THE River Nore was awash with canoeists as competitors from all over Ireland tackled the Thomastown Paddlers’ annual race on Sunday.
More than 120 canoeists from around the country contributed to an exciting day of racing, with great results from many local paddlers, across the 23km long course from Bennettsbridge to Inistioge, and the 11km short course from Thomastown to Inistioge.
On the long course Michael Brennan had a fantastic day on the water, winning the Division One race in fine style. Brennan dominated the race, crossing the line with over two minutes’ advantage over his nearest competitor. Fellow Paddler Tony Forristal also raced in this division, finishing fourth.
The short course had the majority of racers, with the highlight being an impressive win by Cait Broderick in Division Four. Cait has performed excellently all season, earning her place on the Irish national team which will compete at the World Marathon Championships in Rome next month.
Cait, who still has another year’s racing at junior level, continued her fine form with over a minute’s advantage in Division Four over the next competitor. Dave McCormack took silver in this division, with other fine performances also from Eamon Forristal (9), Richie Kelly (10), Troy Walsh (13) and Martin Walsh (14). In Division Three Kieran Varley recovered from an unfortunate capsize to finish third.
Thomastown also had good performances in the General Purpose (GP) classes on Sunday. Although raced in slower boats the classes are just as competitive, the highlight being Jackie Walsh’s third place finish in the women’s class.
In the men’s division Alan Mahon and Finbar O’Donovan had impressive results, finishing in seventh and 10th places respectively. In the under-18 division Kevin Roche, George Stallard and R.J. Jamandre finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, while Jonah Anderson was fifth and Brendan Fitzpatrick sixth at under-16 level.
In the T2 class, the two-person equivalent of the GP, Thomastown’s Alan Cullen and James Staunton teamed up to take seventh place in a very competitive class. In the Open Canadian class Ray Hughes and Robin Kiely emerged from a packed division to finish sixth.
Younger paddlers were also catered for, with a novice race on the Nore. The 2km course in Inistioge, run over four laps of a 500m circuit, proved a popular event. Thomastown’s Senan Forristal finished seventh with Isabelle Ryan coming home ninth in what was a very competitive class.
The Paddlers will switch rivers when they tackle the annual Lower Liffey Descent on Saturday. Running from Leixlip to Islandbridge in Dublin and featuring six weirs, this will be one of the toughest races of the year.