While most teams around Europe are slowly getting back into track work, playing indoors or perhaps holding trials for the long season ahead, three of the four strongest Open Division teams in Ireland are busy preparing for a winner takes all WUCC Qualifier mini-tournament. On the 16th of February Ranelagh (Dublin), Rebel Ultimate (Cork) and Pelt Ultimate (Limerick) are playing each other in Dublin for the chance to go to Lecco. (Jabba opted out despite their 2nd place finish in last year’s All-Ireland Championships). The one day event will be a round robin style affair with each team playing two games. (A similar event took place last season for qualification to EUCRs and Ranelagh won, subsequently travelling to Bern for EUCR-SW where they finished 9th). Speaking of EUC-R, the winner of this tournament will also get the opportunity to represent Ireland at European level next summer, so there are effectively two prizes on offer. Factoring in the costs of a Worlds campaign, it will be interesting to see if the winning club decides to attend both…
World Clubs doesn’t come around too often, and certainly our individual players won’t have too many more opportunities to play at World Clubs. Us Pelt lads have bags of ambition, so why not give WUCC a shot?
Event Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/681401631891165
Mark Earley returns with An Irish Eye looking back at Ranelagh’s performance at EUCR-S.
Two weeks ago Ranelagh travelled from Dublin to Bern in Switzerland for EUCR-S hoping to have a crack at a region renowned for its strength. It was only the second time an Irish team had attempted qualification for EUCF and was to prove more difficult than the last attempt (when a Dublin Ultimate team full of pick ups finished 1 spot away from qualifying in 2010 in Nantes). The team was nearly at full strength, but also had a lot of new young players as well the established core.
Day one saw Ranelagh (9) face Italian champions CUSB (3) in the first game of the day. It started well for the Dublin team as they took the lead having started on D and stayed ahead until midway through the first half. Bologna fought back with a couple of breaks of their own and lead for a while until another Ranelagh surge saw them take half 8-7. In the third quarter of the game a combination of increased defensive pressure and some Ranelagh miscues saw Bologna jump out to a 3 point lead which they held onto to see out the game 14-10.
Both images courtesy of Flying Angels Bern.
Sadly no Ranelagh in Bordeaux but some Irish players will be there for UK teams! More news, views and opinions to come … DP @ tSG.
Irish Mixed team make history in Calafell
In the Open Division, a young and inexperienced Irish team made the journey and found the going tough. They were beaten well by most opponents, despite starting every game strongly and showing much potential throughout. Winning just one game during the week was frustrating for a group of players that will feel they should have beaten Hungary, a team that pipped them in a sudden death game on the Saturday and beat them by 4 on the Sunday. They did not face Portugal, who finished below them but would likely have beaten a nation whose focus was on the Mixed division, much like Ireland’s.
|Daragh Ó’ Céilleachair makes a bid against Turkey (Spirit winners) in pool stages.|
The quarter-finals were the cause of a Captain’s Meeting and much discussion at the end of the days play on day 2 of the tournament. Due to various teams holding seed and a number of odd results the schedule saw teams who had already played each other in pool play meet in the quarter-finals. Sweden, among others, objected but given that the schedule had been emailed to all captains and agreed upon they were left with little choice to stick by it. While this was undoubtedly fair, it gave the draw a somewhat lopsided look with Russia, Germany and a (very) under-seeded Sweden all on one side. However, as many people noted, you need to beat the best to be the best.
|Seamus Murray sends another disc long against GB in their QF match up.|
Portugal were the team in their way of a berth in the final. Another trip to the Arena for what promised to be a cracking match up. The teams had met twice previously, with Ireland having won both games in testing conditions and with Portugal missing some big players. This time the wind was a factor once more, but perhaps not as much as expected. Both teams began nervously, trading turnovers but it was David Pimenta who stood out, as he single-handedly tried to swing the game Portugal’s way with a number of big blocks and grabs. However, the strength of Ireland’s women, and indeed their offence, began to shine through. They went 3 points up late in the game and despite a Portuguese fightback, won out to ensure a place in the final, and a medal.
|Sweden and Ireland after the Mixed division final.|
The game began cagily. Both teams turned over in odd ways – misread discs, overthrown hucks and some drops. Eventually Sweden punched in the goal and were on the scoreboard. Point two saw them break the Irish offence again and so the theme for the game was set. Ireland could not get the space they were used to around their handler reset and their female players were facing their toughest battle yet. A slow start was unlike them and they appeared a little rattled, making mistakes where previously they hadn’t. A few dropped discs, a couple of marginal calls and all under sustained Swedish pressure left Ireland chasing the game and the more they chased the more the fight slipped away from them. It was a frustrating and disappointing end to a brilliant season and talking to the players after the game they felt like they’d under performed on the big stage. Sweden can take credit for a lot of the problems caused but Ireland will have to shoulder some of it too.
|Ireland Mixed take Silver at ECBU.|
Having watched from the sidelines it was easier to immediately understand how much their achievement means for them as players and indeed for Irish Ultimate as a whole. This is the first team to come home from any major championship with a medal and they won it in style, finishing the season with only a handful of losses. They played with swagger, aggression and Spirit. They won over opposition teams and impartial fans with their honesty and sense of team. What’s more they did it all with a legion of fans at home willing them on, cheering their every move and hoping they’d bring something back to Ireland once the sand settled in Spain.
