Monday, 1 July 2013

Interview #19 - Aoife Blake

Hey Aoife, what's the craic?
The craic is ninety Hogi! 

Congrats on making the squad back in January. You weren't originally selected for the squad but you have impressed since getting added to the team. Tell us about how the trial process and how you felt when you got a second chance to make the team in January?
Thank you, to be honest I found that there was a big difference between my initial trial and the second trial in January. I think I improved a lot between the two because of the training I got in college in UCC (thanks to a certain James Finn!) so I was much happier and more hopeful after the second trial, and absolutely delighted when I was given the chance to be a part of the team second time around!! D. LIGHTED and oh

so excited is how I felt

What have you enjoyed most since joining the squad? 
It's hard to name one thing...I really enjoyed getting to know and getting used to playing with this team of players, most of whom I didn't know and had never played alongside before, and improving my game by playing at such a high standard

How did you get into Ultimate? 
I started playing in first year of college (nearly 2 years ago now), loved the sport and the people involved and never looked back!

So, you play your college ultimate with UCC, a club with a lot of history and success in the Open and Mixed divisions, but this year was huge for the Women's side of the club too! Tell us about the season the UCC Ladies had.
Yes, we had an extremely successful year, we won Indoor IVs, came 3rd in UK Indoors, won Ladies Developmentals, The Siege of Limerick and Outdoor IVs. It's the first year that UCC ladies have won any Intervarsity titles apart from Devs last year. We put in loads of hard work throughout the last few years, this year in particular, had many 7am trainings and fitness sessions, and it all paid off! We're obviously delighted with the success and hopefully it will continue in the years to come

And you're ladies captain of the club next year, what are you looking forward to most about the year ahead? And is there anything you're apprehensive about?
I'm very much looking forward to continuing the success that we experienced this year. I'm not apprehensive about anything really, I'm just looking forward to another year of UCC ultimate, to recruiting new girls and building on the successes of this year...and, of course, being coached by Ben Noonan.

You played at WJUC in Dublin last summer, your first time with an Irish squad. How did that week go for you personally?
It was an eye-opening week for me in that it was the first time I got to play against such high-level teams, such as Columbia and Germany. It was a fantastic experience because it really fuelled my passion for the sport.

What were the biggest lessons you took away from that week?
Hmm...I think it was little things like not giving up on awkward discs, because it could mean going one up against your opponents instead of one down. The most thing I took away from the week was that I wanted to keep improving as much as I could as a player after seeing the standard that's out there. 

At Windmill Windup 2 weeks ago, you came 4th with the Irish Mixed team. What was your highlight from the weekend?
I'm terrible at picking highlights but I'd say our quarter-final performance against Stockholm Syndromes. The wind was ridiculous, but we managed well, I think everyone did something cool in that game. I just really enjoyed that game!

And your club team, Rebel Ultimate, came second in the mixed division. With a good mix of veteran players, young players and a few pickups, Rebel were looking strong, but if the two teams had met in the semis/finals who do you think would have come out on top?
Ooh...that's a difficult question...we are a young team, nearing our peak of fitness, and we've been training together for about the past 9 months, and those things would have worked in our favour, but the Rebel mixed team contained a number of players with years more experience under their belt than many of us, and much more experience playing with each other (except pick-ups obviously).  We played Rebel twice before Windmill and beat them in two very close games, but this wasn't the full strength Rebel squad. So it's a tough one to call.

How very diplomatic of you! Looking forward to Toronto, what are you looking forward to most about the tournament?
I am so looking forward to playing for Ireland against the other international teams and putting all this training to good use! It'll be just unreal getting to spend a week playing ultimate with the Irish team and I'm very excited about it!

What team do you want to play the most?
Great Britain. We didn't get to play them at Mixed Tour in Cardiff this year unfortunately, but both the U23 open team and the mixed beach team met their respective teams and were victorious. I can't wait to see the schedule, I really want us to get our chance to play them!

Lastly, make a funny!
Ooh this is a lot of pressure...what do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?

Thanks for your time and best of luck in Toronto!

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