2023 IFAF European Flag Football Championship in Limerick
As 2023 comes to a close, I've been meaning to share the details of my journey to the 2023 IFAF European Flag Football Championship in Limerick. The adventure kicked off with two flights and a bus ride alongside Team France, finally landing me at the University of Limerick. On the bus, Team France’s Captain, Elisa Desantes, introduced me to the Women’s and Men’s teams, as well as FFFA executives. If you haven’t met Elisa, she played in the Ottawa Women’s Football Spring/Summer season with the In-laws & Outlaws; not only is she a fantastic flag player, but she's also contributing to the growth of the sport as an NFL Flag/IFAF flag ambassador.
Elisa Desantis IG @elisa.desantis19
Now, for the gear enthusiasts: packing the camera gear posed the first challenge. Balancing the need to pack light while keeping all gear in a carry-on was crucial. In my backpack were the Nikon D500, Sigma 150-600mm, Nikon 50mm 1.4, Nikon 70-200 2.8, MacBook Pro, and Manfrotto monopod. Surprisingly, all the gear fit into a Lowepro 300AW II, weighing in at 30 lbs.
During the bus ride to the University, I had the pleasure of sitting with Lilou, an offensive receiver for Team France and a youth flag football coach in Spain. Despite language differences, our passion for football resonated, resulting in a great chat.
Day 1 Saw everyone settling into the dorms and grabbing lunch before the teams hit the field for practice. Roaming around, snapping photos, I could feel the competitive spirit radiating from coaches, players, and executives. The teams were there to compete and bring home a medal.
Day 2 marked the first day of competition with France facing Great Britain. Although a close game with many great moments for Team France, they fell short.
The Irish rain made its presence felt by the second game, soaking us thoroughly. Despite the weather, the players' excitement prevailed conquering the competition against Czech in Game 2. In fact, the rain added an epic touch to the shots.
Valentine Leblond IG @valentineleblond
Day 3 - My Apple Watch gave me a hi-five for the 20,000+ steps I walked every day; I didn't want to miss anything! In the final games of Day 3, I looked through my viewfinder and had time to reflect. Football is more than just a game; it's a celebration of athleticism, teamwork, and the relentless pursuit of victory. The passion and energy fuelling the growth of female flag football create an unparalleled experience. If you're a fan or a player, the excitement of female flag football is a force that leaves you craving more. Day three brings three wins for Team France!
LiLou Din IG @lilou.dln_
Day 4 Team France triumphed against Austria in Game 1, setting the tone for the day. The atmosphere was charged with anticipation as both teams brought their A-game to the field.
Lots of competition history between these two teams. As the adrenaline from the first game lingered, Team France geared up for their Semi-final game. This would be the second challenge against Great Britain.
Florine Marion IG @florine.marion
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Ates Delfin IG @delfin_ates23
Every play and every strategic move was important, and the athletes pushed their limits in this game.As the final whistle blew, the outcome of the game was revealed, and Team France's fate in the tournament had come to an end. The bronze medal was awarded to the winning team, Germany.
Lucie Houret IG @lulu_ht5
My final thoughts: Capturing the European Championship from Team France’s bench was an unforgettable experience filled with camaraderie, incredible shots, great football and a whole lot of fun. Whether you're a fan or a player, the excitement of female flag football is a force that leaves you wanting more. A big thank you to Elisa, her teammates, and FFFA for the warm welcome and letting me tag along.