DIT, Interview, Ultimate Frisbee

Aidan Kelly, DIT end of season review

By @SimonCocking

How did the season go for you team?

This season was a bit of a mixed bag for DIT. From September we immediately pushed as hard as we could to prepare for Indoor IV’s, and it paid off dividends when we managed to finish in the top four. With our new coach Darragh Herd, we managed to create an effective game plan that saw us beat both Maynooth and Trinity on the way to a semi against a strong UCC team. Our outdoor season was ultimately (lolz) disappointing, despite a strong showing at The Siege winning 5 from 7 games and finishing 5th at Developmentals, we couldn’t get numbers for Mixed and finished 9th at Open IV’s.

What were the team’s highlights, and your own ones too?

The biggest highlight, for me, was beating Maynooth at Indoors. We have an extremely strong and healthy rivalry and they are a team I’ve always admired and somewhat aspired to try and turn DIT into. We had played them in two friendlies the week before and they beat us by 4-5 both times, but we still felt like we could take them on the day. The game itself is a big of a mad blur for me, we went 3-0 down scarily quick and managed to take it to 3-3 not long after. From there I think we managed to trade it out, until the defining moment of the game where our wall-D became unstoppable. Maynooth must have played 80-90 passes but couldn’t find a gap to score, it was outrageous. Then, our first year, Tadhgh Deevy got a point-block with one of his ridiculously lanky arms before we turned around and scored in two passes. We won by a single point and the positive atmosphere made us feel invincible going into our next game against Trinity where we went 5-1 up before winning 10-7 or so.

Anything you would have done differently, looking back?

It’s hard to really pinpoint what went wrong on our season, being honest. Our outdoor training situation was a bit of a joke for the majority of the year. There are brand new all-weather pitches in Grangegorman that were ‘finished’ in November, but STILL aren’t allowed be used because of some silly dispute with the local residents in the area. So, we didn’t have any real outdoor trainings until semester two, where we had to trek out to Monkstown (very South Dublin) and train in the early evening. This was in no way ideal as we would train at6:30pm with most people finishing lecturers at 6pm. I’m not sure if there was anything we could have done, per say, but it was certainly not a help to our preparations/development. It also didn’t help that every training we had was in perfect, windless conditions, and then IV’s ended up being a classic Santry special, haha.

How did freshers fair go (way back when)? & Did you get many players who had played previously (at school)

Freshers week went well. We had about 70-80 beginners at our first training, but (this whole interview is going to look like a giant rant against our training facilities, haha), our developmental trainings are comprised of an hour and a half in a small hall, followed by an hour on a astro that’s less than half a pitch in size. We couldn’t handle the amount of people who came to weeks 1-3 and, despite it naturally dropping as the weeks went on, we can’t help but feel we had some missed potential.

Other than that, we managed to recruit some players with fantastic potential. One of our first years was on the cusp of the Junior Open team, which as everyone knows is no easy feat these days. We was even lucky to have gotten the experience of playing with the team at The Siege, where he was the only college player and only one playing less than two years on the squad. We also have a number of enthusiastic and athletic beginners who will only continue to get better next term.

In terms of players who have experience outside of college, we were somewhat lucky to have added two Ireland internationals in Tadgh Deevy (U17s, Juniors) and Martin ‘Juno’ Kelly (U23’s, Open Beach) as well as Joey Staunton, who took up the sport with Jabba a few months prior.

How many were still playing by the end of the year?

I think we had 10 beginners play Open IV’s, with nine of them on DIT2 and one on the first team. I find that the Christmas break is the most difficult part in keeping first year players, as the massive gap in training can allow them to fall out of any routine they have and lose interest. We’re trying to work hard in keeping beginners by allowing them to get involved as much as possible as soon as early on in the year as we can.

Was this the usual sort of level, or did you do anything different this year, which had more or less success in retaining / gaining new players?

It’s probably the average, alright. Slightly up on last season, but maybe slightly down on the year before. I don’t think we did anything different, as such, but were just lucky to have a small core group of enthusiastic young players. There are 3-4 lads in the same course that come to training each week, that really helps. Sometimes it really is down to a bit of luck.

How many of your first team players will you be losing? Are you excited / positive about 2015/6?

We’re losing some of our core players this summer. ‘Mad’ Tom Healy, Steve Gogo, Juno and Joey Staunton are all finishing up and heading out into the big bad world (or dole line) and with a number of us entering final year, development is of course key once again. It’s looking like one of our old boys, Tom O’Hora will be back doing an undergrad, which will be huge added experience for possibly the next four years.

Next season will be an interesting one. I think a lot of us had high ambitions for this year and were hit hard when things didn’t come to plan. It might be a case of going into it with no unnecessary pressures and just enjoy our Ultimate. That way when we have our goal medals come next May at IV’s in Limerick, it’ll be even sweeter. 😉

Will many of your team be playing in the summer somewhere? (Worlds / summer lge etc)

A fair number of our players had individual successes, in terms of making international teams. As I’ve already said, one of our first years (Andrew Devenney) was extremely close to making Juniors, while two of us made the Open Beach team that went off to Dubai back in March. Two more, Tadgh Deevy and Kuddlezzz, as well as alum Johnny Anger were on the provisional Open U23 squad, before making the Mixed U23’s a few weeks back. I’ll also be heading to London to Manage/Coach the Mixed team, which is pretty exciting.

In terms of club – We really push our players to train as much as possible to get a different flavour of Ultimate from other coaches/teams. A lot of our lads will be playing with Gravity, Jabba and new club, Uproar, while one of out firsy years is a Tipp boy and hopes to train with Rebel for the summer.

Will you follow the progress of the various Irish teams going to international tournaments this summer? 

Of course! I’m a big Frisbee nerd when it comes to Irish Ultimate, so I’ll be following closely. And, as I said, I’ll be going to London with the Mixed team so I’ll be able to help support the Open lads too.

Anything you plan to do to improve your own game over the summer?

Just play as much as possible. In terms of my game, there’s nothing I want to pinpoint, exactly, but I do plan on improving my conditioning throughout the summer, so I don’t get injured as soon as Indoor season comes back!

I just finished playing the Mixed season with Gravity, where I feel I really was able to fine tune my game and learn new things from playing with different people, and I’m about to jump into the Open season with a new club called Uproar, who are essentially a reformation of Hammertime and 66. We hope to be able to continue the development of Ultimate in rural Leinster while also being able to compete at a high level within Irish Ultimate.


One thought on “Aidan Kelly, DIT end of season review

  1. Pingback: Marks out of 10, Irish colleges end of season review, with bonus content | Sarah Paddle Swim

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