Ireland Mixed 2015, Irish Ultimate

Ireland Mixed aiming for EUC 2015 Copenhagen glory, 1 point at a time

By @SimonCocking, interview with Conor Hogan @IrelandMixed

When did you start training together?

Back in September and early October we had our trials, and after picking the squad we had our first training weekend in early November. It was a casual enough affair where we set our team goals for the season and had a meeting and mobility screening with our S&A coach (Doyler) on Saturday. Then on the Sunday we started introducing our structures. Since then we’ve had 1 training weekend or warm-up tournament per month, other than April where we had a month off and July when we had both a training day and a warm-up tournament.

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What’s the plan for the last few weeks – any tournies, or wrap everyone in cotton wool (please)

So we’ve just finished our last training weekend. Dublin Women’s Ultimate invited 4 Seattle Riot players over to run some clinics for coaches, junior players and female players, so these four were our guest coaches for our last session together. It was awesome to get new perspectives on some of our systems and they really helped us figure out some of the kinks in our structures.

For our last week and a half before we fly, it’s more or less a case of don’t be stupid. Club training, a last bit of conditioning, etc. is all fine. But we’re all smart enough to know that the weekly 5-a-side on a Thursday night after work is a crap idea between now and EUC! Everyone’s normal Frisbee routine will be sufficient to have us in good shape before Euros so we’re not quite at the cotton wool stage just yet.

You have a few players with experience from the successful mixed beach campaigns of 2013, has that helped?

Most of our team has previous success on an Irish mixed team, be it the beach teams of 2013 or 2015, the U23s of 2013, or the 6th place finishers at the last Euros in 2011. So we’re not lacking in mixed experience thankfully. The main benefit of having players from that 2013 team is having people on the squad who know what it’s like to play in a European final in front of a big crowd. We were fortunate enough to make two finals so far this season, both with decent crowds, so I’d like to think we’ll not be uncomfortable if we should progress that far in Copenhagen. But yeah, having Sam for example give us his thoughts on what it was like to play in front of a big crowd in Calafell was a big help so far this season in big games. So the benefits of this are mainly psychological.

At the same time it is also a relatively young squad you’ve assembled, has that helped too?

We’re pretty young alright, yeah. The average age of the team is 24 (and a half!). A lot of us have been playing together for years though, be it with our respective clubs, colleges, or on national teams, so we’re a pretty cohesive unit and we all know each other’s preferences of cuts, throws, etc. really well. So I guess the fact we’re pretty young doesn’t help one way or another as such, but the amount we’ve all played together definitely has helped a bunch!

Who are the different captains and what are their roles?

Our “leadership team”, for lack of a better term, is made up as Frenchi as coach with myself, Emer, Fiona and Liam as captains. 5 seems like a lot to run the team, but it’s been great from an organisational point of view because there is always someone free to do whatever work is needed. The captains’ roles don’t really differ that much to be honest. At our first training weekend, we were all announced as “pod leaders” meaning we had 4 players each on the squad that we would have in our pod for the season. The idea of the pods was so that Ian didn’t have to look after the questions, concerns, demands, etc. of 20 other people, which would have been a logistical nightmare. We help by communicating different bits of information to our pods, such as feedback on performance post training/tournament, and we answer any and all questions regarding tactics or logistics. On pitch our roles don’t differ; for each game someone does the flip, someone does the speech post game, but no one person is designated to do it for a full tournament or anything.

To help us throughout the season with spirit issues, we’ve appointed Alan Pierce as our spirit captain. He helps keep us on our toes with spirit discussions before, during and after tournaments, and helps resolve any issues that come up mid-game too.

What new elements, if any, have you introduced to how the team trains and plays?

Most of the team were familiar enough with our structures in one way, shape or form when we introduced them throughout the season. The main thing we’ve introduced that would be different is a number of initiations which needed to be learned by all, but I guess that’s the same for every team at all levels. Some players are debutants at Senior level, so they would have had to adapt to the speed of the game, but you wouldn’t guess it from the way they’ve been playing recently!

You’re coming off the back of several successful results and tournaments. Well done on that. What aspects have worked that you were especially happy about?

