The river levels may have been low, but the challenge was high as the Thomastown Paddlers held their annual ranking race on the Nore at the weekend.
More than 80 competitors representing nine different clubs from across the country travelled to Thomastown for Sunday’s event, the fourth race of this year’s 2022 Marathon Ranking Series.
The Division One and Division Two long course, which started above Bennettsbridge Weir, ran 23km downstream to Inistioge. All other divisions ran the shorter 11km course from Thomastown to Inistioge, with low river levels and wavy rapids adding to the challenge of the race.
The atmosphere on Sunday did not disappoint with Brownsbarn Bridge once again lined with encouraging supporters before the final stretch of river to a packed finish line at Inistioge.
The club had a very successful day out with many notable performances and medals taken home in most categories.
Senan Forristal powered down the 23km long course to take first place in Division One. Donnacha Brennan was in close pursuit with an impressive race, taking gold in Division Two with Cathal Treacy finishing sixth.
Tadgh Ryan had a good performance in a strong Division Four class, finishing sixth.
Mother and son duo Mary and Adam Pender paddled well in the K2 category. They finished 11th in what was Mary’s first ever kayaking race.
Stalwart Dermot Forristal took gold in Division Five with a strong ‘home race’ performance. Joanne followed closely behind, taking second place in the Division Five women’s category.
The club’s junior contingent has gone from strength to strength. From the recent buzz of competing in the Junior Liffey and the weeknight summer sessions on the Nore, all had a successful day on Sunday.
Xavier Blanche returned to form with a gold performance in Division Six, holding the lead down the 11km course. TJ Brennan also had a good race. Finishing a respectable fourth, he narrowly missed out on the medals.
Odhran Murphy, John Walpole and Matthew Stephenson all had good performances in Division Seven. Murphy had a great second place result with Walpole and Stephenson close behind, finishing fourth and sixth respectively.
Thomastown girls Millie Brennan and Mary Kate Ryan also had a great day on the river, Millie taking a gold, following on from recent success at the Junior Liffey, and Mary Kate taking home the bronze medal in Division Seven Women’s category.
After what was a very enjoyable day for competitors and supporters alike, the club thanked all who helped in organising the event. The focus now switches to the Belturbet Marathon Ranking Race on Sunday, July 3.
For more information on the Thomastown Paddlers visit www.thomastownpaddlers.com.
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