'We're not mad!' - quidditch team training to take on Europe
A Dublin quidditch team have been dodging beaters and catching snitches in preparation for the European Quidditch Cup next month.
The enthusiastic players are planning to compete at the event in Belgium, but say they find it difficult to "convince people we're not mad".
The game is based on the fictional sport played in the Harry Potter series, which is mixed-gender and full-contact. The Draiochta Dragons were established in June of last year, and have been training in Fairview Park every Sunday.
Martina Brazdova (27), from Milltown, plays as a 'beater' on the team, and has been playing quidditch for two years.
"The initial thing was I'm a big Harry Potter fan, so when I found out it was a real life sport that was the main reason I wanted to try," she said.
"But as soon I got into it I realised there is a really amazing community surrounding the sport. It's probably one of the most gender inclusive, because it's mixed-gender.
"It's a very friendly, very open, very supportive community. That was the main reason why I didn't want to stop playing once I got into it," she added.
There are seven players on each side during a game. Three 'chasers' play with a volleyball, and score through three hoops. They get 10 points for each score.
There are two 'beaters' who play with dodgeballs, they throw them at the chasers to stop them from scoring. There is also a keeper who protects the hoops.
The 'seeker' comes on in the 18th minute of the game and tries to catch the snitch.
The snitch, in the Harry Potter series, is a small gold ball with wings that flies erratically around the pitch and is notoriously difficult to catch.
Not surprisingly, this is difficult to re-create.
Therefore the snitch in "muggle quidditch" is a tennis ball in a sock, which is attached to the shorts of a neutral player who runs away from the seekers.
When the snitch is caught the game ends and the seeker who caught the snitch earns 30 points for their team.
The team will be fundraising so they can attend the European Quidditch Cup in Belgium, and will be holding a pub quiz in Karma, Wexford Street, on March 8 at 7.30pm.
Tickets can be found by going to their Facebook page or on https://harrypotterquiz.yapsody.com/event/book/62712/285987?ref=elink.
The Draioctha Dragons welcome people to join up, and have said they are "always recruiting".