UCC Ultimate Frisbee had a number of winners at the Irish Flying Disc Association Awards on November 4th.
UCC Graduate and UCC Ultimate Frisbee legend Leanne O’Neill won an award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Irish Disc Sports.” She described her achievements by saying: “This season I was Rebel Ladies Indoor Coach, on the coaching committee for Rebel Ladies Outdoors, UCC Ladies Captain, UCC Schools Coordinator and Ireland Junior Women’s Head Coach.”
Speaking about her time as Rebel Ladies coach, she noted: ”For indoors I coached 20+ people of extremely varied levels each week. I chose a playing and spirit captain of each team. Rebel Ladies got 4 teams to All Irelands, more than any other club and we got two teams in the Final! I played a large part. Being on the coaching committee for outdoors I helped beginners along and helped the first team to the final.”
O’Neill was also captain of UCC Ladies in this time, upon which she said that “[she] coached the majority of sessions as they clashed with Mary’s PhD. I helped the beginner girls who won Ladies Devs. UCC won a 5th indoor and outdoor varsities titles in a row, and came 2nd in Siege (of Limerick). I was awarded a Bene Merenti by UCC Sport for my contribution to UCC Ultimate.
“I ran weekly PE classes in schools and organised after school trainings, TD’d the Murray Cup (which had Dublin girls schools this year) and set up a Cork Schools Blitz,” she added, speaking about her role as UCC Schools Coordinator,” I’ve established two tournaments a year for Cork School Students now.”
Not content with being involved on a local and university level, Leanne also served as the head coach of the Irish Junior Women’s team. “I brought the team to Tour for the first time ever. There were two Ireland Junior Women in the final of Womens All Irelands. This year saw the largest player retention into clubs and colleges. We won 4 EYUC games equalling the winning record of any Junior Womens Team.”
UCC took another top prize at the IFDAs, as Caitlin Looney was given the award for the Ladies College Player of the Year. Longtime teammate and fellow award winner Leanne O’Neill was full of praise for Ms.Looney:
“Caitlin was the UCC Mixed Co-Captain 2016/17. Caitlin was probably the best under cutter on the varsity scene for the last 4 years. Her enthusiasm and energy are second to none. She is a very intelligent player who knows what she’s good at and does that extremely well.
“I’ve played with Caitlin for seven years now and she in constantly improving and working hard for her teammates. She never stops running. She always provides throwing options and for me as a handler, she is the perfect cutter.
“Siege (of Limerick) was a very tough tournament weather wise and having Caitlin there made it so much easier. She was a stand out player for her four years in UCC.”
Brionagh Healy also won Ladies Schools Player of the Year. She had this to say about her achievements to date:
“From the beginning, I was immediately invested in the sport. I began training with Rebel Ladies and during the summer months I would attend three trainings per week. I was rewarded for my hard-work. I was selected on the first team for Women’s Outdoor All Irelands in 2017.
“I was chosen as vice-captain of the winning Indoor Ladies Team at AIUC 2016/17. I attended Tour 2 with Rebel Ultimate in 2017 and Tour 3 with the Irish junior Women, in which we won spirit. I attended Liverpool BnE 2017/2018 with Rebel Ultimate, an Indoor tournament which we won and I was also voted MVP.
“I competed at international level with Ireland Junior Women’s team in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The 2017 team travelled to Veenendaal where I was picked as the MVP by teams such as Israel, Italy, Austria, Belgium and Slovakia. I was also voted as the Ireland Junior Women’s MVP by my teammates.
“Despite being busy with the Leaving Cert this past season, I made a huge effort to stay involved in Ultimate. I attended every training possible and the only tournament that I missed was Mixed All Irelands which was the week before my Leaving Cert. I even attended The Siege of Limerick which was the weekend during my pre-exams (Frisbee > school).”
UCC itself won College of the Year at the awards. Patrick Harris wrote this appraisal of the colleges achievements to date:
“UCC Ultimate had many achievements last year. On the pitch we were by far the most successful college. UCC Ladies won Indoor (spirit winners) and Outdoor IVs (for a 5th time in a row), Ladies Devs as well as coming 2nd in Siege. We also got the most number of teams to Ladies Indoor IVs and had the highest finishing 2nd team. UCC Open won outdoor IVs (for a 2nd year in a row) and came 2nd at Indoor IVs as well as having highly competitive teams at open Devs and Siege. Both the Open and Women’s teams had beginner teams attend Cork Open and Trinity Tea Party. UCC Mixed won Mixed Indoor IVs as well as having the highest finishing 2nd team and having three teams compete.
“As well as dominating on the pitch UCC Ultimate has a highly successful schools programme. UCC plays host to the Murray Cup, and the Cork Schools Blitz. Aside from school All Irelands which does not happen every year, these are the only tournaments in the country for school students.
“The Murray Cup was shortlisted for overall ‘Event of the Year’ in UCC. UCC Ultimate also ran a coaching session for Rebel Wheelers which is a group that caters for children with different levels of physical ability.
“We had 13 players graduate this last year and still have a large thriving club this year thanks to our school’s programme and year to year successful recruitment.”