Achieving success on a shoe-string budget

€45,908.60 for one club, €5,532 for another. Both are the dominant forces in their respective fields, yet their funding would certainly suggest otherwise.

The Men’s Football Club, Sigerson winners twice in the past three years, are the beneficiaries of the larger sum, the Ladies Basketball Club meanwhile, reigning Intervarsity Champions, are the recipients of a more humble CLC grant allocation.

Funding, or lack of as is the case here, presents a major off-court distraction for one of the college’s most successful clubs, but the players, to their credit, haven’t allowed financial worries deter from their goal in the months ahead. The objective is simple; retention of the intervarsity crown. Nothing more, nothing less.

Club Chairperson, Katie Kilbride, told The College View Sport that UCC in April is what it’s all about and their insatiable hunger to string back-to-back Intervarsity titles.

“We will also be playing in the All-Ireland league semi-finals in early March on our home court, which is a huge advantage and we would hope to get a lot of support behind us. We lost the league semi-final last year by one point and we would hope this year we could make it all the way and potentially win the double as Intervarsity and League Champions.”

High aspirations indeed, not helped by the fact that the club is forced to get by on what is essentially a shoe-string budget.

Kilbride outlines how the club applied for €11,808 in funding from the CLC, a figure that would have covered their entire cost base for 2012/13, but were left disappointed with the amount awarded, some €6k shy of the required amount.

“I know that there have been cuts in every department and I know we were never going to get all of the money in the application, but I do feel the amount we received just isn’t enough and does not reflect the presence and success of our club. If costs keep rising for players to pay in order to represent their college at competitions, they just won’t do it anymore. With funding being cut each year, this will only lead to our clubs in DCU diminishing as well as DCU sport as a whole.”

Kilbride explains that about 90% of the club’s grant allocation goes towards covering coaching costs, leaving but a pittance for equipment, gear and travel costs to the Intervarsities.

“This means everyone on the team will have to fork out about €150 each to pay for our hotel and travel costs at the intervarsities. This is a lot of money to pay when taking into consideration the rise in registration fees.”

Away from financial difficulties, the club is bolstered by a scholarship program which sees four of their elite players enjoy the full range of perks on offer from DCU sport. Added to this, the program helps attract the cream of the crop in Irish Ladies Basketball to Glasnevin.

“These scholarships help us out enormously, with full access to elite gym facilities with strength and conditioning coaches. We also get separate funding as well as academic and sporting guidance such as nutrition and time management workshops.

“I think these scholarships available to basketball players are a great initiative to entice some of the best young players around the country to study and play here in DCU,” Kilbride added.

Under the guise of renowned coach Mark Ingle, the DCU outfit have already notched up several league victories, comfortably securing their place in the penultimate stages.

Consisting of seven super league players from four different Dublin clubs, the squad is remarkably strong and one of said players, Lindsay Peat, is at the core of DCU’s success: “She plays a huge role within our team and is a player that the younger players can look up and aspire to, as she has won almost everything accolade under the sun.”

The conveyor belt of talent feeding into the varsity set-up is also in fine working order with the Freshers impressing at a recent tournament in IT Carlow. DCU were victorious in each group game, only to come unstuck in the decider against UCD.

Money or no money, Kilbride and the rest of her teammates are succinctly focused on defending their Intervarsity crown and with such a dearth of talent at their disposal, you’d be a foolish man to bet against them.

Eoghan Cormican

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