DCU athletics academy completed a comprehensive win this month, claiming all team trophies at the IUAA Track and Field Championships at Waterford IT.
The men’s team took home 21 medals (seven gold, nine silver and five bronze), while the women’s team enjoyed fresher’s wins from Sarah McCarthy, Grainne Moynihan and Emily Rodgers bringing the women’s medal haul to nine gold, seven silver and 10 bronze.
The results meant that at the end of the two day event DCU were crowned IUAA team champions, breaking five IUAA records and 10 DCU club records in the process.
Speaking to The College View, Athletics Academy director Enda Fitzpatrick praised the athletes on another impressive win.
“We have a few star athletes. The thing great thing for me right now is our team is so big right now, if a more senior athlete had a bit of a niggle or an injury, I was able to replace that athlete and say don’t risk your track season right now.”
Fitzpatrick was also encouraged by the team spirit shown by the athletes and their level of commitment to one another.
“All the athletes live in the same house on campus which is great for bonding as well. It’s just great for team moral full stop.”
He also placed big emphasis on the role of first year athletes and how they have come along and settled into the academy.
“It’s great for them because they get the opportunity to run in university competitions and when they do compete invariably they do tend to perform very, very well anyway.
“They’re out there to do their best and it’s great to be able to give them some exposure and some experience as well.
“The university’s triple jump champion is Sarah Buggy, a first year from St. Patrick’s. The first year high jump champion is Emily Rodgers, first year sports science and health. The long jump and multi-events champion is another first year, Sarah McCarthy.
“Our influx of first year female athletes has been of a really high standard. A measure of how good you are is if you come in in first year and you win the intervarsity title in your first year.
“That’s huge. Sometimes it might take three or four years before you establish yourself as a university champion and we’ve currently got four first years that are reigning IUAA first year champions.”
Other first years to impress included Sophie Parkinson Brown in the throw events, Lilly-Anne in the hurdles, Sarah Bourke in the walk and Niamh Markham in the 800m.
However with continuously rising numbers of athletes coming into the academy every year, it remains to be seen whether more funding will be pumped into the set up.
“I’d love to think we’d be in a position to get more funding. But I mean our funding budget has gone down and down every year.
“To be brutally honest I think our success could be a negative too in the sense that so many athletes come here now because of what we’ve done and what we’ve set up.
“But look we’ve had a great year, despite all the cut backs that we’ve had, we’ve virtually dominated everything again this year.
“The size of the team and the team spirit as well as training with better athletes… An awful lot of athletes want to come to DCU. If the numbers were to continue going up we would need an increase for sure. Whether it’s going to happen I just don’t know.”
However recent success this year, and since the academy was first established, Fitzpatrick was always quite optimistic about the direction that they are going in.
“If we’re able to replace the ones going out the other end and graduate with their degrees and replace them, which invariably I have been able to do for the last four or five years now, and supplement with a few extra athletes, which appears to be the continuing trend, then I think it’s a warning for the other colleges. We aren’t going to get any weaker.
“The sports facilities are getting better and better. If you go up to the sports grounds, the new football pitch and the athletics buildings that are attached to that are absolutely fantastic.
“There’s a long jump pit over there as well as throwing cages, throwing circles, practice circles, high jump facilities. That’s only going to re-enforce more and more athletes wanting to come here.
“You’ve got blood testing analysis here and we’ve love to utilise more of the sports science graduates to carry out more testing. We’re linked into to everybody and we have a superb system in place for injured athletes also.”
Looking forward to the summer, there are also other events on around the college aimed to get students and staff alike involved and active.
“The DCU Fun Run 5k is taking place Wednesday the 30th of April here on campus. It’s a real staff/student initiative.
“Last year when we had our run out we had about 65 or 70 athletes. I think this year it’s going to double at least, you’ll probably see about 150-200 athletes outside the Helix. The track is around Albert College Park and it’s two and a half laps in there.”