More than 500 paddlers converged on Kilkenny for the Canoeing Ireland Club Championships at the weekend.
In an action-packed two-day event, individuals had the opportunity to compete in four disciplines of their choice. Each person who competed gained points for their respective clubs, with a national champion announced at the end.
The Thomastown Paddlers had a strong representation at the championships and went looking for a podium finish from the outset. Given the size of the fields it was a huge task but, rising to the occasion, the locals took on clubs from Dublin, Galway and Limerick and scored some fantastic results.
Leading the way was the club’s international Mickie Brennan, who won the senior men’s class in Wild Water, Sprint and Marathon Racing. Kieran Varley secured second place in the Masters section at all three of these events also.
Another big winner was Leaving Cert student and former Irish squad member Cáit Broderick, who took top honours in the women’s racing events.
On the junior scene Thomastown Paddlers had top three finishers in Eamon Forristal, Alan Cullen, Brendan Fitzpatrick and Senan Forristal. David McCormack, Donnacha Brennan and Alex Broderick also raced well throughout the weekend.
Despite dominating in many of the racing events, this was never going to be enough to break into the overall top three places, as the Paddlers entered many of the events a little out of their comfort zone. However, members still had fantastic fun dipping their paddles into new competitions and making new friends along the way.
The Thomastown Canoe Polo team battled hard and finished in sixth place overall, while David Comerford and Finbar O’Donovan competed in freestyle (almost a gymnastics on water event), canoe surf and canoe slalom.
Club numbers ultimately told as Thomastown Paddlers finished fourth place overall at the inaugural club championships. The event was a big hit, showcasing canoeing in Kilkenny and the South East.
Thanks went to Kilkenny Aqua Canoe Club, who hosted the majority of the events from their clubhouse near Greensbridge in Kilkenny, providing a base for the weekend’s activities.