Yeah, thanks! Results wise we’ve had a pretty nice season so far. It’s been a good confidence booster, but we’ve had a scare or two along the way to keep us honest, which was important too.

Without going into tactics and that, the main things we’ve taken away from our pre-season is our attitude and positivity. When we have been relaxed, with positive feedback for each other and positive body language, we have crushed it! It’s been really awesome to be a part of. When we’ve been a bit lethargic or lacking in energy we’ve struggled to maximise our efficiency on pitch, so it was really important for us to recognise this as a team, especially at Dublin’s Golden Cup, and to tackle the issue. We responded really well after a sluggish start to the weekend and it showed us that we need to be switched on 100% of the time, which can be mentally fatiguing, but it’s really important for us to be there if we want to do well.

What are your goals for EUC 2015?

We’ve a number of team goals which will remain a mystery for the time being! We do want to go over to Copenhagen and perform to the best of our ability though. Throughout the season we’ve focused more on the process rather than the results. If you do the former well, the latter sorts itself out. Something that the Riot girls talked about at the coaching clinic last weekend was “focusing on the controllables”. There are going to be a ton of distractions and hype around the event. There could be fluctuating weather conditions throughout the whole week. There are hundreds of different variables that we can do literally nothing about, so why think about them? If we execute and succeed in our goal to control the things that we can control, then the other team goals will sort themselves out.

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Have these shifted / what’s your strategy to manage expectations, and help to team to pace themselves for a successful whole tournament campaign?

If we take each point one at a time, and “live in the now”, we’ll be fine with regards to pacing ourselves. We have 5 group games, but there’s little point in looking forward to our Thursday morning group game on Monday, when we’ve 4 to play before then. So if we employ a tactic of just thinking about our next game, and giving it everything for the next point of that next game, our focus shouldn’t falter.

Without mentioning any specific teams, some nations have gained a reputation for questionable behaviour and gamesmanship. Have you done anything to help prepare the team for dealing with this sort of thing if you happen to encounter it?

Funny enough, we kind of have. We’ve talked at length as a team about different scenarios that have cropped up in our games throughout the season and we’ve discussed the way that we would like to approach these scenarios should they arise again. Pierce, as spirit captain, has been great in this regard to remind us of certain rules and how we should implement them in a given scenario. We’ve talked about how we react to calls too and how our tone and body language can be used to calm situations rather than having our opponents get their backs up against us. At our training with the Riot girls they introduced a few drills and tactics too to help us deal with overly physical teams. In the next 2 weeks we hope our players will get their clubs to run these drills so they can get more and more comfortable in these awkward situations.

You’re the marketing guy – the team profiles are good (but you should have made them sharable / tweetable too), was there any interest in corporate sponsorship for the team – with the Irish economy picking again, it might be an opportunity moving forwards?

The masters in marketing hasn’t been a waste of money after all! Unfortunately, Ultimate Central doesn’t give social media options, but it’s a good idea going forward – definitely something to give them feedback on.

We did have an offer to sponsor some of our kit, but with the timing of getting our kit and all the logistics of getting something printed on them after receiving the kit, it’s been tough to successful negotiate a deal. It might still happen!

Going forward, yeah, it would be sweet to get some sponsorship! To go into a bit of a partnership or deal with someone for a few years would be great, and it would help keep the costs of attending international competitions lower. If anyone knows any companies that might be interested, you might get them to email president@irishultimate.com. I’m sure President Boyle would love to hear from you.

Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?

I’d just like to do a number of thank yous at this point! Thanks to Ian, Emer, Fiona and Liam for all their hard work so far this season, and getting the team to the point we’re at. Thanks to the Riot girls (Charlie, Rachel, Shannon and Surge) for making the trip over and helping us to up our game. Thanks to everyone who has helped us out in one way or another this season (Nuala, Lizzie, Claire, Doyler, Perfect, and anyone else I’ve missed!). Thanks to the rest of the team for making this season so memorable, even if it’s far from over! And lastly, thanks to everyone who has supported us this far. We’re coming up on our last hurdle and all of your messages and support has been awesome!

