CÁIT Broderick represented club and country with distinction when she competed at one of the world’s most prestigious marathon canoeing races at the weekend.
Broderick, a member of the Thomastown Paddlers, travelled to Amsterdam for the Waterlands Marathon.
The race, run over a 23km course with two portages (sections where competitors get out and run with the boat), is frequently won by the reigning world champion. As part of the International Canoe Federations Classic Marathon series, it attracts top competition from around the world.
One of four Irish competitors, Cáit performed strongly throughout the race. Excellent tactics and portaging saw the Kilkenny girl move up through the field, eventually finishing in third place in the junior women’s class, mere seconds from a silver medal finish.
In a race which was of a very high standard, Cáit’s time was extremely fast relative to the other classes. Had she been racing against the senior women, she would have finished fourth.
A good weekend got even better for Cáit when the Irish team took in the Brigg marathon in England on their trip home from the Netherlands.
The Irish team stuck together throughout the race, which was held near Hull, with Cáit eventually winning her class by a huge margin. The results were a big boost for Cáit, who will be aiming to make the Irish team when competing in the first selection race of the season in Celbridge in May.
There was more racing closer to home over the weekend as the second ranking race of the season was held on the River Nore. Fine weather and good water conditions led to a large turnout from Thomastown for the race.
The result of the day came from Michael Brennan, who won the top class division by a large margin. Brennan’s focus is currently on the world wildwater racing championships and world cup events in June, where he will seek to improve on last year’s top 30 finish. Donnacha Brennan also had a strong race on Sunday, leading the rest of the pack for much of the race before eventually finishing fourth.
Kieran Varley continued his impressive start to the season with a second place finish in Division Three, while Dave McCormack had a strong race to take gold in Division Four. Alan Cullen had a very strong race to finish fifth in this class. There were good performances also from R.J. Jamandre, James Staunton and Richie Kelly, who overcame difficulties at Bennettsbridge weir to finish strongly.
Thomastown were also strongly represented in the K2 class. Eamon Forristal and Alex Broderick had a great race to take bronze, with Martin Walsh and Jim Ryan performing well further back in the field.
Dermot Forristal was fourth in the general purpose class, with Finbar O’Donovan, Alan Mahon and Dave Comerford also competing. Brendan Fitzpatrick continued his great recent results with another win in the under-15 general purpose class.
Next up on the racing scene is a junior series race in Celbridge on Saturday. The Paddlers will also hold a series of beginners courses across the Summer. Further details are available from thomastownpaddlers.com