There was approximately 24 hours between the semi-finals and final. Enough time for a fight about funding to breakout. A dominant theme was that success was achieved despite the lack of government funding. Echoes of a similar debate surrounding the Olympic success of Katie Taylor were audible. (Interestingly, it was also suggested that the financial, and other, sacrifices made by the team contributed to their success.)
A response came from John Treacy - CEO of Sport Ireland (the government agency with responsibility for most sporting matters). Tracey was reported as saying "They got €520k high performance, they got an additional €60k for both World Cup campaigns, and then they got €45k in terms of carding. Plus an additional co-funding of €260k." He went on to point out that the budget of Sport Ireland is limited and made a case for extra funding.
Maybe the narrow time frame increased the intensity of the debate. Maybe it generated more heat than light. Maybe.
It is less than two weeks since the National Sports Policy 2018-2027 was published. It was not a rushed document - based on the length of time it has been promised. Unfortunately, it is debatable whether the extra time was of benefit to the resulting publication. A more comprehensive evaluation of that document will follow in future posts. For the purpose of this post it is worth pointing out one small element. The document continues the sleight-of-hand by pointing out that participation in sport is associated with better academic results in the Leaving Certificate. As pointed out in a previous blog post (here), such claims are a matter of semantics (or maybe some antics). The only sports that are statistically significant in the final statistical model are hockey, hurling, and basketball.
As an economist it is difficult to be too critical of Sport Ireland, John Treacy, or those who will advocate for greater funding of their sport. Self-interest plays a large role in our motivations and that self-interest is so often defined by our identity. On Saturday, I listened to the radio and heard the voice of a past student. As I drove through County Offaly I remembered our visit to Cultec to discuss the carbon fibre hurley. And, I was as delighted with her performance as that of the Irish hockey team.