Sports nutrition has been growing at a rapid pace over the years as teams up and down the country, across all codes, begin to put more and more emphasis what food they need to eat in order to maximise potential.
As so often is the case, however, women’s sport finds itself slightly behind the curve as opposed to the men’s game. We can’t blame women for this though. They have to fight for even the smallest of incentives, and it is only now with the 20×20 movement in Ireland that we are beginning to see the playing field levelled somewhat.
One woman who is breaking the mould and knocking down doors is sports nutritionist, Kate McDaid. Having recently moved back from the UK where she rose through the ranks at a leading nutrition consultancy, Kate decided to go it alone on the Emerald Isle, it was a gamble that has paid off dividends.
“I recently set-up my own company, a nutrition consultancy called NutriKate and so I’ve been up and running about 18 months.” McDaid told Pundit Arena.
“It’s been excellent, I suppose when you set up anything on your own it is a bit scary and each day brings a new challenge but the growing awareness and the more attraction female sports get, the more opportunities arise, so it’s been great and the market is growing for me as a nutritionist and anyone else who is coming up through the ranks so it has been great to me.”
With the growing number of GAA teams employing nutritionists to look after players needs, Kate spotted a gap in the market with the ladies game, a native of Dublin she decided to approach Mick Bohan about coming on board with the reigning All-Ireland champions.
They’ve now won back-to-back titles and are in search of a historic three-in-a-row in 2019.
“I know a few of the girls on the Dublin ladies team and I knew there was an opportunity there, they weren’t working with a nutritionist at the time and I play a lot of sport myself so it’s like an area I’m really passionate about, women’s sport in particular.I like that it’s been pushed forward a little bit more.
“I saw the opportunity there so I kind of went knocking on Mick’s (Bohan) door and it went from there, but thankfully we had a good season last season and the girls are just a dream to work with and I knew I would buzz off their environment, it’s something I am really passionate about so we’re going into our second year now, my second year with the team and I just can’t wait to see what it brings.”
A huge portion of her career now is dedicated to improving the landscape of women’s sport. It is something that Kate McDaid is extremely passionate about having credited her own sporting career with being the reason she set up her own business in the first place.
A basketball star in her youth, Kate has captained Ireland internationally and continues to play to this day with Killester. Although, with her business growing at such speed, she has had to step down a grade from Super League to Division One where she will take to the court this weekend in the NICC Cup final against Fr. Mathews of Cork.
“Yeah, I’ve taken a step back, I was playing Premier League last year with Killester, but now playing Division 1 with them, it’s just more manageable, we are playing in the National Cup final this weekend against a Cork team, and Cork being Cork, they always put up a good fight so it should be a nice clash and I am looking forward to it.” McDaid said.
“I went to Coláiste Íosagáin and it was huge at the time in school and my coach didn’t give us a choice, if you came to Coláiste Íosagáin you had to try basketball, that’s really where it stemmed from, before I knew it I was given the opportunity to play at county level and then I went on to play for my country. It’s going back a few years now but I captained an Irish team at the European Championships.
“I’ve been very, very fortunate, it is something that I am eternally grateful for that it was introduced into my life, I learnt a lot, not only my capabilities as an athlete but also personal, you are meeting new people the whole time, you are put out of your comfort zone, you are faced with failure and loss, and you have to overcome that and come out the other side of it.
“I think it’s part of the reason why I set up my own business it’s given me a bit of a backbone maybe that I didn’t have before and a bit of belief that you can achieve it if you want to. You do get setbacks but it makes you stronger. If you take it from an opposing side and see where you can learn and where you can get better and that’s something that I have taken from sport and I will be forever grateful for that.”