As Ireland’s first roller derby team, Dublin Roller Derby now takes the title of the first Irish team to make it to WFTDA Playoffs as well. With teams becoming more accurately ranked in Europe, Dublin managed to earn their trip to Pittsburgh without a prior trip across the Atlantic in 2017.
Ranked #58, Dublin may have snuck into Playoffs, but they have been making progress in leaps and bounds and are excited to take hold of this opportunity and show that they shouldn’t be underestimated.
Dublin Roller Derby began in 2009 with the same dream most budding teams have of staying up on their skates and figuring this whole roller derby thing out. By 2013 they had applied for the WFTDA Apprentice program, graduated the next year, and are still only one of three Irish member leagues. Team Captains Brewdoll E Lowcock and Lana Pain told us how they have had a steady upward progression. “Each year, as DRD became a stronger and more competitive league, our goals also became bigger and more competitive. And here we are!”
At the start of 2016, Dublin was ranked #145, but after a trip to Beach Brawl in Florida of that same year, they moved up 60 spots to land at #75 by the end of May. This season, they continued to climb higher with a win and a loss at EuroClash, plus three more wins against San Fernando, Central City, and Tiger Bay. These games got them inside the previously coveted top 60 bubble, but since WFTDA changed up the structure for the 2017 tournaments, the bar was just a little bit higher.
“After our final game of the season against Tiger Bay Brawlers, we also knew that our win wasn’t enough to take us into the new 2017 D2 bracket, and the likelihood of an invite was low.” However, they say when they did get that invite, the team was on board immediately.
Part of growing Dublin Roller Derby to what the league is today has been the inclusion of officials in their community. On their Facebook and website, you can see them proudly announcing which of their referees and NSOs qualified to work the WFTDA D1 tournament in Malmö and the World Cup next February in Manchester. Officials are encouraged to take on jobs within their league, as are skaters to work with them. For example, Brew is the Head of Officials for DRD. Along with making officiating part of their Fresh Meat requirements, they provide classes to officials and skaters and are sure spend time with each other as a league.
While there are many National elimination-style tournaments in Europe, this type of experience isn’t as common for teams like Dublin. Since becoming a member league, they have participated in a few invitationals but Brew says no matter the competition or situation, they approach each bout like it’s the biggest game of the year. “We’re an endurance team and we play a controlled and paced game which will serve us well in a tournament of wins over differentials.” Division 2 tournaments will be a strong test of this since advancing forward through the weekend can mean as many as five games.
Getting to D2s is the first hurdle for many teams since the time between WFTDA’s tournament announcement and August 18th is so short. Like most leagues, Dublin is raising money through an online fundraiser, as well as other local events. “Again, the Roller Derby community is quite small (but cozy!) here, and we’re secretly admiring the creative and humorous derby related rewards of teams like Calgary!” They also have been reaching out to corporate businesses for sponsorship to try and build a name for Irish Roller Derby.
The first team Dublin will take on is a familiar one, as they are traveling to the United States to take on a team from the UK. As the #16 seed, DRD will take on the #1 seed Auld Reekie, and the last time the two teams matched up was in April of last year where ARRG won by 133 points. Despite the ranking difference, Lana is confident they will do well because they are a different team now. “We are very strategic in our training and learn from every game we play. We never come out of a game empty handed even if it’s not with a win!”
They also admit Auld Reekie has probably grown since then too, but their previous game helped show Dublin where they needed to improve. “I would be careful not to underestimate us (especially at the after party).” Flat Track Stats seems to agree with that sentiment; FTS has their money on the underdog for this first match up.
Dublin versus Auld Reekie will be on Track 1 Friday at 10am EDT (3pm IST). You can now purchase your passes to watch D2 Playoffs and all the tournaments on WFTDA.tv and keep tabs on the games here and on all of our social media throughout tournament season. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.