Ultimate Frisbee.... Give it a throw!


As part of our series on Ireland's lesser-known, yet speedily-growing, sports we took the opportunity to chat with Andrew McGovern, Shane Doyle and Emma Healy, of UCC Ultimate Frisbee, to find out what this flying, flinging, fast-paced sport is all about. We began intrigued, we are now impressed! 

Read on to see if this could be the sport for you! (... have a gander at our great post about Dublin Roller Derby too if you missed it.)  So far, the best thing that we've learned is that the fittest earned playing a new sport is equal to the camaraderie experienced in a growing sport; both exciting and contagious.

There is no better time to seek out a new club and a new challenge than in college too.  The girls of Roller Derby commented that their only regret was they didn't become a derby girl sooner. Thus!  Our new motto? There is a sport for everyone to play, support and love... but it's not always the usual suspects. Get out and meet your new fit, sporting family

So First things first, What is Ultimate Frisbee?

Ultimate Frisbee is a fast-paced, non-contact team sport that tests athleticism, endurance and skill. Ultimate is a rapidly growing sport that is currently being played by thousands of people throughout the world in Open, Women’s and mixed divisions. It is believed that Ultimate Frisbee was originally developed in 1968 by a number of students in Columbia High School, Maplewood, New Jersey. The first ever sanctioned game was played here in 1968 between the student council and the student newspaper staff. Ultimate was introduced in Ireland around the year 1995 via players from countries such as Canada, the U.K and the U.S.A and has continued to grow ever since!

How is Ultimate Frisbee Played?

Ultimate is typically played outdoors on a pitch that is 100m by 37m. The pitch contains scoring zones or ‘end zones’ at either end, similar to rugby. The game is played by two seven player teams and the object of the game is to score points by passing the disc (Frisbee) amongst your teammates until a player catches it in the opposing end zone. The disc can only be advanced up field by passing it to a team member as you cannot move when you are in possession of the disc. Meanwhile, the opposing defenders are trying to intercept the passes or cause players to throw an incomplete pass so that they can gain control of the disc. Any time a pass is incomplete, intercepted or lands out of bounds, a turnover occurs which results in a change of possession of the disc. To see the sport in action and to gain a better insight into how the games are played just check out this YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/ngnultimate

When was the UCC Ultimate Club formed?

UCC Ultimate was founded in 1998 by Welshman David Rosenfeld. The original UCC team were aptly named the “Cork Coyotes” but this name was later changed to “Skulltimate” to incorporate the skull and crossbones logo of the college. Since its establishment in 1998 the club has continued to grow and now includes over 70 members the majority of which come from all over Ireland.

How did you get into ultimate Frisbee yourself?

I, personally, saw the sport being played on campus and thought that it would be something I would like to try. I decided to go down to one of the beginner training sessions and I haven’t looked back since! Everybody in the club was so welcoming and I immediately felt like I was part of the team. Despite the fact that I only started in September I still got the chance to compete in various tournaments around the country and I am also travelling to Amsterdam this coming June with ‘Rebel Ultimate Club’ to play in one of Europe’s largest tournaments ‘Windmill Windup’.

I was also eager to find a club or society with a good social background where I would get the opportunity to meet new people and make some new friends. Ultimate Frisbee certainly did not disappoint! Regular socials are organised for the entire club and we also get to meet so many players from different clubs and colleges when we travel to the various tournaments throughout Ireland.

Who would the sport suit? Is it not 'too late' to start? 

Unlike other sports, Ultimate Frisbee is not a sport that people typically play as children, and so if you start when you are in college, you are starting on a level playing field with everyone else. This makes it perfect for people who want to play a sport, but don't want to have to compete with people who have been playing their entire lives. Every year the first team consists of people who have been playing only two or three years, whereas most other sports would require many more years of practice to reach that level.

Ultimate Frisbee is also a sport which offers varying levels of competitiveness. At the highest level, we have five training sessions a week, which includes a strength and agility, and a fitness session. However we also cater to people who don't want to commit to so much training and just want to play the tournaments and enjoy the excellent social side of the sport!

How often do you train? Is it a massive commitment?

How often you train really depends on how seriously you want to take the sport. At the highest level there is currently five trainings a week. This includes strength and agility along with squad gym and a fitness session. However, we are more than happy to accommodate those who wish to train maybe once or twice a week, compete in a few tournaments and simply enjoy the excellent social aspect of the club!

Ultimate UCC train on the Mardyke Astro Monday to Wednesday evenings during the college year and people are more than welcome to come and watch. If you would like to see us play at tournaments check out our website (http://ultimate.ucc.ie) to see our upcoming fixtures!

Where would an interested (but nervous) total newbie start?

The college season is now over for this year but beginner trainings will recommence in September. Anybody is welcome to come down and give the sport a go… I would highly recommend it! Keep a look out for us on clubs day and you can also keep up to date with our Facebook page. 

If you live in Cork, Rebel Ultimate caters to both male and female beginners. You can contact them HERE

If you are living elsewhere in Ireland, you can contact the IFDA who are the national governing body for Ultimate in Ireland and they will help you find your local club. They can be contacted at through www.irishultimate.com

If you would like to play for UCC, beginner training sessions will recommence in September. Be sure to look out for us at clubs day in September for more information!

Where can people see the sport in action?

We train on the Mardyke Astro Monday to Wednesday evenings during the college year and people are more than welcome to come and watch. If you would like to see us play at tournaments check out our website, http://ultimate.ucc.ie, to see our upcoming fixtures!

We wish say a huge thank you to Andrew McGovern, Shane Doyle, Emma Healy and the great flying, diving loopers of UCC Ultimate Frisbee for taking time out to tell Student Leap what it's all about.

We'll be keeping an out for this great sport in the future....and we might even be springing like gazelles with a frisbees down at our local park very soon. We encourage you to give it a go too.... or should we say 'Give it a throw'!