Sunday, 23 June 2013

Interview #17 - Conor Hogan

For this interview, Alan Fitzpatrick will be talking with the usual interviewer, Conor Hogan


Hey Hogi, wie gehts?
Es geht mir gut. Aber es ist so heiss! 30+ Grad und ich bin nicht bequem in diesen Wetterlagen

You're just back from a very successful weekend at Windmill Windup. Now that the dust has settled, tell us about the experience, the highs and the lows.

Windmill Windup is awesome! It's almost like a Frisbee festival instead of a tournament. There are always different events going on apart from the matches themselves - the charity pull competition, mingle, etc. - so you can't get bored. As far as the games go, we had some really good performances and 2 poor performances (at least on the scoreline). We had big wins against Thundering Herd and Stockholm Syndromes which were great to come out on top in. But unfortunately we missed out on a medal after losing to Good Lord! for the second time in the semis and then losing to Mubidisk in our 3/4 playoff. The Mubidisk game was probably the only game we started slowly in and it showed as we couldn't claw back from 5-1 down. My favourite game was perhaps our 5th game vs Prague Devils. Despite losing by 2 we played awesome.

This is your first time playing mixed for Ireland, how have you found the transition from open? Any interesting differences?

It was a bit strange to start alright. I had only played 4 mixed tournaments before now but all except one were taken pretty lightly and I hadn't trained much prior to the tournaments themselves so I'm almost completely new to this division. I think I've handled the transition well enough though. On defence especially I like to look to poach now and again and I've found great joy doing this in our last two tournaments. On offence the main difference is learning to throw, specifically hucks, to girls. It's not something I was used to at the beginning but I think I've got the hang of it. The last difference is that I can't flip out too often when things aren't going well. Ya look more like a dick doing it on a mixed team than an open team. Thankfully I've only had one moment like that so far... I should like to think it will be the last!!

Just 4 weeks until you fly out to Toronto now, how're the final preparations coming along? Run us through an average day in Germany.

All Ireland Open Nationals 2009 - First Round
As I'm off on my own here, it had been tougher to motivate myself to get out and do fitness and throwing but I've got into a bit of a routine so I guess I'll just be focusing on getting out running twice per week and getting to training twice per week too.
Your average day here isn't too exciting! I've got classes Tuesday-Thursday, training on Tuesday and Sunday, and I schedule in conditioning on Thursdays and Fridays. I do the rest of our fitness plan throughout the week without too much of a routine I guess. Some Wednesdays I get to go to training in Munich but I guess no two days are the same and they change in schedule each week.

How does this U23 campaign compare to Florence in 2010? How do you think both Irish teams will fare in Toronto this time round?

I think this campaign isn't comparable really. In 2010 the Mixed team was without much experience on the international scene and struggled to get numbers initially, whereas the Open team had more experience but just didn't really click and the weather didn't help.
I think this time around the Mixed team are going to do really well. They'll get that first international win for sure and hopefully push for a top 4 spot. The Open team, which have a ton of experience in the Junior division, will be pushing the top 8 at the very least. I haven't got to see the whole squad to play together yet (other than the show game at Tour) but I really look forward to seeing them do their thing and with Leo there calling the shots, they're in a great position to cause some upsets.

Whats the club and college scene like over in Germany? Have you been able to play with any top players?

Unfortunately I haven't had any exposure to the college scene over here and have only limited experience in the club scene. I played one tournament in November, but it wasn't too serious. Still good craic all the same. I have managed to train with M.U.C. and Die 7 Schwaben while I've been here though. M.U.C. are from Munich and last year were a top 8 team at EUCF. They have such players like Rue Veitl, who is pretty well known on the beach ultimate circuit. Die 7 Schwaben train are from Stuttgart and also have some big names, namely Philip Haas. I've looked up to Philip since I first saw him play so it was pretty cool to train with him.
My local team doesn't really seem to have a name as such but is pretty small. I think if we all turned up to training on a given night we'd have 14 players mayhaps? It's enough to keep me with disc in hand each week but it's not quite the standard of training I'd get at home or if I could get to Munich weekly. Daniel Nolte, another Schwaben player, is the coach there.

All Ireland Open Nationals 2010 - Final - Broc vs Chimpo

You've played on and coached many Irish teams in the past, quite the feat at 21 years old. Who's the best player you've played with, and who was most enjoyable to coach? (apart from me obviously!)
Ah... I can't answer this without naming a few heads. Although I didn't get much pitch time with him in 2011, playing with Cian O'Morain is pretty sweet. He makes it all look pretty easy. Playing with Enda is great too. I can throw a ton of crap and Enda will take it down almost every time. Perhaps not the best all round player I've ever played with, but anyone who knows me knows I love playing alongside Cathal Tuffy. Similar to Enda he just takes down whatever I throw, he makes me look good. Lastly, playing with Alan Doyle, albeit at the end of his career, will certainly always be a memory I'll hang on to. I think we had 3 tourneys together and I've never found it easier to play O than when he was distributing the disc.
In 2011 it was great to coach the Irish Juniors for the first time with D-man. I think two lads who stand out from that year and Feely and Ben Noonan. Both joined the team with the basic skills but without having a complete understanding of the game having only played for a few months each. By the time we got to Poland Feely had transformed into one of the tidiest throwers in the Junior division in Ireland and Ben had become pretty undefendable; when he wanted to get free he just did it. In 2012, it was incredible to get to the trials and see Podge play. He was only playing for 2-3 months I'd say and I've never been more certain that someone was on the team after a few minutes of watching them play. He was savage at WJUC and I hope we get to play on the same team in the future.

It's your final year in UCD next year, how do you think the team's chances are of taking open varsities?
I said coming into college, young, arrogant and oblivious as I was, that we'd win IVs in 2014. My reasoning being that it was going to be the final year for myself and Tuffy so why not? Since then the dynamic of the college scene has changed a lot and UCC are really setting a high standard for everyone to meet them at. However, I think that if we do the right things this year, recruit well and start the year focused, all buying into the idea that we can win it if we work at it, then I think we have the team to do it. Rumours are that we're getting a few postgrad students too where UCC and TCD are losing some, so that might help!

What else, apart from winning loads of matches, are you looking forward to most about Toronto?
Getting to see a new country is always cool and after the tournament we'll be checking Niagara Falls and the like. But as far as the tournament goes I think there is always a buzz around International tournaments. The atmosphere is always full of excitement and anticipation for the rest of the week. I think getting to see some incredible players do what they do is another plus. I hope to see a good bit of USA Open play, Dylan Freechild and the likes who we played against in 2010. Generally having the craic with mates from other countries as well as the Irish crowd is also to be looked forward to. It's going to be an awesome week all round really.

Who do you want to play most in Toronto?
Ideally, I'd love to have a bash at everyone. But I do look forward to potentially playing the Aussies and Brits most. The Australian teams I've seen in the past and played against play a really nice brand of aggressive, fast paced, ultimate. They're savage craic off the pitch too so I reckon it will make for a good game. A lot of people are saying that they want to play GB. It'd be good to give them a good run. Irish teams have traditionally lost the match up in most divisions but in the last 2-3 years we've started to work out ways of beating "the old enemy", so after the Irish U23 Open team beat their GB counterparts at UK Tour 2, I'm hoping that we can follow suit!

Finally, tell us a joke. 
My parents came up to visit last week. 
I keep them in the basement.
Ha, I joke! 
I don't know who they are...

Thanks Herr Hogan!
Vielen Dank, Herr Alan

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