Thursday, 30 May 2013

Interview #14 - Conor Casey

Hey Casey, all well?
Everything’s grand. Mercifully free of college and looking for a big boy job now.
Congrats on making the team! How have you found the training and fitness over the last nine months?
I’ve loved the fitness so far, it’s a nice change from the usual jamming it into one day and do nothing for the other 6. Training has been excellent; playing with so many high caliber players has been unbelievable and I can’t wait to see how we do at Windmill and Toronto.
All the guys on the squad put their preference in the mixed team this year, that's not saying they would have been picked for sure on the Open team, but what made you personally go with the mixed team?
That’s a tough one. Initially I had no intention of playing for any team this year. I turned up at the trials as a means of testing myself. It wasn’t until I had chat with the girlfriend that we decided we could put off leaving the country (for Canada funnily enough). I’d been very impressed with the set up at the Mixed trial, couple that with the quality of players, the attitude of the team and that was a winning combination. Also, I’ve very much enjoyed the past 3 years of Ian French as UCD coach and I really enjoy playing with Liam and Emer!
Tell us how you got involved in Ultimate.
I first got involved with Gonzaga in 2005 where I was coached by Alan Doyle, we must have played one tournament a year (whacking day) back then, nothing like it is now. At one point I was coached by both Doyler and Marko. I didn’t really understand the significance of that back then. So yeah… I’ve been playing for a loooong time.
Wow, I didn't know you were playing THAT long! You played Juniors in 2009, one of two vice captains as I recall!, how does this squad compare to your first venture in the green jersey?
On the button, myself and Dave Ferguson were the two vice-captains. I’d like to take this chance to say we’ll be putting forward a bid for captaincy this year. Liam and Emer who? ;)
Well the quality of play is one. The experience we’ve gained playing different styles, playing in Tours and playing further abroad too. Compared to back then, everyone is so confident in their own ability. As a part of the juniors we had lots of desire but were lacking in some basic skills. We gave it our all and had a blast though. All in all, a very successful first outing at junior level but I’m looking to really push how the world see Irish Ultimate now.
What are your best memories from EYUC way back then?
It’s actually a blur right now. I remember a strong sense of pain and discomfort but also knowing that it was an honour to play for my country. I also remember getting my one and only assist for an Irish team, I’m definitely looking to improve upon that one.
We had some good memories though. Staying close to Italy for a long part of that game before they pulled away, winning Ireland’s first game in the Junior division against Poland and nearly pulling out a victory against a GB 2 team who had trounced us a few days earlier.
Since Juniors in '09 you've been a big part of your college team, UCD, and you are soon to graduate (don't go!). Tell us about the club when you started playing with them and the transformation it's gone through, if any, in recent years.
Tell me about it. I don’t want to leave! I’ve been playing with UCD since 2008. It’s where I learned everything I know and I’ve seen so much change since I first joined. I don’t remember much about my first year, I was pretty flaky for going to training and I spent most of my time on the 2nd team. The summer after I came back from EYUC 09 was when I actually had an impact on the team. We’d always had a shortage of handlers so I was brought right into the first team. Ciaran Fagan was captain that year, he’s the person who inspired me to really commit to UCD and run for captain. UCD has really changed in the 5 years I’ve been there. From myself to Liamo and onto Alf, the focus was on getting numbers to training and working hard. In those years at UCD we worked hard to remove a bad image which had gathered. The club now has an excellent ethos and work ethic and I like to think we’ve changed our image immeasurably.
Who are the players you have enjoyed playing with most in your time there?
There are so many. Padraig McMorrow and Enda Naughton were amazing to play with. Their presence alone could win most games. In more recent times it’s been such a pleasure playing with Liamo, Emer, Robbie Brennan, Ian French and yourself Hogi. So many good players came through while I was there and it was just an excellent time to play with UCD.
As far as club ultimate goes, you have moved around a good bit. Who have you played with in the past and what's the story with your club situation now? 
Ah yeah, doesn’t look too good for me. I’ve played with Johnny Chimpo, OCS, Ranelagh and Dublin Ultimate. Currently I’m signed up with Jabba to train for the Open season. I had to cancel on Ranelagh before training even began so I could focus on finishing off my Masters. I was approached by Jabba and it made sense to train with the man who’ll be coaching me all summer. After this summer I really have no idea what I’ll do. I might have to make a new club to play with ;)
Mixed Tour 1 was almost two months ago at this stage! How did you find it? What were the main things you learned from the weekend?
Personally, I had a very interesting time working out the bugs in the O-line.  It’s tough bringing together so many styles and meshing them so we never turn but then again, I’ve never been so confident playing for a team. I learned that everyone on this team absolutely deserves to be here, I trust them to make the plays when it’s needed.
The biggest thing I learned was confidence, I’ve learned that I never feel like we will lose a game when playing with this team.
What are you most looking forward to about Toronto?
Seems stupid, but I’m looking to getting that first up the line disc. It eases game nerves like nothing else. Hopefully that leads to a first huck too :D
And who do you want to play most?
Hmm, always fun to play GB, though it’ll be seriously good fun to play against the North American teams. I’d like to see their style of play and see how I hold up.
Finally, make a funny.
A man sent ten different puns to his friend with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did!
Cheers Case, good luck with the rest of the campaign!
Thanks Hogi, you too.

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