The European Ultimate Championship Finals 2021 (also known as XEUCF) took place from September 30 to October 3.
The ultimate stage for European Ultimate Frisbee, club teams qualified directly from the national championship, the Irish nationals being held in Limerick from September 11-12.
This year, the XEUCF occurred in Brugge, Belgium, with Ireland sending 4 teams: Gravity, PELT, Ranelagh and XVI.
This high turnout really shows the strength of Ultimate Frisbee as a sport in Ireland, and how it is growing to be a formidable force on the world stage.
There was a total of 72 teams competing in the three divisions: Mixed (20), Women (20) and Open (32). The fact the competition was so strong only further proves what strong representation Ireland had.
The concept of spirit is one of the most important ideas in a game of Ultimate. Representing fair mindedness, understanding of rules, respect and good communications with others, each team ranks and gets ranked by the opposing teams, and at the end of a tournament the spirit score of each team is calculated. Ranelagh, from Dublin, came second in the men’s spirit ranking, an especially impressive feat.
Another amazing result is Dublin-based Gravity finishing third in the Women’s division. There has been a big push to increase women participation and involvement with sports, with the 20×20 campaign which ran recently being highly involved with Ultimate in Ireland.
Such a high result from the Women’s team is a wonderful testimony to their hard work and will hopefully work to encourage other women to give Ultimate a try.
Barry O’Gorman, former president, and coach of the NUI Galway Frisbee club was one of the players representing Ireland on the national level. Talking about his experience, he says:
“Competing at the XEUCF was really amazing, getting to test yourself against the best is really where you want to be in any field and to be able to do that in a sport like ultimate where there is a great balance between competitiveness and the spirit of the game is really unique,” he said.
“The fact that there were 4 Irish teams competing at the event, and very strongly at that with Dublin Gravity taking 3rd in Women’s, PELT of Limerick taking 9th in Mixed, Ranelagh and XVI taking 4th and 25th respectively in the Men’s really shows that Ireland is becoming a stronghold of high-level ultimate in the region which is amazing for the development of future players,” he added.
“Big thanks to XVI for letting me have this experience.”
Considering Ireland is relatively new to the sport of Ultimate, it has very quickly cemented its place on the European stage of Ultimate.
With the Irish Senior Women winning gold at the European Championships of 2019 (being the first time an Irish national team has ever won gold at an international tournament) and now such impressive representation and results at the XEUCF 2021, it seems clear that Ultimate in Ireland is only going from strength to strength.