STRONG WINDS and cold conditions did not deter the group of nine Thomastown Paddlers who travelled to Celbridge, Co Kildare for the third marathon canoeing race of the season.
The race was held on the Grand Canal, with three courses contested over distances of 2km, 10km and 20 km.
The 20km long course had three competitors from Thomastown, who tackled a course made more difficult by four portages, where competitors had to carry their boats around lock gates. Anthony Forristal finished sixth in Division One. In the second division, brother and sister Alex and Cait Broderick made their debut in the first of a series of selection races for a position on the Irish team this year. Alex and Cait both paddled great races, finishing in fourth and fifth position respectively, getting their selection campaigns off to a great start.
Despite the challenging conditions, both posted very impressive times for their first competition over this race distance.
On the 10km course Michael Brennan and Kieran Varley teamed up in the K2 division. They had a great race in a very competitive division, coming home with the silver medals. Dave McCormack, paddling in Division Four, also finished among the medals when he completed a fantastic race by coming home third. Eamon Forristal also competed in this division, finishing eighth. The men’s General Purpose class was won by Dermot Forristal, despite a competitive field.
The 2km novice course was aimed at promoting the sport in younger paddlers. Senan Forristal had a great race here, finishing fourth.
Other members of the club were in action at a junior race in Maynooth. In the under-15 K1 class Eamon Forristal finished a credited sixth despite a capsize, while Conor Donoghue and Senan Forristal showed real class when finishing fourth and fifth respectively in the 2km novice course.
The next competitive action for the Paddlers will be the Junior Liffey Descent on May 26, when the club will be fighting for honours among the best junior racers in Ireland. The race, which is 8km long, has a course which will take kayakers over six big weirs from start to finish.
On the home front, the club will be running a series of beginner courses during the Summer. Further information is available from www.thomastownpaddlers.com or 086-3391549.