To follow the team at EUC, like and follow us on:

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Irish Ultimate, Photography

Irish Intervarsities 2015, all the photos in one place!

By @SimonCocking

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The report of the weekend

#1 Trinity : TCD in action

#2 University College Dublin : UCD losing finalists

#3 Cork : UCC 3rd place

#4 Limerick:  UL 4th place 

& UCD 2

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Africa, Beach Ultimate, Beaches, Declan Moore, Del Robins, India, Interview, Irish Ultimate, Philippines, Tadhg Healy, Uganda, Ultimate Frisbee, USA

March : Latest Ultimate articles including WCBU teams

By @SimonCocking

Chennai Heat - 7v7 Floodlit beach Ultimate tournament

It’s been a busy month since the last round up post.WCBU produced some great matches, many of which can still be viewed via Skyd and their youtube chanel

Surprisingly perhaps many of the articles on the newer ultimate nations, Philippines, Uganda, and India were viewed as much as the pieces on Team USA, as well as our own Irish teams.

Also some great in depth interviews with some longtime quality players;

Tadhg Healy, Irish Captain, Cork innovator

Declan Moore, Australian and (briefly) Irish Captain, [Irish Ultimate’s Roy Keane!]

Del Robins, GB Ultimate player and #1 UK disc golf player for 22 years straight

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Beach Ultimate, BULA, IFDA, Interview, Irish Ultimate, Ultimate Frisbee, WCBU

WCBU preview : First 5 posts + 2 bonus pieces

By @SimonCocking

Not long now till #WCBU2015 in Dubai . Here are the first five articles in case you missed any. We look forward to bringing you the stories of as many as possible before the big event itself.

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Image from WCBU website 

Read the first five posts below

Irish Mixed, Sam Mehigan

BULA, Patrick van der Valk

GB Masters Rob McGowan

Irish Open, Brian Boyle

Australian Mixed, Luan Mckenna

Also from one of the oldest players to be playing at #WCBU2015

Nick Cash, playing for GB Grand Masters

and a long time beach lover

Ian Cuddihy World Beach Gold Medalist 2011

 

 

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Dominick Smyth, Emma O'Callaghan, Geoff West, Ian Cuddihy, IFDA, Irish Ultimate, Nick Cash, Patatas Bravas, Reuben Godfrey, Ultimate Frisbee

7 latest Ultimate interviews February 2015

By @SimonCocking

It’s been another good month for ultimate interviews. Thanks to all those who contributed their views and words of wisdom. Happy to keep talking to people and putting it out there. Here they are, in strictly chronological order.

Patatas Bravas, Evolution of Barcelona Ultimate,

Emma O’Callaghan, NUI Galway Captain

Nick Cash, awesome longevity, ’76 to 2015,

Geoff West, there at the birth of Ultimate Frisbee, Columbia High School 1968

Reuben Godfrey, Chimpo founder and raconteur  story  and pics 

Dominick Smyth, massively popular, brave and helpful to many, parts 1 & 2

Ian Cuddihy, Kilkenny emigre, pilot, beach lover, Irish World Beach Gold medal winner

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IFDA, Interview, Ireland, Irish Ultimate, Sport, Ultimate Frisbee

The latest 7 Ultimate interviews, with added girl power

@SimonCocking

We have a few  more interviews bubbling under the radar, not quite emerged, butterfly like, from their slow gestation process. So, meanwhile, here are the latest 7 interviews for those of you who missed any of them over the last month or two. Enjoy.

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Emer Mernagh : The most recent one

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Brian Boyle : Bienvenidos to our past, present & future Presidente

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Yvonne Halpin : The one everyone wanted to read

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Liz Schaffalitzky : The one that settled a few scores as well as scoring points.

Bray Exhibition Match 2011 C

Kelly Mulholland : All round good guy

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Charlie Cheever : The guy that didn’t want to pick Mark Zuckerburg for the Harvard college team

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Raymond Stephens : Early Irish legend

 

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Brian Boyle, IFDA, Interview, Irish Ultimate, Ultimate Frisbee, Wheelchair Ultimate

Interview with Brian Boyle, Irish Ultimate’s returning President 2014/2015

@SimonCocking

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Interview with Brian Boyle, Irish Ultimate’s returning President 2014/2015

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Congrats on a 2nd term. What made you want to do another year?

