Glenswilly man represents Ireland in Euro Frisbee Championships

A SOFTWARE engineer from Glenswilly flew out to Kaunas, Lithuania, this week to compete for Ireland in the European Indoor Ultimate Frisbee Championships.

James Doherty (26) is included in the first Irish National Team selected for an indoor tournament which will take place over three days, from the 9th of December to the 11th.

While the sport may be new to many Irish people, frisbee has been around since 1968 and has more than five million players in the US where it originated.


A former student of Glenswilly NS and St Eunan’s College, James is one of the top performers in the Irish ultimate frisbee scene. He picked up the quick-paced, strategic sport eight years ago after being introduced to it by a friend at college (Trinity).

“He wanted to play it so I just tagged along and really enjoyed it,” James explained.

A Physics graduate from Trinity, James completed his Masters in High Performance Computing. He now works as a software engineer in Dublin.

James has played other sports such as basketball with Letterkenny Blaze but said ultimate frisbee is now his main sport. He plays with the XVI club in Dublin while he also lines out with Trinity.

“The season runs from April to September. In that time we’ll be training, maybe twice a week, in the lead up to tournaments. The National team had two weekends together ahead of this weekend’s competition. It requires a lot of fitness,” he said.

Indoor ultimate frisbee is played with five players on each team; the objective is to catch the frisbee when it reaches a player’s ‘end zone’ on the end of the pitch.

Over a thousand people play the sport in Ireland now and it’s growing in popularity.


Ultimate relies upon a ‘Spirit of the Game’ that places the responsibility for fair play on every player.

There are no referees; the players are solely responsible for following and enforcing the rules, even at World Championship. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.

“The players from both teams talk it out before making a decision and it works pretty well. It’s not perfect but it helps give you respect for the team you’re playing against,” he said.

James represented Ireland at an U24 tournament in Heidelberg, Germany, in 2019 but this is his first appearance for the National Indoor team.

Next year, Ireland hosts the European Championships in Limerick and it is James’ ambition is to be part of the team.

“The best player in Europe at the moment is an English guy who’s probably in his mid-thirties so, hopefully, my best is yet to come,” he said.

The eldest son of Connie Doherty and Susan O’Boyle, James had three younger sisters.

“For some reason, Ireland is really good at frisbee. The women’s team won the Euros in 2019 while the best club side in Europe at the moment is Ranelagh. Letterkenny (ATU) has a team and the sport is very popular in Irish universities,” he said.

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