The first of two intensive all-weekend trials were held for Team Ireland last week. I wrote previously about the development of the Irish Quidditch scene and the sheer amount of talent on show was inspirational. This was testament to the returning 2016 World Cup and 2015 European Games players, as well as the hard work of the few local bright sparks in the sport. 42 have applied for the team and 20+ attended the first weekend. There was a great mix of Team Ireland pros and relative newbies from the Dublin and Belfast teams. Many with Irish roots have settled in the UK now and are gaining experience among the much more varied tournament scene.
Trials and Drills
The trials were run over four periods of about three hours, two each day, starting with fairly intense warm-up and continuing with drills for all roles. Each day ended with what is called ‘scrimmage’; to the lay-person games made up of the applicants being put into team and playing each other. All applicants were put through their paces for each position on the field regardless of preference or previous experience. As the head coach Bex McLaughlin pointed out, there could a an unknown seeker etc hidden among players who usually opted for another role. Examples of activities included catching and passing drills designed for chasers (and team building) and snitch catching drills and tips. Once each player had settled on their chosen positions, drills were catered more to the particular position led by individual coaches.
Team Ireland Management Staff
The coach for the Dublin Draoíchta Dragons, Stefan Scheurer in his new role as the chaser coach, led the chasers in drills designed to develop their skills. Kerry Aziz of the Southampton Uni team and formally Team Ireland is the team’s beater coach and shared some very useful beater drills, defensive and offensive. Managing logistics are Team Manager Marty Caritigiano and fellow manager Martina Brazdova. When asked what the management team were looking for in their squad, Marty said “we’re looking for enthusiasm, and positive attitude probably being the most important things. Those you can’t teach to someone, while skills improve with experience”. Enthusiasm is something that was definitely present as applicants worked through intense rain on Saturday and blinding sun on Sunday.
If you are interested in Team Ireland but aren’t up for intense training, there’s plenty of ways to support the team. As they work towards the goal of the European Games in Oslo, they will be designing a kit which will be sold as merchandise. They will also be looking for promoters to help fund the kit and trip. You can follow all developments on their Facebook.
The 2nd trials will happen on 29th to 30th April. Once these are over the team will be announced at the start of May.