Paddlers complete challenge

The canoe marathon racing season resumed at the weekend, with the ranking race series moving to the River Corrib in Galway.

The canoe marathon racing season resumed at the weekend, with the ranking race series moving to the River Corrib in Galway.

The Thomastown Paddlers were represented by a group of eight competitors racing across the various divisions on Sunday. In what was a very competitive series of races, large numbers from all over the country attended.

Competing on the 18km course, Donnacha and Michael Brennan finished fifth and sixth in the Division One category, completing what was the most competitive race of the year so far in this division. Kieran Varley continued to make great gains in his season, finishing third in the Division Two race which was run on the same course.

The Division Four event, held on the 12km short course, had three entries from Thomastown. Dave McCormack had a very impressive race, finishing fourth in what was a hard-fought affair. Martin Walsh was close behind with a strong performance to take fifth place, while Alan Cullen rounded off the trio of Paddlers by coming home in sixth place.

The general purpose classes were also hotly contested. The highlight for Thomastown was Brendan Fitzpatrick’s win in the under-15 boys’ GP, a result which saw him wrap up the national ranking title in this division, having scored six wins overall. Alan Mahon raced in the men’s GP class, coming home fourth after a strong race.

The season turns towards downriver rough water races over the next few weeks, with the Lower Liffey race taking place next Sunday from Leixlip to Islandbridge in Dublin, in advance of the All-Ireland of marathon canoeing, the Liffey Descent on Saturday, September 28.

This is the highlight of the domestic season with paddlers from near and far competing on a 30 kilometre course on the River Liffey.

The international season is also approaching its peak. Local paddlers Cait and Alex Broderick will represent the club when they race in the junior divisions of the World Marathon Championships in Copenhagen.