In only their second year as a College-affiliated sports club, the Trinity Meteors have taken the varsity scene by storm. Speaking to Trinity News, team captain Katie Kilbride outlines various factors which she feels have helped the team’s rise to prominence, including a fruitful partnership with Trinity Sport, influential American scholars, returning stars, and most importantly, an overwhelming sense of “comradery” within the group, which is evident every time the team take to the court.
Central to the club’s success is their collaboration with Trinity Sport. Speaking on this, Kilbride explains that “our club joined forces with Trinity back last year, and with this partnership our team reaps massive rewards”. These rewards include “court hire, High Performance Strength and Conditioning, and Physiotherapy but to name a few”. Kilbride cannot speak highly enough of the arrangement, emphatically stating that: “since the beginning of this partnership Trinity have been instrumental in catering to our National League Team’s needs.” From this perspective, it is clear to see the importance of a reliable support system when it comes to promulgating success.
The team’s performances on the court demonstrate that Trinity’s investment is a worthy one, with the Meteors’ National League team having had what Kilbride describes as “an impressive season to date”. Impressive is probably an understatement. With just one loss, they currently sit joint first in the Women’s Division 1 National League. Not bad for a partnership which began only two years ago. This success is down not only to their talent, but their resilience. This was on show recently in “a tough fight in Cork at the National Cup Semi Finals”, where the team overcame fierce rivals Ulster University 77- 63 in an incredibly tight game. For Kilbride, the momentous occasions just keep on coming, with this “weekend marking an incredibly important date for the team” as they compete in the National Cup Final against the Portlaoise Panthers. As such, the Meteors are making themselves known in both the League and Cup competitions which is a testimony to their squad depth as they manage to be consistently victorious in spite of the heavy fixture schedule.
Integral to the team’s success is the personnel. Kilbride acknowledges this, explaining that: “This season sees a lot of new faces on the team. We have introduced two new American scholars, Carolyn Binder and Lauren Grigsby, who simultaneously play with Trinity Basketball Varsity team while also studying for their Masters in Marketing.” Their importance cannot be understated, with “both girls bringing a wealth of experience to the team, having competed at college Division 1 NCAA level in the States”. Indeed, Carolyn and Lauren have regularly featured as top scorers throughout this season.
The team’s recruitment extends beyond Grigsby and Binder, with other new faces including Edel Thornton who has returned from the States. Edel also played at Division 1 NCAA college level with Quinnipiac University and had the honour of co-captaining the Irish Women’s National team this summer. She has a wealth of experience at international, underage and senior levels in Irish basketball and has won countless league, cup and MVP titles. Thornton’s influence also extends beyond the court, with Kilbride praising “the energy Edel brings to the group” as “infectious,” noting that “her experience is definitely appreciated by all of the team, especially some of our younger players”.
There are also players who are gaining valuable experience closer to home. As noted by Kilbride, the Meteors have “quite a few scholarship students on the team”. In fact, “overall, we have 6 girls who concurrently compete with Trinity at College Varsity level”, including the influential Sarah and Niamh Kenny and Katie Garton. Kilbride believes that the extra minutes these players can get on the Trinity side definitely benefits the Meteors’ cause. From this, it is clear to see that the Meteors are blessed with a side made up of people whose lives revolve around the sport. Kilbride draws specific reference to Jade Daly and Kate McDaid, two more new additions who had played with Meteors during their underage careers. She describes this pairing as a “huge asset”, who you can, “always rely on to make an impact”. It is evident that bringing in such a wide range of skill-sets this season has elevated the Meteors to another level, and has undoubtedly played a massive part in their success.
However, without the “old veterans who have played with the Meteors right up until senior level” such as Kilbride, Eimear Martin, Lauren Flynn and Rachel Rice, the new players may have had less of an impact. Arguably, the most important quality in any team is a sense of structure and collegiality. The Meteors have that in abundance. Kilbride notes that with this eclectic mix of new players and old, “a great team spirit” has developed. This has enabled them to “put in a tremendous amount of work since preseason training began in July, with our coach Vinny O’Keefe making sure we are well rehearsed and prepared”. With that, the team are thoroughly excited for their National Cup Final against Portlaoise. Kilbride speaks highly of the opposition, drawing reference in particular to Claire Melia: “one of the country’s top players, who will certainly give us something to think about.” However, if the Meteors’ performances this season so far are anything to go by, their confidence is certainly well-founded. Regardless of the result in their Cup Final clash, the Meteors have been one of Trinity’s top performing sports teams this year, and this final will certainly not be their last.