Tomorrow, Santry, 9 am, game time. The 2014 All Ireland Ultimate Frisbee Championships are on.
16 teams in the Open division, with more turned away. This is the tournament that you want to bring your A game to. There will also be a surprisingly large number of players will be making their débuts too, no pressure! They may be thinking only 16 teams? However as recently as 2009 there were only 6 teams entered.
Irish Ultimate has come a long way. It has taken a while, but it takes a while to grow things properly and with the right infrastructure.
A quick over view of the growth of Irish Ultimate.
From 1996 – 2000, there was one tournament a year. ‘The Dublin Tournament’ held here at Santry every year. At best there were two or three Irish teams competing amongst the 6 – 16 teams taking part. There was one All Ireland in the 90’s. You could say it was barely more than 4 pick up teams. Aptly though, despite losing one of their two pool games, Pookas made it to the final, and won it 5 – 4.
Then there was foot and mouth, and by 2002 Cork, in it’s initial version emerged. Cork from 2003 onward was then the prime outdoor tournament to win. By now most of the teams were Irish, and more Irish players were playing.
Then, finally, second time around, in 2009, All Ireland’s returned. Fittingly the first one was at Santry again. With only 6 teams it could be said the first competitive game was the final. By 2010 all four semi finalists were strong outfits as Belfast and Cork were now serious competitors.
Since then All Ireland’s has travelled around Ireland, being hosted by Belfast and Cork, before it’s return, for the 3rd time, to Santry again.
It’s a great situation to have reached. In the future perhaps there will be an A and B division, 24 or even 32 teams? However for now it’s still a fantastic achievement to have reached the point it is now at. 9am tomorrow, bring it on, and let friends and family know about coming to watch too, especially the final on Sunday afternoon. Tweet it, share it, get the word out.
Still want more?
Check out the event website, read interviews with some of the key players and teams in the running this weekend.