Ultimate in Ireland
Ultimate Frisbee is a relatively young sport here in Ireland. Introduced by an English player called Simon Cocking in 1995, the sport has now grown from 10-15 players meeting in Herbert Park once a week to a sport with as many as 500 players nationwide. Most major cities have a number of club teams playing the sport and there are teams in all of the main universities including UCC, Trinity, UCD and NUI Galway. Recently, many schools are beginning to be introduced to the game as well. The country is represented by national teams at all levels from U-17 to Men’s and Women’s and compete internationally each year. The national association – the Irish Flying Disc Association (IFDA) govern Ultimate here in Ireland and their website is a valuable resource – www.irishultimate.com.
How is the sport played?
Very simply, the game is like American football, netball and soccer all added together but without physical contact and no referees. In short, the aim is throw the frisbee or disc to any of your 6 team mates while progressing up the field to catch in the endzone. You cannot run with the frisbee (but you can pivot) and you cannot tackle opposition players. The sport is governed by Spirit of the Game which sounds lofty but is essentially fairplay. Given that there are no referees players must know the rules themselves, be prepared to discuss them with other players and to act fairly throughout. This is seen at all levels of the sport – from casual games in the park all the way up to the World Championship finals.
A team called Gentle from Ghent, Belgium run an excellent tournament each year called ‘G-Spot’. It is a mixed tournament renowned for high quality Ultimate and a very fun party. This video, filmed by one of their players Jelle van Collie (check out his superb work here: Eye to Eye) captures Mixed Ultimate and a nice atmosphere perfectly. G-Spot 2013 teaser.
The video below is a short highlight clip of the best teams in the United States. It showcases the speed, athleticism and power needed to play the game at an elite level.