Kilkenny’s international paddlers and polo champs

IT WAS another busy week on the international scene as Michael Brennan and Anthony Forristal, two members of the Thomastown Paddlers Canoe Club, flew the flag for club and country. Brennan was competing at the International Canoe Federation recognised French Wild Water National Championships, which were held in the La Plagne region of France.

IT WAS another busy week on the international scene as Michael Brennan and Anthony Forristal, two members of the Thomastown Paddlers Canoe Club, flew the flag for club and country. Brennan was competing at the International Canoe Federation recognised French Wild Water National Championships, which were held in the La Plagne region of France.

This event was run on the course for the 2012 Wild Water World Championships so it provided a perfect opportunity to practice for next year’s event under race conditions.

Twenty countries were represented. Wild water racing involves the paddlers using very light carbonfibre kayaks designed for the extreme rough water that these races are held on.

Brennan competed in two events, a 1km sprint and a classic race over about 5km. He raced extremely well and was satisfied to finish in the middle of the field in both in what were extremely competitive conditions. Finished with international competition for 2011, after a short break Brennan will begin a Winter training programme.

Forristal was racing in Spain at the Valladolid Grand Prix. He was part of an Irish junior development squad which was selected and funded by the Irish sprint committee.

Two Irish teams were sent, an under-23 squad and Forristal’s under-18 squad. The under-18 squad were competing in a K4, a four-man flat water racing kayak.

There were two events planned for the weekend, both 5km races.

On Saturday the boys competed in the international division. The Irish crew beat all juniors present. Sunday’s event was organised to take place on a lake in the local mountains but extreme winds forced the organisers to cancel the event.

Next up for Forristal is the European Marathon Championships, which will be held this weekend. The competition will bring a busy international year to a close for the St Kieran’s College student.

On the domestic scene, the Thomastown Paddlers are gearing up to host their own race, which will be held between Thomastown and Inistioge on August 7.

It was a busy weekend on the water also for members of the Kilkenny Aqua Canoe Club. They had four teams in the Kilcock Canoe Polo competition. The two adult teams competed in Division 2 and 3 on Saturday and Sunday, while the under-10 and 14 sides were in action on Sunday.

The under-10 team of Evin McClure, Ruth Cassin, Isobel Bourke and Leah Treacy won all their games and finished in first place in what was their first competition as a team. The under-14 team (Alex McClure, Sam Smyth, John Treacy, Brianna Mallon, Alex Johnson, Lucy Mason and Louie Bourke) came third.

The adult Division Three team of Clodagh Cassin, Conor Lowe, Dylan Purcell, Freddie Dyer, Martin Mulhall and Matthew Cassin came second in their event while the Division Two team, made up of Roger McClure, Matthew Cassin, Billy Brett, David McClure and Ciaran Martin, came third.

The club will be back in action this weekend, as teams have been entered in the National Club Championships, which will be held in Clondra, Co Longford.