European Ultimate Championships Days One & Two
The tournament got off to a great start for the Irish ladies yesterday with wins over Finland and Latvia, securing an early place in the top power pool stages.
Their first game yesterday morning was against a strong Finnish side who were top of their group and seeded fourth overall. The game got off to a great start with Ireland taking a 3-0 lead. UCC’s own Rosie O’Mahony scoring two of these three points and assisting for the third. Finland were forced to call an early time out. After this they came back fighting and managed to bridge the gap, the Irish ladies conceding three consecutive points to level the score at three all. The teams then constantly traded points until half time at which the score was 8-7 to Ireland. Finland came back on offense but a much needed Callahan from Aine Ahern put Ireland ahead once again at nine points to seven. However the match was far from over and both teams continued to fight hard despite the worsening weather conditions. Finland retaliated with some lovely offensive plays, levelling the score once more at nine all. Time at this point was up and so the game was to be played to ten. Ireland had the disc on offence and after working it nicely down the pitch it was Rosie O’Mahony once again who threw the final assist to Clair Pugh for the win. Final score, 10-9 to Ireland.
The next game of the day was against Latvia, a team with similar experience to the Irish girls. Latvia were seeded just two places above Ireland and both teams were very evenly matched. This lead to another very exciting and hard fought game. Once again, this game started very well, the first score being a “pinpoint huck” from Rosie O’Mahony to Caitlin Looney. From the start the Irish ladies were on top. They put on a spectacular performance playing patient offence and intense defence and showing exactly why they are a force to be reckoned with. The girls managed to stay ahead for the entire game, heavy rain slowed them down considerably but they kept their heads up and managed to pull out another great win. The final score line was 14 points to 10.
With just one game today the Irish ladies knew that it was going to be a tough one. A win would secure them first place in their pool and a good spot in the power pool stages. In this game Ireland faced a very strong Russian team who had recently placed second overall in the international tournament ‘Windmill Windup.’ Weather conditions for this match were even worse than yesterday with heavy rain and strong wind making it difficult for all teams. Russia took an early lead scoring two quick, consecutive points. Their zone defence was very intense and this made it tough for the Irish girls to overcome. However, as Ireland settled into the game they managed some lovely offensive plays and at one stage the score was level at 4-4. Unfortunately, Russia broke away once again and the score at half time was nine points to six. Undaunted by this the Irish girls came back fighting and performed excellently in the second half. Unsurprisingly, the weather had a big impact on this game which was unfortunate as Ireland were unable to catch back up to the Russians. The game finished with a very respectable score of 13-9 to Russia.
Tomorrow will see the start of the power pool stages. Ireland’s first game is at 9:00am against old rivals, Great Britain. We would like to wish the team the very best of luck and we hope they will continue with their success.
Emma ‘xoxo’ Healy