Thursday, 30 May 2013

Interview #13 - Keith Mernagh

Hey Keith, what's the craic?
Nothing much just setting up the website for Dublin Summer League 2013 (anyone reading this sign up NOW), sure when i'm not sleeping I'm doing something Frisbee related.

Congrats on making the team, but as one of the senior players on the team it was probably a little bit expected, no?
Well I've been playing mixed Ultimate my whole 'Ultimate life' with Jabba, even when i was playing open with Jabba in the early years we had girls on our team. I got injured a week before the trails so i was kind of devastated. Luckily with my past experience I was able to convince the selectors I was worth picking. I also slept with a few of them but I'm not sure if that hindered or helped me.  

In Florence in 2010, you played in the Open division and were one of the more junior players on the team. How did that week go for you?
Well lets just say we all started somewhere. Florence was my first experience at international level and I was a small fish in a big pond. I was a tall, skinny and shy enough guy. Oh how that has changed, now I'm a tall, skinny and far from shy guy. I was surrounded by some of the best players in the world. I still remember all the mistakes I made in Florence. That's sort of the personality I have, I can't let go of some mistakes but I feel that makes me more ambitious than most. I have to right those wrongs and just get better. For example I didn't layout for a score against Australia Open, which will not be the case this year if we play Australia Mixed. 
I only really got into the swing of things in the last 2 days of the tournament when other players legs were worn more than mine. All in all it's an experience I'll never forget. 

And only 2-3 weeks later you were playing at WJUC in Germany! How did the two tournaments compare? And how did your role differ, if at all?
From being a D-line player who would sometimes get the disc to being one of the main cutters in the junior team was a big change along with the weather not being 40 degrees. The team we're a great bunch who were not afraid to give me a "messin". The week was great fun and we ended up beating two teams Israel and Czech Republic. The big match we had was against U.S.A. You could see clearly from the warm up that the Americans were terrified of us, they were in some 'state' alright. They knew we were going to be tough and I could tell from the 7 foot 52 inches captains sweaty forehead that he was scared. 

The game began and USA got a lucky first point. We followed by Mr Cool Collect Conor Hogan doing his casual 50 yard hammer to Tuffy in the endzone - EASY!!!! America were so scared throughout the game. Conor Hogan later in the game got another hammer score. It all seemed too easy. We then felt bad for America as they had come so far so we decided to let up on the gas. The game ended 17-2 to America but we won the mental battle. We drank our Lucozade like Kings that night. 
On a side note, this is the only team where Ian French has not coached me.

They were good times alright! The year after you played in the Mixed division in Slovenia and had a pretty successful week. Looking back on that tournament, what were the highlights for both the team and for you personally?
James Finn and Fiona Mernagh hucking to me all week was a joy. The whole experience from the first training weekend to the very last was very interesting and exciting. The mixed team in Slovenia and the one I'm currently on have a lot of great similarities. We are both fighters, there are great personalities on the team and we going to kick some ass and shock some countries. The only difference is that GB aren't beating us this time. We're making sure of that.
Another great part of that week was I got nominated MVP of every game we played that week. I didn't win a single one but i didn't mind.

In April, the Irish U23 Mixed team went to Tour in Cardiff and racked up some pretty good results. What were the main lessons you banked for the rest of the season?
I learnt that this team has the ability to put it to any team. We're a team that will never give up and fight till the end. Personally I learnt that our O-line is good enough to walk it in and I don't need to huck it to Oisin Murphy all the time, even though it's one hell of a play. Sorry Emer, you can't stop us and I can take you too Liam, come at me. But seriously the O-line has such athletes on the team I don't see how we can't put it to any team in Canada.
Another lesson I learnt was that I'm better at Pool than David Ferguson, suck it!  

And what a valuable lesson that is! The team's last warm up tournament, Windmill Windup, is in two weeks. What are you most looking forward to about this?
Ah windmill, what a tournament. It's the best Ultimate tournament in the world for the craic... Or so I’ve been told. The last time i was Windmill was with an Ireland team so i couldn't exactly go overboard, the same can be said for this one too. I promise myself that I will go to windmill one year and make sure it's not serious at all. However, this tournament is also great for developing the team. This tournament will be a huge eye opener for the coaches as well as the players. If something in the team needs changing this will be the tournament that will open up those changes. 
I can't wait to camp on the cold hard ground <3
White? Pasty? Hiding from the sun? He's definitely Irish 
You enjoy your ground Keith, the rest of us have tents! Having had a look at the teams in your division ( there any teams you're excited about seeing there or perhaps playing against?
It has to be Germany U23 Mixed, Germany are well known for their high intensity but also their amazing spirit of the game. I love playing against Germany because it brings out the best of myself on the field. Spirit is something I always have to work on when moments get intense. So it would be great to play Germany for an example on how to do both. 

Last weekend saw the Irish U23 Mixed team host All-Ireland Mixed Nationals and your club team Jabba the Huck came out on top for the second year in a row. How did this year's victory compare to last year's victory?
This was a great weekend. Last year was our first national victory for Jabba so even though we won this title again, I don't think any victory will be better than that for a while. However to win it again is a great feeling and it gives you great belief in your club and team mates. 

What's next this season for Jabba?
To win Women and Open nationals. I won't give too much away in fact I won't give anything away but other clubs better keep an eye out for us. 

Who do you want to play most in Toronto?
Columbia and USA. I love watching Columbia and I can't wait to play against a team of speedy handlers and cutters who rarely throw away. As for USA? Well they'll remember Deco, Hogi and myself from juniors and might die from fear. 

You're known to be a bit of a joker, as our readers can tell from our chat so far, so finish up with one last joke!
There's nothing better than making people smile and laugh so I'll try and come up with something...
So in that case here are two:
  • Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
  • When an actress saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she'd dye.
Oh and I feel i said Team a lot in this so here ya go 
Cheers bud, best of luck from here on out.

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