Well Oisín! How're things? All well in Cork?
Hey! I'm doing great, thanks. All's amazing in Cork, but unfortunately I'm preparing to leave the real capital for the big schmoke this weekend for Mixed IV's.
First off, congratulations! This is your 4th year of Ultimate, but your first time on an Irish team. I'd say you're pretty excited for the upcoming season?
Of course I'm thrilled to be on this amazing squad heading to Toronto. I must admit I was a bit nervous at the start, it being my first international tournament and all, but the players and coaches have been amazing and it's completely relaxed me. I know that everyone is putting themselves in the best position possible to do well in July.
In your player profile you state that you're looking forward to playing with those who you've played against all this time. Who have you gelled best with so far?
Another great aspect of this squad is that every player is clear with what he/she wants and what they're most comfortable with; I think it's certainly helped me with gelling with everybody's unique abilities. Although I must say I think I've developed a very strong rapport with Keith on and off the pitch; it's definitely a "special" connection!
Other than the above, what are you most excited about for the upcoming season?
Playing against high quality opposition; something I know there will be an abundance of at these upcoming tournaments. I'm very excited to see how different nationalities approach the game, what kind of strategies they use and whatnot.
And how has training been going so far with the team?
It's been fantastic! I feel like I come away from every session having learned something new. There's a great balance there between taking certain things seriously but also having a laugh now and then; I think it's very important to have that with a team that will be spending so much time in close proximity to each other. On a personal note, I've really taken a lot out of these sessions that benefit me; whether it's been improving my flick technique or learning new methods of play.
You're Cork based yet you don't play with the biggest team in the region, Rebel Ultimate. Tell us about your club Ultimate experience to date: Who do you play with now? Any big results at recent tournaments?
Yea I've been playing with Juice since my first year. When I started playing with them it was a pretty random gathering of players but it has slowly morphed into a squad based around the guys that started playing with UCC at the same time as myself. We like to think we don't take ourselves too seriously! We don't train very often which probably prevents us from having much consistency, but the fact that we know each other's playing styles so well means that we've had some success in the past; most notably coming 3rd at Indoor All-Irelands last year and going unbeaten at Siege this year, winning the plate in the process.
Good stuff! Outside of Ultimate you enjoy Gaelic Football. Are you still playing at all?
No, it's been a while now since I've togged out for the Junior B's, I must admit! I did start playing soccer (my first love) again in the summer with a team back in Youghal; I try and play games any weekend that I don't have a tournament. It's been very interesting playing again since taking up Ultimate; I find myself forcing players to a certain sideline and occasionally shouting "UP" any time the ball is hoofed up the field!
What do you think about the statement "Any player with a GAA background makes a good Ultimate player"?
I wouldn't say it necessarily "makes" an Ultimate player. It certainly aided me in my first year of playing; having that athletic advantage over guys who never really played much organised sport in the past. If anything it proved to be a hindrance; I relied on my GAA background so much that I didn't focus on simple mechanics like throwing or cutting properly, so when it got to Year 2 and 3, guys who I was beating in the air before were boxing me out now and just throwing better than I was. I felt I had to really knuckle down in order to become a "proper" Ultimate player.
Getting back to the Ultimate, are there any teams you're looking forward to playing more than others at Tour, Windmill and Worlds?
To be completely honest with you, I would be a bit disappointed if I came away from Worlds without having played one of the big guys; most notably the US or Canada. The whole reason for going to an international tournament is to play against the best players in the world, to see how you suit up against them and if you can learn anything from competing against them. Obviously I'll want to play and beat GB at every given opportunity too; but these are tournaments where the quality is so immense that it won't really matter who we come up against. I just want to play the best Ultimate that I can play (cheesy, I know!), and if I can do that at these three tournaments, I'll walk away a happy man.
Describe an ideal week in Toronto.
Well, like I stated before, this will be my first international tournament so I can see any situation where we play every game to the best of our abilities an ideal week; and then just take the results as they come. Although if you were to offer me a few scrappy wins over well-played losses, I'd take them too!
You can be a bit of a messer, but you're generally quiet/sly about it. Should your teammates be cautious about pranks and the like? Or will you be more about the "paaartaaaay" this summer?
I like to think my messing is more of a stress-reliever; I never mean to rub people the wrong way! So yea, if I think it's for the "good of the team", I may have a few tricks up my sleeve...
Lastly, tell us a joke Ois!
Q. Why can't you trust atoms?
A. Because they make up everything.
Thanks for your time. Best of luck with the upcoming campaign.