How did the season go for you team?
This season was a real mix of ups and downs for us. We started off the season in the best position we have every been as a club, coming back off a very successful season, finishing 8th in Indoor IV’s and beating our seeding by 2 or 3 places at Outdoor IV’s. As a result we had retained 10 members for this year, meaning that it was the first year since the club was set up were we could field a full outdoor team without recruitment. The icing on the cake for us was that we also had Dominick Smyth in as a coach for the whole season, who had made a huge difference for us in terms of the quality of training sessions and improving everyone’s knowledge of the game which helped us immensely. So we had very high expectations for this season from the very start.
We had decided among the committee that our main aim for this year was to win the plate at Indoor IV’s as it was a lot of members final year and they really wanted to finish off college Ultimate with some silverware and it was evident that we didn’t have enough depth in the squad to compete for the plate at Outdoor IV’s.
Indoors for me was the highlight of our season by far. We began the day by playing two very tough games against UCD 1 and Trinity 1. We were inevitably beaten by both teams 13-3 and 13-2 as far as I remember, with the games being closer than the scoreboard suggests in my opinion. I was pretty proud of our performances in those two games as we played some really good Ultimate, quickly getting the disc off the sideline with crisp handler resets before looking for the deep throw into the end zone where we could use the aerial threat of players such as Luke Essex and Adam Gannon. We also worked well on defense and made both teams work hard to get the point, causing a good few turn overs. We then went on to win 3 games in a row, beating Maynooth 2 before facing 2 very tiring games against Trinity 2 and DCU which were both won on Universe Point.
At this point we were exhausted after playing 5 tough, draining games in the one day and now had to face a very experienced NUIG 1 team in the plate final (who in my opinion definitely deserved to be in the top 8). With heavy breathing, calves cramping and feet burning, we just ran out of steam and were comprehensively beaten in the final as we could not find a solution to their infamous zone defense. Although we didn’t come away with the silverware, it was still a fantastic result and experience for us as we displayed some very effective Ultimate when playing to our strengths.
From there our season began to take a turn for the worse. With a change to outdoor training in the new year, we found it very difficult to get numbers out, I think 8 was the most we had out all semester and at one time we didn’t train for 2 or 3 weeks due to a lack of numbers due to most people being in final year, which left a lot of people (especially myself) becoming very frustrated. If it wasn’t for Dom consistently coming out and giving it his all week in, week out and delivering quality sessions with such few numbers I could easily have seen us not bothering training all semester and possibly not even entering a team into Outdoor IV’s at all.
Outdoor IV’s was a huge disappointment for me personally and it was certainly not how I imagined finishing off the season. We started off on the Saturda by playing well against UCD 2 but losing by a small margin, before beating DIT 2 on universe point. We then finished off the day by playing DCU, who were out for revenge from Indoors. DCU were on top of the game and looked very sharp from the first point and as the wind picked up their experience really showed through. We unfortunately found it very difficult to throw in the wind and were constantly pinned in the back of our end zone from each pull, which led to the my worst experience playing Ultimate, from never throwing a Callahan in 2 years of playing Ultimate to throwing two in 5 minutes. . . . .
However demoralised we were from our last game on the Saturday we were determined to come out fighting on the Sunday and give it a shot, until about 11pm night when 4 people had to pull out (dislocated shoulder, torn calf, sick and another had to work) to only leave us with 5 players for the Sunday and we had to reluctantly pull out last minute. So obviously it was a very disappointing end to our season and one which I hope doesn’t happen again!
tl;dr: Great start to the season, runners up in Indoor IV’s plate, very disappointing finish, had to pull out of Outdoor IV’s due to lack of numbers.
What were the team’s highlights, and your own ones too?