Thanks Si! I think I did a pretty good job overall last year and there’s a few things that I wanted to keep working on. Ferguson and Rickard were both pretty sure they would be stepping down as well, and it’s good to have one of the three leading committee members still around so everything isn’t forgotten from year to year. I’d also like to think that I made a positive impression with our members around the country last year and I know the majority of them personally, which can cause some issues but I think it’s easier dealing with someone you know or have met in the past than with a faceless President through emails.

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Any unfinished business? What do you plan to do differently? Any changes?

Obviously Sports Council recognition is the big one. I really want to get that done during this term and I’ve set the goal of January for submitting our application. In terms of doing things differently, I’d like to be a bit more open with the community and also work more with people outside of the committee. There’s plenty of knowledge and resources in our community that can be tapped into, and I’m sure plenty of people are willing to help out with things if they can (so get in touch if you’re interested!). The committee is made of all Dublin based players and only one female player this year as well, which is a bit of a concern as we don’t want to potentially isolate other groups from our proceedings. A few sub-committees will be set up this year to deal with certain issues, so we’ll do our best to make those as diverse as possible.

How many of the committee are new / how many repeats? Was it hard to fill all the roles?

Jen Cooper and myself will be continuing our roles as Development Director and President respectively. We have five new members this year: Aidan Kelly as Secretary, Killian Roche as Treasurer, Declan Grogan as Coaching Director, Conor Hogan as High Performance Director, and Alan Pierce as Competitions Director. I was actually dreading the elections part of the AGM as it’s always hard to get people to run for things (I only ran for President last year because no one else did. No regrets though!). However, this year somebody ran for each position straight away, and in most cases there were multiple people running for each position, which is our ideal scenario. This may have been the first time that someone running for re-election was beaten too, as our Competitions Director Barry Walsh lost a close vote against Alan Pierce. This goes to show that it’s getting harder and harder to make it onto the committee, as opposed to getting harder and harder to fill positions, which is wonderful. People are obviously taking more of an interest in the IFDA, which hopefully continues.

Tell us about the 4 motions that passed – what are the implications / what differences might it make?

The first motion was a no-brainer, lowering the quorum for the AGM from 10% of membership to a set number of 25 members. With the growth of membership, especially child membership, it was no longer reasonable to expect 10% of our members at the AGM. Most other NGBs have quite low numbers for quorums, so it fits in with common practice as well.

The second motion has strong implications. We’ll be doing a constitutional review to better define the relationship between the IFDA, Irish Ultimate, Disc Golf Ireland and any future Disc Sports organizations. This is a huge job, but very important as it will only become more difficult the longer we put it off. This should help our ISC application process as well. One implication is potentially having separate constitutions and AGMs for Irish Ultimate and the IFDA, but I imagine for the first few years that they will be run side-by-side and hopefully with similar, if not identical, committees. This has become a necessity since the current IFDA committee do not have the knowledge or resources to run Disc Golf events, and having a separate body for that is ideal.

The third motion was for us to define and register clubs. This would make our lives so much easier as we don’t know what clubs exist out there, where and when they train (if at all), how many members they have etc. Right now if somebody asks to join a club, we can say ‘we think there’s one here, maybe contact this person’. Now we’ll know who is actively playing Ultimate (or other Disc Sports) in Ireland. The definition part is just to prevent pick-up teams from forming to play IFDA events. Also, the word ‘club’ is in our constitution, so it would be nice to know what we mean when we say ‘club’.

The final motion that passed was to make minimum standards for Intervarsity tournaments. This is both to make the standard of college tournaments rise, and also make it easier for colleges to run an event if they haven’t ran one before. They won’t be as strict as our All Ireland standards.

The two that weren’t passed? Comments, too soon / not right for now?

The motion to have a consistent way of seeding IFDA events throughout the year didn’t pass. This is probably because either people didn’t like the options, or they prefer events be seeded differently based on the event. I’m upset this didn’t pass as seedings are always the number one source of my IFDA related headaches during the year, but hopefully things will be easier next year.

