Hey Buggy, you're the first coach to get interviewed - hurray! - tell us how you got into ultimate.
The credit has to go to Dangerous Dave. I’d known him for about 5 years and when he went to DCU he kept going on about Ultimate. So I signed up in DIT with no real intentions of playing but I went to whacking day, won it and thought hey this might be worth keeping up.
How has the ultimate scene in Ireland changed since you started?
The biggest change has to be clubs. When I started in 2006 there was only a handful of clubs which at the time looked great to us college nobodies, but none of them trained and wouldn’t stand a chance against the likes of Rebel, Ranelagh, LMS and Jabba today. Also the increased number of events has been great. When I started the only official IFDA events were Outdoors Open Intervarsities along with Indoor Open and Woman’s (barely). Now between All Ireland’s and Intervarsities there are 11 events.
So you've played your college ultimate with DIT and your club ultimate with Jabba, who's strengths traditionally lie in their Mixed team. How was the club developed since it's beginning?
Like most teams at the time Jabba started back in 2007 as a fun laid back team with no dreams of competitiveness. We began training regularly not because we wanted to win but more because we enjoyed each other’s company and training was a great way to get together each week. However entering xEUCF in 2009 set the club onto a different path. Since then there hasn’t been any massive changes. Just each year we add new players and step things up to a higher level with improving results every year since.
Last year saw the peak of the development of Jabba with 3 teams entered in Mixed All-Irelands with Jabba1 taking the Gold. Tell us what that felt like after years of training and commitment with the same bunch of players to finally achieve that goal.
It truly was the greatest achievement of my career. To win Mixed All Ireland’s, the clubs aim for 4 years, in our home training ground and for me where I grew up. And for nearly half the squad including myself it was the first tournament of any kind we had won. For years our opponents had complimented us for all our training and recruitment but finally they were able to compliment us for being the best team out there.
|All Ireland Mixed Champions 2012|
What are the goals for the club this year?
Win the All Ireland’s treble. Our fitness campaign started in early March. Mixed All Ireland’s teams are picked and we’re training 4 times a week. Once we defend our mixed title we’re going to take the same level of commitment into the Open and Woman’s season.
You were part of the U23 Mixed team that went to Florence in 2010. How did that week go for you personally?
It was a tough week for everyone. The now famous Florence heat obviously caused nothing but problems. Our team was lacking big game experience, handlers and preparation. The end result was we finished last without a victory but looking back at that team we all learned so much from it and while it wasn’t very strong at the time, out of it was come a multitude of Intervarsities and All Ireland’s winners, college and club captains and senior level Ireland players.
And in 2011 you were a member of the very successful Irish Mixed team that went to EUC in Maribor. Tell us about that tournament from your team's perspective.
A completely different week for me. I’d gone from being the team’s sole experienced handler in 2010 to being the safety keep my head down wing handler in 2011 and it was a role I reveled in. Our O line was incredibly efficient at putting away scores first time and sure if we got into trouble we just flung it to Fiona. It was a joy to watch and the end result was we equalled the highest ever finish achieved by an Irish team. Made all the sweeter by the numerous doubters we had before the tournament.
Is this Irish U23 team the first team in which you've been involved with the coaching setup?
Yes. I’d had done a small bit of coaching with DIT and Jabba but nothing near this level.
It’s been good but I wouldn’t say easy. Having the team formed and training earlier than any Irish national team in history has been a huge asset and the level of commitment of those at training sessions has been great. Obviously with the 3 coaches and 2 captains all coming from Jabba the
team may be borrowing a system or two from the club and getting everybody on the same wave length has been tricky at times but it’s all starting to come together nicely.
Do you think the U23 mixed division is stronger this time around? How do you think the team will fair?
It’s a completely different division. The last U23’s was only announced in January and got a venue in February so everything was rushed. The end result was an 8 team division with only European teams. This time around disappointingly there are only 9 teams in the mixed division but the giants of the sport are all there. USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, GB, Colombia, Austria and Germany. It really is a who’s who of Ultimate and on history you would have to say Ireland and Austria are in for a long week. But what people won’t realised is this Irish team, along with the Open team are very well prepared and I think that making the semi finals should be the team’s goal.
Windmill Windup is the next warm up tournament for the team, having been to this tournament before, what can the team expect from this tournament? With a bit of momentum behind them from Mixed Tour should the team be more confident going into this week in June?
Windmill is the perfect step up from Tour. The team will get long games which a vital considering the bizarre systems we use in this sport with people only playing full length games at international events. The schedule at windmill ensures that all bar maybe your first game should be a close contest and best of all you’ll get 3 days of play and will have to learn how to conserve your body for the extra day of matches. So long as everyone behaves themselves and gets to bed good and early I can see the team fighting for medals.
The camera is coming to Toronto for sure and hopefully if our accommodation has decent internet I might even upload some game footage during the week to keep the ravenous information craving hordes at home happy. As for highlights videos, wait and see. I never give anything away.
|Always the comedian|
I'd say he'll appreciate the support... Thanks for your time Richard!