This sport sounds bizarre but two Laois women won’t care about that as they were part of an Ireland team which claimed a European Gold Medal in it over the weekend.
The Ireland Women’s team won the 2019 European Ultimate Frisbee Championships (EUC) on Saturday 6thJuly, beating Switzerland 15-8 to get the gold.
This is the first time an Irish national team has won gold at an international tournament.
After a gruelling week long tournament in Gyor, Hungary, playing in temperatures of up to 37degrees, the 21-woman Irish squad finished top of the 15-nation tournament.
And two members of the squad, Sinéad O’Shiel Flemming and Sinéad Dunne, hail from Laois. O’Shiel-Flemming comes from Camross while Dunne is from Clonad.
Ireland went into the EUC seeded 11th in the rankings. After coming second in their pool, having lost to the current 2015 champions, Finland, Ireland came back to beat the Finns in a rematch by 1 point in a nail-biting sudden death match in the Quarter-Finals where the Irish women demonstrated their skill, patience and athleticism.
They then moved on to beat the favourites, Russia, in the Semi-Finals on Friday, before an emphatic 15-8 win over Switzerland (seeded 2nd) in the Final on Saturday.
The squad were captained by Sarah Melvin and coached by Ian French. Supported by three assistant coaches Jen Kwan, Michelle Leahy and Zoë Langsdale and Richard Buggy as Manager.
The Final was streamed live to Ultimate fans and supporters across the world and is available to watch here. The quarter against Finland and semi-final against Russia were streamed by YouTube and watched by over 2.4k viewers.
This is the first time any Irish national team has won an international championship and builds on the strength and hard work of a small but passionate community.
The first time an Ireland Women’s international team participated in the EUC was in France in 2003, and the first Ireland Women’s international match win was at the 2007 EUC against Belgium, in Southampton.
The closest Irish national teams have come to gold in the past was silver wins by the Irish Mixed Team on beach in 2013, IrishMixed Team at EUC 2015 and Irish Men’s under 20s in 2017.
The Irish Mixed Team won Spirit at the 2019 EUC and finished 7th. The Irish Men’s Team finished 11th in the 2019 EUC.
How does Ultimate Frisbee work?
· Games at the 2019 EUC last 100 minutes or to a 15-point cap with a half time at 8points
· Ultimate is a game for two teams of seven players, played on a pitch which is 100metres long and 37 metres wide with an 18metre endzone at either end
· Players must stand still when in possession of the disc. Goals are scored when the disc is caught in the endzone a team is attacking.
· An in-completed pass is a turnover – if a team throws the disc and it is not caught by another member of your team, then the opposition gets possession
· Ultimate Frisbee is a non-contact self-referring sport; players call fouls and agree what will happen next between themselves during a game. At every tournament a “Spirit” prize is awarded to the team rated to best know and apply the rules in a fair, considerate and consistent manner
· There are three divisions in Ultimate Frisbee: Men’s, Women’s and Mixed
· Players are completely self-funded
· Ultimate Frisbee has been in Ireland since the late 1990s, with club, university, youth and school teams across the country. Ireland first represented on the International stage with an Open team in the World Ultimate and Guts Championships in 2000