My first steps on the international stage were full of personal moments that will stay with me forever, from pulling on the Ireland jersey for the first time, to singing Amhrán na bhFiann in front of crowd and cameras, knowing your friends are watching at home. These landmarks were also joined by team victories, such as beating Australia 9-8 in a pre-WILC warm-up match as well as winning our first ever World Championship match against Slovakia. Trying to list all of these good memories would take too much space, so instead I’ll try to focus on a couple of moments that I feel summed up the tournament for me.
The feature that really struck me from the start was how easy it was to integrate with the team. Being a new addition to the squad, I worried that it would be hard for me to talk to the more experienced players, and, while I didn’t say more than a few words over the first couple of days, the welcoming and friendly relationships between teammates really helped. In particular the back-and-forth between Paul Murran and Brian Gillis provided hours of entertainment to anyone who would watch, while Ryan Doran’s upbeat reaction to a snoring roommate was another source of amusement.
The second aspect that really stood out, was that the tournament provided the opportunity to play against teams with the highest skill levels in indoor lacrosse. In our group we had the second, third and fourth best teams in the world, and while it made our three group-matches extraordinarily challenging, it really threw down the gauntlet for us to raise our game and perform at a world-class level.
Appreciating the skill of these teams made it even more satisfying when breaking up some of their plays, or beating some of the worlds leading players to ground-balls. With all of these experiences combined, picking an overall highlight from the tournament is difficult. There are so many small moments that made it a fantastic tournament, but locking out Australia in the last 30 seconds of the match will be a constant source of pride. From having played a tentative game the day before against L.C. Pardubice, we really raised our game and left everything out on the field. While it was disappointing not to play as well as we felt we could have in the tournament, we laid down a benchmark for the team to aspire to and reach in four years time. The next challenge for me is to play again for Ireland, and I can’t wait to train harder than before and make the improvements necessary to be an asset to the team for 2015.
Written by: Jacob Morris