By @, interview with Brian Boyle, Irish Open Captain
Thanks Si! Really excited now with less than 2 weeks to go. Training has been going quite well despite the time of year. We’re all finished now in terms of training after 4 weekends together plus the trials, so things are looking good.
It must have been a bit tough having to train over the winter to peak for an event so early in the season, especially as it is on sand, winter sand, wet, cold!
I was not looking forward to winter training to say the least, but we were pretty fortunate overall. Temperatures were decent enough, and it hardly rained at all. Wind was a bit of a problem, but that’s to be expected any time of the year, especially on a beach. One day we had brilliant sunshine, but it was so windy we couldn’t play, so we did an indoor session instead.
What’s it been like training on Burrow Beach ? (One of our favourite beaches)
It’s a great spot that not too many people seem to know about. Good, flat beach for Ultimate that’s right on the DART line. Not too many shells or seaweed either so you can pretty much play straight away. Lots of friendly dogs running around though, which can be both adorable and annoying. Our last training session was actually in Rush, which is a great spot. Took a few minutes to clear it of shells but the sand was perfect. Ireland really does have some great beaches. Just a shame about the weather!
Have you played any warm up tournaments with the team?
We were going to go to a tournament in England in January, but decided the cost probably didn’t outweigh the benefits, especially since conditions were essentially what we were playing in at home. We were going to go to Lisbon MOW with the Mixed team as well, but they had to cancel the Open division due to lack of interest. Would have been a great opportunity.
Six of us managed to make it over to Barcelona for an Iron Man tournament, which was a great experience and we took a lot from it. Playing in warm weather against opponents who were used to playing on a Beach showed us what we needed to work on for Dubai.
What are you hoping to achieve at WCBU?
As much as we can! It’s a great opportunity to showcase Irish Ultimate to other countries, and also play against some unique styles. When the tournament’s over I just want everyone to feel like they had the time of their lives and that the results went as well as they could for us. If everyone’s happy at the end of the week, I’ll consider my captaincy a success.
Which teams are you looking forward to playing?
I always love to play teams from outside of Europe since I rarely get to do it, and we’ve got a few of them in our group: Japan, India, Singapore and the Philippines. Australia is also going to give us a friendly before the tournament apparently, which will be a great way to prepare. Every team we play will be unique, and it’s always more special playing another nation while representing your own.
Have any of you been to Dubai / What do you think it will be like to play there?
I don’t think any of us have, besides maybe a lay over in the airport. I think it will be amazing to play Ultimate in a new part of the World and also see some of the amazing sights there. I’m sure the beach is immaculate as well, and the weather is going to be magnificent.
What’s your approach to the local laws?
Obviously we’re going to try to stay out of trouble. It seems to be a very forward thinking city, especially when it comes to western tourists. There’s even a Fibber Magees which we’ll have to investigate (and watch the Six Nations at). I’ve always thought sport and politics should be separate, so I’d be happy to play Ultimate in any country regardless of the laws there (within reason). After all, there are plenty of Irish laws I don’t necessarily agree with but I love playing Ultimate here.
Will you be off alcohol for the week?
Some of the lads will be, but I won’t be placing a ban on it. Obviously too much alcohol is detrimental to performance, so I’ll probably limit the amount we’ll be drinking during the actual tournament. People have invested a lot of money and time towards this tournament to have fun but also do well, so I’m sure we can meet a happy median. I plan to wet my own whistle during the tournament as it’s a great way to relax after a hard day, especially if you’re on a beach!
Who do you think will contest the final in your category?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say Great Britain and The Philippines. GB because they are mostly Clapham players who know each other, as opposed to the USA who seem to be just a mix of great players who may not have much experience playing together. The Philippines because they live and breathe beach. If those teams meet in the semi finals, I think the USA are an easy bet to make it in.
Obviously Sweden looked great at ECBU, so I’d expect them to do well in Dubai as well. I’d have to say the USA will probably win though.
Where do you think / aim / hope to finish?
Obviously as high as possible, but without knowing too much about the other teams it’s hard to say. The Irish Open Beach teams in the past haven’t done very well, so I’d be happy to improve on past performances and get a few scalps.
Higher than mixed!?
The Mixed team have a lot more experience, and it’s hard to know if other countries’ strongest players will be on their Mixed team or on their Open/Women’s teams. The Mixed team was well ahead of the Open team at ECBU, but I think we have the talent to make that gap smaller.
What else would you like to add?
If you’re reading this, don’t be afraid to show us your support on social media or however you can. It could make all the difference. That and go out and play some Beach Ultimate! Come on Duboys!