The motion to have a delegate system for voting at the AGM as opposed to a ‘one member one vote’ system also failed to pass. I also don’t like that this motion didn’t pass as it would have encouraged more individuals and clubs to take an interest in the AGM. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is brought up again in the future, but maybe it was too soon this year.
Any other ideas you’d like to see in 2015?

Our new website is an incredible resource that people should use. (Maybe you’re interested in writing a few pieces for it yourself Si?). Right now you can see it at irishultimate.ultimatecentral.com, but it should be updated to just irishultimate.com very soon. There are so many features that we’ve only begun to scrape the surface, so it may be worth checking out afda.com (Australia Flying Disc) to see the potential of our own website.

I set up a Facebook group to discuss the motions before the AGM, which I think was a big success. I’d like to keep this group going through the year as an informal public forum for people to discuss things with the IFDA. Hopefully this will make us more accountable and also make us into a tighter knit community.

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Wheelchair Ultimate, any progress in having a game some time?

Yes! Been working on it. Was hoping to get something going before Christmas but the time has snuck up on me. Doesn’t it always? I’ll hopefully get to organize something in the new year. Everyone here at IWA-Sport seems quite open to the idea as well, which is great, especially since it has just received Paralympic recognition.

On a side note, working at IWA-Sport has been great for me in terms of resources, as they are a multi-sport NGB such as ourselves who are Sports Council recognized. I have access to their policies which we can adapt for our own use, and I’ve also made it to a few ISC events on project management and anti-doping, which is great for networking with other National Governing Bodies. It’s encouraging to know how many of them have actually heard about Ultimate or other Disc Sports, and even break out a disc from time to time themselves! I heard a very amusing story of a ladies GAA team getting in trouble for throwing a disc in the airport, and some basketball teams even break out a Frisbee from time to time, although mostly just for throwing, they wouldn’t actually be playing Ultimate, but it’s still great to hear.

Anything else to add?

Just thank you for doing this. Obviously not everyone goes to the AGM, so it’s good to have something like this for the people who weren’t there, and even those who were. Minutes will be available soon, and obviously everyone is always welcome to send me an email with any questions about the new motions or anything else president@irishultimate.com

I’ve also enjoyed your past interviews. It’s great to read about the early days of our sport in this country. Even the interviews with people from other countries have been brilliant. I love getting a notification that you’ve posted a new one to our Facebook page, and I hope you keep doing them!

Any questions I should have asked?

Favourite moment from last year? Probably the WFDF Annual Congress in Lecco. I was by far the youngest person there, and it was great to represent Ireland and talk to other country’s Disc Sports organizations. Getting different perspectives on other youth programs, committee systems and communications strategies was brilliant. I hope to attend next year’s as well (hopefully it will be in London for WU23 so I don’t have to travel too far).

Biggest mistake last year? Probably the Developmental Intervarsities rules. I’ll be working with captains to fix them for this year and make them fair for each team. It’s good to have to make these changes though, since it means more and more people are playing Ultimate before coming to college.

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Hope the Ball went well.

Yep, the Ball was brilliant as always. The bar closed a bit earlier than we would have liked, but some last minute planning meant we went to Leggs to keep the party going on until almost 5am. Nothing beats having an auld boogie in a tuxedo.

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I was honoured to receive the award for Most Spirited Male Player during the ceremony as well. I always try to build my reputation as a player with good Spirit, and even to be nominated in that category let alone win it was a dream come true. Also, most people are usually surprised when they hear for the first time that I’m actually from Philadelphia, and I only moved here in 2010. During the AGM and Ball last night it was a humbling experience to be reminded of how I’ve been welcomed into this community with such open arms. I didn’t make an acceptance speech at the Ball, but if I had I would have thanked all the players around the country who helped to make this my new home.

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Final words

A big thank you to last year’s committee who did a great job, and the best of luck to next year’s committee who I look forward to working with very much. It’s nice to see that all the hard work we do during the year pays off and gets appreciated.

 

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