Paddlers produce Royal performances

THE canoe marathon series moved on to the Royal Canal near Celbridge on Sunday. A large group from the Thomastown Paddlers club travelled to the event, the third stage of the 12-race series, with a number taking on Ireland’s best in the 20km race.

THE canoe marathon series moved on to the Royal Canal near Celbridge on Sunday. A large group from the Thomastown Paddlers club travelled to the event, the third stage of the 12-race series, with a number taking on Ireland’s best in the 20km race.

Brothers Michael and Donnacha Brennan took the start line for the Division One racing singles event. After his recent success abroad at the British Wild Water Championships, Michael was in contention right up to the half way point, but difficulties with his kayak brought an early end to his race. Donnacha finished the race in the second bunch of four racers to claim sixth position.

It was also a family affair in Division Two, where brother and sister Alex and Cáit Broderick were in the mix. In a race which doubled as a selection event for Irish team qualification, both knew they had to do their all to try and achieve the standard.

Alex was the fourth junior boy home, a result which leaves him in a good position to fight for a place on the Irish squad at the next selection marathon in Carrick-on-Shannon in June. Cáit looks certain to secure a place on the junior women’s team as she was the first female to finish the gruelling 20km circuit on Sunday. Both will be hoping to feature at the World Marathon Championships, which will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark this September.

Sunday’s marathon was an ideal race for those new to canoeing/kayaking as the calm waters of the Royal Canal proved an ideal place to hone racing skills. With races catering for all levels of kayakers, the 10km course was ideal for those moving through the ranks. There was also a 2km course for under-12 canoeists.

In Division Three Kieran Varley was in fine form in the 10km Division Three race, claiming second place. David MacCormack continued his fine form of late to finish a confident third in the Division Four race, while Eamon Forristal, Alan Cullen and R.J. Jamandre also competed in this field.

In the General Purpose (GP) classes Brendan Fitzpatrick made it three wins in as many races in the junior class, while Kevin Roche finished third. In the men’s classes Dermot Forristal and Alan Mahon competed strongly while Isabelle Varley had a wonderful day on Sunday, paddling a fantastic race in the under-12 novice event.

The Thomastown Paddlers have some places available on their Kids/Teens Summer Camp in July. Booking details are available from www.thomastownpaddlers.com