World U23 Ultimate Championships Report – Day Five
Today was the penultimate day of the World U23 Ultimate Championships in London with just the finals left to play tomorrow. Both the open and mixed team put on spectacular performances for their last two games and though unlucky in the results of these, they have definitely done themselves and the country proud.
U23 Open Team
For their first game of the day, the open team faced Austria in a bid to take 5th place. Having previously played each other in the pool stages these two teams were familiar with one another and both sides were very evenly matched. Unfortunately, the lads were now missing some of their strong players to injury and struggled to shut down the Austrian offence in the second half of the match. The game started very well when Ireland were rewarded for their patient offence, going 4-0 up in the first few minutes. However, Austria then began to gather momentum and managed to bridge the gap following some lovely deep shots to the Irish endzone. Ireland took half with a score of 9-7 and started the second half on offence. At this point things were looking good for the Irish team but following the half time buzzer, Austria came back fighting with some intense and clinical defence. This, coupled with the fact that the wind had really picked up, proved a little too much for the Irish boys and unfortunaly, they were unable to retain their lead. The game finished with a final score of 16-14 to Austria.
Ireland then faced Germany, who has just lost to New Zealand, in the 7/8 playoffs. Again the game started well for the Irish team when they went 2-0 up early on. The Germans then retaliated with a score of their own but Ireland fought back to knock in another. 3-1 to Ireland after 30 minutes. The teams then constantly traded until half time at which the score was 8-7 to Ireland. Both hungry to finish in 7th place both teams came back on the line with great intensity which lead to a very exciting second half. Unfortunately, the experience of the German team really stood to them and they managed to score some lovely points, despite the best efforts of the Irish zone. The game finished with a scoreline of 16-9 to Germany and Ireland finished the tournament in 8th place.
This was a huge achievement for this team who were initially seeded 12th when entering the competition. They also placed 5th in spirit, 2nd highest of the European teams. This really goes to show how high the standard of ultimate has become in Ireland and also how much the sport is beginning to evolve. We wish extend a huge congratulations to the entire team and we hope ye enjoy the celebrations.
U23 Mixed Team
In their first game of the day the mixed team went up against The Philippines for the second time. Looking to redeem themselves from yesterday’s game The Philippines came out with great intensity and determination not to be beaten by the Irish once again. This game was a very exciting with both teams trading right to the very end when it reached universe point at 8-8. At this point it really was anybody’s game but unfortunaly, it was the Philippines who managed to knock in the final score after a very long and tiring point. The game finished 9-8 to The Philippines.
Ireland then took on Colombia in a bid for 11th place, a team who they had also played just yesterday. This game went a lot more in Ireland’s favour and they finished the tournament on a high. Ireland managed to take an early lead and were successful in holding on to this lead for the entire game. The game finished with a score of 15-6 to Ireland and they took 11th place in the competition.
Despite the fact that this team dropped a few places in their seeding this was still a great achievement for the team. Quite unlike the open team, for many of the played on the mixed team it was their first time ever playing on a national team and for them to be able to compete at such a high standard of ultimate is commendable. A large number of players will have gained invaluable experience from this tournament that is guaranteed to benefit them in times to come. Again, huge congratulations to this team and we hope ye too enjoy the celebrations!
Up next on the ultimate calendar is the European Ultimate Championships which take place in Copenhagen from July 27th to August 2nd. Ireland will send an Open, Women’s and Mixed team to this competition. There are six UCC players who will compete on the women’s team: Aoife Blake, Caitlin Looney, Cliona Doyle, Leanne O’Neill, Mary McKee and Rosie O’Mahony and we would like to wish them and the rest of the teams the very best of luck. We hope to be following some of the action from Copenhagen so stay tuned for more!