The sport of basketball will see a boost after a recent injection of over ¤100K, courtesy of the Irish Sports Council and the Women in Sport Initiative, writes JOLIE NILAND.
Basketball Ireland recently approved 16 programmes that will oversee female development in the sport, with the biggest amount of funding aimed at referee and coaching advancement.
One such recipient is Lynda Cassidy (pictured below) who will be supported by the initiative with a grant that will allow her to acquire a FIBA referee qualification.
This elite accreditation will mark Cassidy as Ireland's only active female FIBA referee and will propel the technical savant to rank among the best in European officiating.
During the basketball season, Cassidy officiated pivotal games in the Nivea for Men SuperLeague which embraced her as the only female to referee in the men's league.
The Lucan referee has been officiating for 12 years and refuses to be intimidated. Instead she looks forward to the experience that the funding will create for her.
"It's an honour to be a referee in the Men's SuperLeague as the standard is so high," said Cassidy.
"To become a FIBA referee was a dream," she added.
The standard in Europe is incredibly high and now I have the opportunity to experience this and return with knowledge to help develop refereeing in Ireland."
Although a large amount of funding is aimed towards referees, females looking to become involved in coaching will also be catered for.
With hopes of increasing basketball participation in schools, September will see the roll out of certified Coaching Ireland courses for secondary school teachers as well as a pilot Mini-Basketball coaching course for primary school instructors.
Mammies Basketball will be introduced at the National Basketball Arena for mothers and their children, while a School Girl Shoot Around will offer free gym time to local female pupils.
The second instalment of the funding is now accepting applications from all affiliated clubs, schools, colleges and organisations.
Application forms are available from the Basketball Ireland web site - check out www.basketballireland.ie or call 01-4590211.
Deadline is close of business, August 1.