BBC show The Apprentice, and now presents the Countdown quiz show on Channel Four.

Derry-born actress Roma Downey starred in the American TV drama Touched by an Angel and is also an executive TV producer.

The multi-millionaire actress now works alongside her husband, Mark Burnett, who has produced highly successful TV shows which have been replicated around the world, including The Apprentice, The Voice and Survivor.

Ulster rugby star Tommy Bowe helped Ireland win the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2009.

In 2010, the Irish Rugby Union Players' Association (IRUPA) awarded him the title of Players' Player of the Year.

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