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Meet Kate McDaid: The Woman Fuelling The Dublin Ladies Team's Hunger

Meet Kate McDaid: The Woman Fuelling The Dublin Ladies Team's Hunger
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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On Saturday afternoon, Kate McDaid will be the player rather than the one supporting the players.

"Basketball's my main jam. I'm actually fortunate now, we've made it through to the National Cup finals," said McDaid at the launch of the 2019 Gourmet Food Parlour HEC Ladies Football Championships during the week.

McDaid - who runs NutriKate, a nutritional consultancy company - plays for Killester. In the Hula Hoops NICC Women’s National Cup Final this weekend, her side take on Fr Mathews from Cork.

"It's my first final now since I was U18 so it's nice. Particularly when you're working with successful athletes and you're watching them and seeing them reap the rewards. Hopefully I'll get to reap some rewards with my personal training now this weekend."

In her day job, McDaid works a nutritionist with the Dublin ladies footballers and also the Longford men's senior team.

She began working with the Dublin ladies team last April. It was a season which saw them win their second consecutive All-Ireland title.

"Fortunately for me, the girls are well tuned in. They're always looking to improve, take it a step further.


"I just try to feed that hunger so to speak and help them with little areas that they need to work on.

"I suppose when you're working with a team, there's core values and people need to meet certain standards but you're also dealing with 30-40 individual people.

"Girls who are going home to different home environments; girls working full-time, other girls are in college, what are the demands there, so on and so forth.


"I would try and work with the girls on a one-to-one basis. We'd have some presentations in there too, everything is really interactive and engaging. You're trying to make players see where this falls into their life and how it might benefit them.

"Obviously, I find my job extremely interesting and I know the value in it but for everyone, it's like, 'Just tell me what I need to do, I don't care.'

"It's my job to facilitate that. You're trying to keep it fresh the whole time and get people as engaged as you can."


McDaid provides individually tailored diets for each player.

That can be extremely time consuming but it's also, I think, the most rewarding for them and for myself.

My job is to give them every chance to get the most gains out of what they're doing and to really take advantage of all the hard work that they do on a day-to-day basis for training and matches.

It's my job to make that part of them, their programme easier. I think the only way to do that is to really listen to the athletes in front of you.

It's like, 'Ok, let's not go full tilt here, you've got enough things to be worrying about. What can we work on now that's going to have the biggest impact? Ok, you've started to nail that, what can we move onto now?'

That's what I love to do. Players have enough pressures and the last thing you want to do is throw another load on top of them. It's bit by bit and getting a sustainable approach is really important.

She believes there are still major gains to be made by teams in terms of how they approach nutrition.

"There's a lot of misconceptions out there, there's a lot of poor information out there and our job, as practitioners, is to try and unmuddy that water and debunk a few myths.

"Nutrition actually isn't as difficult as it's made out to be sometimes. You're just trying to get people into better habits maybe, just fine-tuning. You're not trying to upturn anyone's life or anything, it's just about educating them a little bit better.


"Little things like instead of having that slice of toast after training, you'd probably be better off having a pint of milk. It's as easy as that.

"Little things like eating too late at night, carbohydrate intake is a really big thing, people honing in on stuff like sugar intake. Really what we're trying to do is pull back and look at the bigger picture and assess.

"Do you know what's a massive misconception? Thinking what works for the person next to you should automatically work for you. That can be quite defeatist if you don't recognise how different you are from your team-mates sometimes and what different responsibilities or pressures lie on you as an individual.

"Recognising that you should listen to yourself and try to work out, 'Actually, what does make me feel a bit better? What does actually work well for me?' It's a really important thing I think athletes need to start thinking about and listening to themselves a little bit more."

Picture credit: Sportsfile

See Also: Monaghan Ladies In Constant Negotiations Over Travel Expenses

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