Indoor Open IV’s 2014
5 am Sunday 2nd November, the day finally arrived. After 2 months of Tuesday morning trainings, countless back to college season injuries and one year of a bloodthirsty lust for revenge, the UCC Ultimate cars filled with Helly-Hansen bags topped up with Dornan’s jellies and Lee’s cringe-worthy puns set off to the Watershed Kilkenny. After a disappointing placement last year of fourth, UCC 1 had their eyes on the prize of a gold medal. Strategies had been made, “provisional “squads were over with and Feely and Ben’s army were ready for action, no going back now!
Our first challenge as UCC1 was the new and fresh Ultimate College team WIT, making their first debut at Indoor IVs. We had planned all along to focus only on our own game and to forget the dominant reputation that UCC had in past years. WIT gave us a great start to shake off cobwebs and fine hone our mental game. We were highly impressed with the progress that WIT made in the past few years with the work of Shane Walsh and a few others. WIT got a few well drilled scores which forced us to shut down their bigger players and tighten up on defence. Reflecting on the game our youngest and least experienced player Dave Forde tallied up an impressive 10 points! The score ended 19 – 3 to UCC 1. Both teams were satisfied with their performance and were happy to learn from it.
Next up Queens. After the WIT game we refocused our mental game and began zooming in on our favourite 3 things: Intensity, Focus and Support. 2 months had gone by with that phrase being ingrained into our heads and we sure were going to make use of it. Queens came out strong from the very start with Ben Matthews and Richard Sayers taking command of their team. Their slick offense and intense defence challenged our zone and certainly made us work for every point. Queens were smart at marking our iso offense cutter which forced our main handlers Ben, Feely and Lee to readjust their break throws and to value the disk. Queens got close to our end zone at several stages during the game which brought our well practised flood defence into play. Some neat iso throws and cool calm and collective offense brought us out on top, 11 – 3 UCC1.
The NUIG game was our biggest challenge in the pool games. Big names such as Niall Mc Carney were a big influence right throughout the game and we certainly had to step up our IFS. Our captains Ben and Feely kept us focused and calm on offense while Staunton’s pumped up aggression shone through on defence. We kept doing what we had always been doing in training. Thrower initiated iso offense, 2-2-1 or 2-1-2 zone defence and Dave and Shane’s speed were all used to great effect. A few calls were made during the game but were solved fairly showing that both teams were well spirited. After a hard fought match UCC 1 were heading to the quarters on a score line of 14 – 3 UCC1.
Cars were packed up again and off to Centra for hot chicken rolls and performance enhanced wedges. During the break Dornan lost his touch and went down 100 euro while taking bets on other games. However he won two Drumsticks which left his Paddy Power account not completely empty. With delight in our hearts for Dornan’s misfortune our eyes were set on our arch nemesis, UCC2.
After two months of competing for spots, each player on both teams knew what they were up against in the quarter final. Our tactics were similar yet it all came down to IFS as usual. The game started off pretty tight with both teams trading for the first few points. Colin, Fiachra and Bryan Tephany remained strong handling on UCC2 throwing blades, breaks and scoobers to iso cutters Dave O’ Regan and Eoghan. Both teams defence was both smart and aggressive leading to pinpoint throws and chilly offence. UCC1 kept their strong mentality throughout the game while tallying up another victory leading them on to the semi finals, 10-5 UCC1.
Quick burst of jellies, few nibbles of our cold chicken roll remains, semi final was on the way. We had kept to ourselves the whole tournament focusing only on our own game and not worrying
on how other teams played. DIT though completely shocked our expectations. After several years of developing as a club DIT had improved hugely as we saw from the get go in the semi final. The likes of Martin “Juno” Kelly, Tadhg Deevy and Kunle Abgaje rallied the DIT forces into an intense game. Our well practiced zone defence worked flawlessly yet was still challenged by DIT’s concentration and valuing of the disk on offence. We kept our IFS up as always while switching from iso offence to hail-mary shots to Dornan in a spacious end zone. We traded for a few points at the start of the game then brought our IFS up a gear and arrested the semi to a wide victory. 15-6 UCC1. DIT certainly showed their class and thirst to improve right throughout the game. Our expectations were certainly beaten which is no surprise given the amount of work DIT has done in previous years.
After several hours of a game-on game-off regime, the final was in our sights and a longish break was in order. We kept our IFS up during the wait for the final showdown with UL1 who we had not seen play that much so far in the day. We knew UL1 would be a challenge after a disappointing loss to them at Indoor IVs 2013.
At last the final arrived. UCC1 on defence, time to bring in our IFS. UL1 got off to a strong start with Gary Gilmartin slotting in the first score after a miscommunication on switches on defence between Donnchadh and Ben. 1-0 UL1. After a high stall scoober from Feely in the next point UL1 got the disk back. Working it up the court they found the ex UCC player Mark in the end zone. 2-0Ul1. 2 points down, refocus and forget. Next point, smooth scoober from Lee to Staunton, Donnchadh free for the score. 2-1UL1. Ul then get a fast score with a Dylan-Tinkler combo. UL get a fast break and before we knew it we were 4-1 down. As always we kept our heads up and brought our IFS back into full swing. Next point, fresh start, raised confidence, hammer from Bryan to Donnchadh in the end zone. From then on UCC and UL traded points while going up a break every once in a while. After a long 15 minute battle UCC had a challenge to face: 9-8 UL1, game to 10. Starting off on defence UL force an iso break scoober where Ben came along with a well needed D. Straight away court length scoober to Staunton ripping it down in the end zone over everyone’s head. Universe point, nerves were shaking. Ben, Staunton, Feely, Dornan and Donnchadh, 5 lads who all started playing in Secondary School were now on the line for a universe point IV’s final. Starting off on defence UL’s captain Podge and Lorcan patiently worked the disk up the court until Feely gets a cheeky poachy D. Now was our time for action. As Feely and Ben began the dreaded task of working the disk up the pitch during a universe point, Lorcan brought his infamous parkour skills and got a layout D on Staunton. Contested foul and disk was back in Feely’s hand. UCC had to play the disk backwards to reform the offence. Once back in our own end zone a slight miscommunication leaded to an unfortunate turnover. UL1 were just outside our end zone on offence, the worst thing we could have during a universe point. Podge and Lorcan were patient once more and found the 6 foot 5 Tipp man Mark Fanning in the end zone for the winning score. 10-9 UL1. A hard fought battle, an unfortunate loss but a most enjoyable competitive tournament was had.
Indoor IV’s was out of the way with many lessons learned and experience gained. Our mental game was a key factor in how we played and we hope to carry on this positive and confident mentality to Outdoor IV’s in March where we certainly won’t be settling for second place!
A-Game: Dave Forde
Full squad: Matthew Feely (C), Ben Noonan (VC), Matthew Staunton, Bryan Dornan, Donnchadh Mc Auliffe, Lee Griffin, Shane Doyle, Dave Forde