The highlight of our season was definitely beating DCU on universe point at Indoor IV’s to progress to the final of the plate. It was a game we certainly weren’t expecting to win as they had some very experienced players along with some very athletic beginners. DCU came out at us with a very well organised zone, something we hadn’t played against so far and never practiced playing against in training and we dealt with it perfectly. We stayed patient, never panicked or threw wacky discs and we literally walked the disc up to the edge of their end zone and jumped through their wall with our handlers every time, it was perfect. It was a great feeling to beat such a well organised team and to be in with a chance to win some silverware.
Anything you would have done differently, looking back?
Yes, I think we shouldn’t have taken training’s as serious as we did at the start of the year and we should have focused more on the reasons most people signed up for Ultimate, its a fun and friendly sport to play while still being very competitive. I think we may have expected too much from our beginners and assumed they could learn everything in one or two sessions (which obviously isn’t the case) and emphasized the competitiveness a little too much as it was most players last year to win something in college Ultimate. Something we are definitely looking to change for next year.
How did freshers fair go? Did you get many players who had played previously (at school)
Freshers was awful for us this year and it was the main cause of most of our problems as a club this year. As such a small club, we have always relied a huge amount on recruitment at freshers to replenish the ranks, but this year it just did not happen. The clubs and socs officer decided that instead of having a clubs and socs day in the hall like most years, there would be a whole week of sign ups where clubs were allocated 1 day to set up in the canteen and get people to sign up. This was a huge problem as we were trying to get people to sign up who were not interested in joining a new club and we were constantly met with the attitude of ‘Here lad, if I sign up will ya feck off and let me eat my lunch’. This, along with having no accommodation on campus, a late(ish) training time and poor public transport led to to a very poor turnout at our first session, only getting 5 beginners, compared to 15-20 last year.
Unfortunately we didn’t get any players who have played in school previously, hopefully next year with the work that Dom and a few other people are doing to promote Ultimate in schools around Ireland we will be blessed with a few next year.
We had only one beginner at the end of the year but he has been a huge player for us and he has come along leaps and bounds since the start of the year. He was one player that turned up to almost every session and it really showed in Outdoor IV’s when he scored 3 or 4 points for us before getting injured. Its really great to see such a huge improvement in such a short space of time, fair play Andy!
How many of your first team players will you be losing? Are you excited / positive about 2015/6?
We will be losing a whopping 7 players this year, which is a tough for any club, but for such a small club it is devastating , leaving us with only 4/5 players for next year. We are still unsure about the future of the club at the minute as there is a merger planned between DIT, ITB and ITT and to the best of my knowledge ITB will become ‘DIT Blanchardstown’ next year as a stepping stone towards Dublin Technology University. So a merger between ITB Ultimate and DIT Ultimate could possibly happen, however nothing has been discussed just yet and we would have to decide between ourselves, DIT and of course the IFDA first if this could go ahead, if not we will certainly give ITB Ultimate a shot.
Will many of your team be playing in the summer somewhere? (Worlds / summer lge etc)
There will only be 2 of us playing over the summer so far. I will be playing with the new club Uproar and Alan Carter will be playing with Gravity throughout the summer. Luke Essex will be playing with Uproar too when he returns after his J1 and hopefully we can get a few more players involved with clubs throughout the summer as well.
Will you follow the progress of the various Irish teams going to international tournaments this summer?
Yes of course, I plan on following as much of the Irish teams as possible. A few of the lads from Uproar will be involved with the Irish teams, Alan Kelly is playing for the Senior Open Team in Copenhagen and TP and LJ will be playing with the Mixed U23s in London and Aidan Kelly is the manager of the team, so I will definitely be interested to see how the lads get on.
Anything you plan to do to improve your own game over the summer?
Yes, I am constantly looking to improve my game and become a better player. I’m trying to improve my throws at the minute in training, trying to improve my flick huck in particular, its something I really lacked in the past. I’m also looking to bring a handling position to my game, playing 2 or 3 points in training as a handler. I am 100% a cutter and much prefer it, but having an ability to handle and cut is always handy to have in any team and at the minute I haven’t a breeze how to handle, so hopefully by the end of the summer I will see an improvement.