Sunday, 19 May 2013

Interview #11 - Alan Fitzpatrick

Hey Al, what's the craic? All done with the exams?
Story, yeah just finished up there, great to be finished. Been a mad busy year.

First off, congrats on making the team. You're the youngest male on the squad but have more experience than most with three years of Juniors experience under your belt. How has your role in this squad changed, if at all?
Ah yeah I was delighted to make the team. This squad is very different to any juniors one I've played on before. I'm surrounded by very talented players, everyone know's what they are expected to bring to the team and we can all rely on each other to do our jobs. For me it's getting Ds on opposition deep receivers and then playing sexy D line offence. 

Tell us about the last three years at Juniors: The highs. The lows. The injuries! The captaincies.
Juniors has been huge for me. There are highs and lows from every year but the stand out high has to be beating Sweden in front of a crowd of Irish supporters last August in Dublin. I sometimes go back and look at the footage or photos from that game, and I get goosebumps every time. 
Poland in 2011 was a bit of a low I suppose. We didn't get any results, but still had a great fun week. Getting injured in game 5 in Germany in 2010 was sickening too. I've always believed that these "Lows" can been seen as skipping stones or stumbling blocks, if you get me. If you let them, they can ruin your season. If you see them as challenges they can make you a better player. It's all mental attitude. 

You've just finished a term as captain of your college team, UCD. How did the season go?
This year was pretty challenging. It takes up a huge amount of time being captain, if it wasn't for my secretary Killian Roche I don't know if Chili-o would still exist!
It was great at the same time though, a huge honour. We tried new things and got some great results. We beat the top 3 teams UCC, Trinity and UL at different stages in the year but unfortunately didn't pull it out at IVs when it mattered. Winning Colours was great, but IVs will always be the big one.

And with a large number of players returning next year what do you think should be the focus for 2013/14?
To win IVs. I think this should always be the focus, there's not point in aiming for 2nd place. It being my final year as well I see it as my last shot at winning an IVs medal. There's also rumours going around about some other college superstars coming to UCD for postgrad degrees next year, so we may have a few tricks up our sleeves come September.
Also recruitment and player development. We did well this year but have to keep improving if we want to be at the top in the coming years. 

You're playing your club ultimate these days with Ranelagh, the reigning All-Ireland Champions, and recently just qualified for EUCR-S (European Club Regionals for those not in the know). Tell us about the qualification process for the qualifying tournament!
In order to qualify we had to prove ourselves by playing Pelt and Rebel. This involved a trip to Limerick a couple of months ago and then a home match against Rebel last month. I was delighted to be selected for the Ranelagh squad to play Rebel and thankfully our hard work since January paid off. We won both matches and now will travel to European qualifiers in August. 

What is next for Ranelagh this season in preparation for EUCR?
Well our next tournament is Tour 1 in London at the end of this month. We'll get to play the top teams from GB and hopefully some from Europe too. I can't wait! Then its tours 2 and 3 before Euro Qualifiers in August. Training every Monday and Wednesday in Gonzaga as always. 

You've played with and against a ton of great players in your career, who are your favourite players to play with? And who did you enjoy playing against the most?
In UCD the likes of Liamo and Wetcrotch; can always rely on them to take down the swill I throw far too often and make big plays on D.
With Ranelagh its great to learn from the older heads; Nialler, Keith Hodgson, Britboy and the likes. They know their stuff and are more than willing to pass their knowledge onto us young lads.
Having said that, its difficult to single players out to be honest I just like playing frisbee, and constantly trying to be the best at it, doesn't really matter who its with. 
As far as opposition I just enjoy playing against the best players around. It makes you improve your own game a lot. Cian Quinn at Ranelagh practice and Donal Murray for UCC/Rebel stand out for me. 

Former Irish teammate, Matthew Feely, wants to know how the craic compares to the Juniors teams you've played on before? I would imagine it's more fun now that he's not around...
Yeah the last few years of juniors has been serious craic. A serious bunch of LADs. I'm delighted to say that the mixed team is no different. The likes of Oisin and Keith are gas, as well as Aoife B. Also if you ever get Sarah Cummins and Jen Cooper on their own together they're proper insane, in a good way of course. 

And sure Feely will be in Toronto anyway, we'll still be having the bants. 

Windmill is just four weeks away. What are you looking forward to most about this famous tournament?
Playing lots of competitive games is going to be awesome. Tour was great and Windmill is going to be even better. Also it's my first Windmill so just taking in everything and experiencing the famous tournament will be great. 

Outside Ultimate you're a pretty decent singer/musician, will you be bringing the guitar to Toronto for your banter in the evenings? Should we expect any more covers like last year's hit "A Thousand Miles"?
Ah I dunno about that now. Can't afford to bring the guitar, I'm broke as it is. As far as upcoming world class music videos I won't say too much. I'm actually sworn to secrecy about upcoming projects, but let's just say that a certain T. Swift may be involved. 

I'd say the young teen fan base can't wait for your next cover. Who do you want to play most at Worlds?
GB. Love playing them, we're catching up every year, and it won't be long until we beat them. In fact I reckon we will beat GB this year if we come up against them in Toronto, and there's no reason we shouldn't be the top European team at worlds. We're bloody good. 

Finally: Make us laugh!
A man goes to the doctor for his annual check-up, and the doctor tells him, "You need to stop masturbating."
The man asks, "Why?"
The doctor replies, "Because I'm trying to examine you"
A classic! Cheers bud, enjoy the rest of the season and best of luck!

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