Looking further down the line this result is an example to young players of what can be achieved with hard work, tactical nous and a focus on putting team chemistry ahead of all else. There are many Irish teams setting off this summer, all younger than most of this Mixed Beach team and no doubt keen to replicate their efforts. If they look at how the team applied themselves and how they behaved they will learn a lot. This Irish team is one for the Irish community to be proud of, one the three captains can look back on with pride and one which has set a high bar for teams to follow. Here’s hoping it’s just a start…
Yesterday was a massive day for the community making that $15,000 in a couple days for ulti.tv, looking forward to WG streaming! Like, share, comment and contribute! DP @ tSG.
Mark Earley kicks off our T1 review week with how the Irish lads did at London’s Calling.
Three Irish teams travelled to London for UKU Tour 1 at the start of June and all three returned to Ireland licking their wounds and eagerly counting the days until their next outing. Tour is a tough animal – you show a weakness and you get savaged. No team gives you anything and the higher you go up the ladder, the stiffer the competition gets. Irish teams know this and it appeals to their stubborn, physical and hard-working approach to the sport. Indeed, much of what Irish Ultimate has achieved over the past decade has been built on foundations picked up over freezing cold weekends in Mansfield, sun drenched days in Cardiff and at windblown Brit Opens. So, why the poor results this time around? Well before trying to answer that let’s look at how the three teams fared.
Some of the U-23s pose with the St Albans Mayor
Rebel Ultimate and Irish Mixed Beach team player Darragh Kelleher goes up
Rebel & Ranelagh team photo – a rarity!
Photos courtesy of Niall McCarney, Cynthia Lo & Andrew Moss
Video courtesy of Felix Shardlow at Push Pass Productions
Look forward to seeing Irish teams at T2 and hearing more from Mark! Like, share and more in the right hand pane, more T1 reviews coming up. DP @ tSG.
Mark Earley’s column ‘An Irish Eye’ continues with a look into Jabba the Hucks win at Irish Mixed Championships.
A few weeks ago Irish Ultimate held it’s annual Mixed Championships (as previewed in this article). The tournament took place in Maynooth, a town in Kildare, not far from the country’s capital. Hosted by the U-23 Mixed Team in an effort to raise some much needed funds for the trip to Toronto, the tournament ran very smoothly and perhaps more importantly was blessed with great weather.
|Jabba the Huck’s 3 teams at the recent All-Ireland Mixed Championships|
|Fiona Mernagh lets a flick fly during the final.|
Unfortunately for Jabba the Huck Ireland doesn’t have a spot in the WUCC Mixed Division at the moment. With at least 3 Open teams and 3 Women’s team likely to want to play in Italy it’s unlikely that one will become available soon, not to mention the fact that the division itself is likely over-subscribed already. It’s a shame because it would be interesting to see how the team would do against the best of European and world Ultimate. Trips to the UK have seen them compete well, but without a full Tour under their belt this year and following a low seeding it’s hard to tell how they match up against the top teams. Perhaps next year, when there is no U-23 team demanding most of their players’ focus we will see a full Jabba take on Tour. In the mean time they will split into Open and Women’s teams looking to win a unique treble…
Photos courtesy of Mary Dempsey & Alan Breathnach
Video courtesy of Richard Buggy
Mark will bring us the Irish Eyes viewpoint of T1 alongside our very own A/B/C/W tour reviews in our T1 review week: one review a day! Like, share and contribute! DP @ tSG.
With the Mixed season in the UK in full swing, Mark Earley tells us about the upcoming All-Ireland Mixed Champsionships.
Mixed Ultimate in Ireland is not something that the majority of Irish club teams focus on; in fact there is only one club that were set up with the aim of playing Mixed all year round – the Dublin-based Jabba the Huck. There are lots of reasons for this – perhaps the most obvious being a historically small playerbase and the way the sport grew in the country – through universities, where the number of male members always outnumbered the number of female sign ups. This has always been replicated at international level, where Mixed Ultimate wasn’t a preferred option until 2011 when a young and well-oiled Ireland Mixed squad surpassed the achievements of both the much-fancied Open and Women’s teams to make quarters of EUC.
2008 – Throwin’ Shapes
Photos courtesy of: Jabba the Huck, Martin Kelly, Ireland U23 Mixed Team
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