DCU, Interview, Ultimate Frisbee

Ciaran Mac Gabhann, DCU end of season review

By @SimonCocking


How did the season go for you team?

This year was a big year for the club. 2 years ago, we lost a huge percentage of our player base (only 5 of the players on the first team remained) and we had a bad year last year recruitment wise, so this year, emphasis was put on rebuilding more so than results.

That being said, this season went spectacularly for us. After a poor start at indoors (finishing 10th) we managed to break back into top 8 in open division (finished 7th, mimicking the result from 2 years ago), and 3rd in open Devs.

We also revived the women’s team, massive credit to Dom Smyth and Brian Henderson for that they did an amazing job as coach/women’s captain. As a result, we were able to send a team to every IV competition (as far as I remember), which hasn’t happened in the past few years.


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

Our performance on Saturday at open IVs was huge for the club. It showed just how far we have come in the space of a year. Unfortunately we couldn’t replicate them on Sunday, but we showed that we belong in the top 8 and we will be shooting for top 4 from now on at the very least. The women’s team managed to jump from 10th in Whacking Day to 6th(?) In Ladies IVs, another massive result for the club.

The team spirit we developed is another huge highlight. People were always looking to throw around, were happy to go to training or to just have a pint in the Nubar. It was great to see.

The lads performance at Devs was amazing too. We lost on universe to UCD and managed to beat NUIG and TCD both on universe after being 3 and 2 points down going into the cap, and we beat UCC too. The attitude on the pitch was inspiring and they took a well deserved 3rd place.

Personally, I’m happy with how I developed as a captain. The team who went to indoors with me will be able to tell you that I didn’t really know what I was up to. By the time we got to semester 2, I think I had a better handle on things.

Anything you would have done differently, looking back?

Told more jokes. Did you hear the one about the blind man who picked up a hammer and saw?

Looking back, sure, there’s always things we’d like to change. But I’ll try to pass on lessons learned to those in charge next year and make the club stronger in the long run.


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

We had a great fresher’s week. I think we signed up around 150 people. There were 3 or 4 guys who had played before in secondary. I’m not sure if we’ve had any that played in secondary before.. No doubt down to the work done by Dom, Marko and everyone else in the schools circuit. Thanks guys! Keep them coming!

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

By the time open IVs came around, we had about 20-25 people still training weekly.

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?

Compared to last year, this was huge. We were able to host Whacking Day again this year. Last year, we started late, and our fresher’s day was so late that we missed the beginner tournaments. We couldn’t let that happen again, so for us, Whacking Day was key.

A lot of credit goes to Dom Smyth too. He coached again us this year, and created an atmosphere at training that made people want to be there despite some awful conditions at times. I know I haven’t thanked him enough for the work he put in, and hopefully we will see him again next year.

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

I think we might only be losing 7 players, Dylan, Dan, Estelle, Hanna, Marcel, Matty and Kev. (If I’ve forgotten anyone, you should have come to training more :P) Brian just finished his masters, but he was talking about a PhD in DCU too so he might be still around. I’m not saying DCU Ultimate played a part in that decision, but I know he’d love to add an IV medal to his collection 😉

I am hugely excited for next year, and the years after that. Replicating the result from 2 years ago with a somewhat inexperienced team this years IVs means next year could lead to some silverware for the club.


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

Yeah, a lot of the players still in Dublin have started training with Gravity. Ger and Purdy are doing a great job and I know the standard at week 1 training next September is going to be incredible. DCU are going to Sandslash too. Hanna, one of the Erasmus students, is Polish and she managed to get us in.

TP and Estelle are on the under 23s mixed team, Brian is on the senior mixed team and recent alumni Alan K is on the senior open team. I know they’ll do club and country proud, and DCU are behind them all the way!

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

Yeah, definitely! I remember doing assignments during WCBU with the project on one screen and the live feed of the matches on another. It wasn’t a very productive week for me, but dammit it was fun. Internationally, we are a strong threat, so exciting things are to come during the summer. Club results from Tom’s Tourney, and now just this weekend at Tour 1 show that we can battle with the best in Europe and I know the teams are hungry for gold!

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

I’ll be playing with Snatch this summer if they’ll have me, so hopefully I can nail down how to throw in the wind. There’s always aspects of my game I’m trying to improve, but I usually notice them on a training by training/tournament by tournament basis. I’m always looking to learn, and be better than I was during the previous point. One thing I’m trying to do long term is work on hucks, and add that extra threat to my game.

What else should we have asked you / would you like to add?

I’d just like to thank everyone in and out of DCU for making it an amazing year of frisbee. It was exhausting at times, but to see the club and the team we built over the year makes it all worthwhile. Thanks again guys! See you on the field 🙂 xo


One thought on “Ciaran Mac Gabhann, DCU 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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