UCC Players Make History at EUCF 2018
07/10/2018 | Rebel Ultimate takes bronze in the Mixed division at the European Ultimate Championship Finals (EUCF) in Wroclaw, Poland!
Read this write-up from the team Captain and current UCC student Andrew McGovern to see how Rebel got on against some of the best Mixed teams in Europe:
Rebel Ultimate is a club with which UCC players have played during and after their days of varsities for ten years now. Last weekend in Wroclaw, Poland, Rebel became the highest finishing Irish club team at a European Ultimate Championship Finals (EUCF) ever, coming home with Bronze.
Journey to EUCF
In order for Rebel to qualify for EUCF, they first had to qualify through All Ireland Ultimate Championships (AIUC), followed by European Ultimate Championship Regionals (EUCR) in Birmingham, England. There were five regional championships in Europe with only twelve teams able to qualify for EUCF. In the West only the top two teams would qualify. Rebel were placed in the same group as the highest seeded English team Deep Space. Rebel lost to Deep Space (7-15) on day one but met them again in the semi-final in torrential conditions for a very memorable win (13-10), with a great performance from John Doherty in particular, which brought us to the final guaranteeing Rebel qualification for EUCF.
At EUCF, Rebel started day one with two disappointing single point losses to Sirrocco from Latvia (14-15) and Disc’over Lisboa from Portugal (12-13) in the group. They went on to get a convincing win over Maultaschen from Germany (15-6) to end the day.
Going into day two Rebel needed to win both of their remaining group games to have a shot at making a semi-final. Game one was against Left Overs from Czech Republic, who defeated Disc’over Lisboa on day one. Rebel fired out of the blocks to a 4-0 lead and finished the game 15-13 with a powerful and focused performance in contrast to day one.
This meant Rebel’s next game would be the biggest in the history of the club. A win would mean they would become the highest finishing Irish club team at a EUCF ever and a loss would knock them out. The final group game was against the 2017 EUCF silver medallists Colorado Karlsruhe from Germany – veterans in this tournament. Rebel, in comparison, were only just making their second appearance in history at the event. It may have been the pressure or the lack of experience at this level, but Rebel started poorly, going 0-4 down very quickly from simple mistakes. The first half finished 2-8 to Colorado.
During half time there were speeches by the leadership of giving everything you have so after the game they could rest knowing we all pushed ourselves harder than ever before. Speeches of playing with heart and finding grit to keep running when your lungs are gasping. Rebel came into the second half a very different team. The offence was now clinical and patient and the defence was hungry. Every player stepped up and played for each other and their club. From 2-8 down at half time Rebel brought it to 11-11, game to 12. This is a position Rebel had been in already twice and lost at this tournament. With the weight of the moment on their shoulders and spirit of the club behind them Rebel won the game with the greatest comeback in the history of the club. 12-11.
Rebel then faced another German team, Hässliche Erdferkel, in the semi-final in Poland’s Olympic stadium. Rebel showed their skill with Nicolas Peters and Luke Doyle in particular having exceptional games but were out of gas following the intensity of the game against Colorado. They lost the semi-final (7-15) with smiles across their face knowing the value of prior wins. Disc’over Lisboa lost the other semi-final and Rebel had an opportunity for revenge to secure a bronze medal on day three. Rebel showed the same level of play they showed in the second half against Colorado and ran away with the game with a strong win to take bronze (15-7).
Ultimate is a self-refereed sport, meaning that sportsmanship is necessary for the game to function. The terminology used to describe this is called the spirit of the game, and is divided into 5 categories: Rules knowledge and use, fouls and body contact, fair-mindedness, positive attitude and self-control, and communication. Each player on a team is responsible for maintaining a high standard in every category. After each game, a team gives their opposition a ‘spirit score’, to quantify their level of sportsmanship. In this tournament, Rebel Ultimate not only came third in tournament rankings, but came second in spirit rankings, demonstrating both a high level of play and a high level of sportsmanship.
The team of 16 consisted of 12 players which were either current or alumni members of UCC Ultimate so we proudly present the team:
We would also like to congratulate Rebel’s non-UCC team members Michelle Mac Lennan, Naomi Price-Lazarus, Nuala Donovan and Ola Kulikowska.