We would like to extend sincere condolences to the family of the late Sean Kilbride of Granard, Co. Longford who passed away recently after a long illness. Special condolences to his brother Seamus (Leinster chairman) and nephew Tom who pulled on the gold medal winning Ireland 680kg team in Minehead. Many thanks to our TWIF & English colleagues who marked Sean’s passing with a minutes silence on the morning of the final day of competition in Minehead. Sean was an active puller right up to his illness and has represented Ireland at both indoor and outdoor on many occasions. Go ndeanaigh Dia trocaire ar a anam.
Click here to see the full results book.
Click here to see photos from the championships (Note: there are 5 pages of photos).
Click here to see videos from finals and bronze medal pull-offs during the championship.
Click here to see an article from the Farmers Journal Country Living magazine during the championships in Minehead.
Click here to see a visual/audio slideshow. Great pic of Grainne toward the end, she certainly left all her efforts on the pitch!
The Ireland ladies 520kg team were the highlight to a rather disappointing day for the Irish panel as the European championships drew to a close today. The management were forced to make a change due to a last minute injury but nonetheless they performed very well. The first pull of the day on top of the ground against England was a great contest as the Irish struggled to cope with the hard ground, they put up a great fight but just lost out.
The second pull against Wales was a great performance as the Irish ladies powered them out in straight ends much to the joy of their huge Irish support. They also pulled well against the big teams and finished off the competition by taking a grueling end against Belgium in just over three minutes. Well done to all the ladies who competed in these championships. 7 teams competed in the men’s 720kg competition in the morning as Ireland fielded a light team and struggled to cope with the big teams. They took one end from Switzerland but this was not enough to make the semi finals as they lost out on cautions with both teams locked on 7 points each. Netherlands defeated Sweden in the final of this competition. 11 teams competed in a very tough men’s 640kg competition in the evening. Ireland pulled well but struggled against the top teams. They won a hard fought 3 points from Germany and 1 point from Sweden which left them within touching distance of a semi final place. The Irish went in to the last pull of the day thinking that they needed one point from England but were actually ahead of Sweden on cautions. They ended up picking up 5 cautions in this grueling defeat which meant that Sweden sneaked the semi final position resulting in bitter disappointment for the Irish. Switzerland won the gold medal defeating Netherlands in the final.
Click here to see the full results book from Minehead.
Nine team took part in the men’s 680kg championship this morning as the European closed championship kicked off. Ireland pulled well in this competition but were made to work hard against many of the teams. The Irish lost one end to Netherlands and an end to Sweden in finishing second place. In the semi finals they faced the Netherlands in a grueling contest. Ireland lost a meter of rope in the first end but defended very well to break down the Dutch and go on to take the pull. The second end was also hard fought and the lads showed sheer determination to finish off the Dutch team in a real battle. In the final, Ireland faced a Swedish team who had not really been tested all day. There was a great atmosphere in the stadium and a huge Irish support. The power of the Swedish team could not be stopped in the first end as they went on to win the pull. The Irish defending tactics kicked in in the second end as they wore down the fierce Swedish power as a number of their pullers began to crack and pick up cautions for propping and locking. They were eventually disqualified to a huge cheer from the crowd. The winning of the toss raised another great cheer as the Irish won choice of ground. The same tactics also worked in the deciding end as great defending and good refereeing saw Sweden pick up another three cautions as the crafty Irish team retained the 680kg title they won in Holland two years ago. The winning Irish team was Eugene Neary, Joey Kehoe, Gerard Ferguson, Connell Ward, Tom Kilbride, Robert Kehoe, James Kehoe, Sean Roberts & Laurence Kehoe.
The Irish ladies team made their long anticipated return to International action in the 560kg competition in the afternoon. The girls pulled a good rope and defended well putting up a great fight against all the top teams. They pulled very well against Belgium in the penultimate contest winning in straight ends encouraged by their huge support. The last pull against Wales was a tough contest as the Irish pulled well and showed great determination to bring the resilient Welsh team across the line. They also fought hard in the second but the Welsh ensured the spoils were shared. Nonetheless it was a good performance by the girls on their International debut picking up 4 points. Sweden won the gold medal defeating the Netherlands in the final. The men’s 560kg team also pulled well to qualify for the semi finals along with England, Switzerland and Sweden. England, represented by Norton were very strong and easily overcame the Irish in the first end of the semi final. Ireland performed better in the second end but it was the English who progressed. This left Ireland in a bronze pull-off for third place against Switzerland. The first end was a good struggle as Ireland won rope but didn’t have the power to take a step after the heave as the Swiss defended well. The Swiss went on to win the end and also added the second end to win the bronze medal. England were very impressive defeating Sweden in straights ends to win gold.
The five Irish teams who took part in the 640kg competition were Boley, Lakehill, Glenhill, Gortletteragh & Donoughmore. The two Cork teams pulled extremely well just missing out on qualification finishing third in their groups. Gortletteragh were drawn in a group of death which included Engelberg & Eibergen and failed to qualify.
Lakehill pulled very well to top their group and were drawn against Valleitrekkers from Holland. This was a grueling contest as the Mayo team lost the first end but pulled very well to bring the contest to a deciding end. Unfortunately they lost the toss for choice of ends and bowed out of the competition. Boley also topped their group and progressed to the semi finals with wins over Oxney & Gaztedi. However, they were stopped in their tracks but the impressive Engelberg team in the semi final. This left them in a bronze pull-off against Valleitrekkers which they managed to win to pick up the bronze. Engelberg defeated Eibergen to win a very exciting final, their second title of the championship. Lakehill & Gortletteragh also entered the men’s 720kg in the morning. Lakehill were unlucky to miss out on qualification to the semi final loosing out to PTC from South Africa on cautions. Gortletteragh topped their group and went on to face PTC in the semi final. They won the first end but a number of cracks began to appear resulting in them loosing the contest 2-1. This left them in a bronze pull-off against Koapman from Holland. The Dutch team won the contest in straight ends but well done to the Leitrim team on an impressive 4th place finish. Thatch Bar made their debut at International level in the ladies 520kg and pulled very well in their first international competition. The girls from Ballygar put it up to all the teams and won a lot of ends along the way. The closed competitions begin tomorrow and Ireland will be competing in the men’s 680kg (morning) & 560kg as well as the ladies 560kg (evening).
In a cruel twist of fate arch rivals Boley & Lakehill were drawn in the same group in the 680kg competition and faced each other in the first pull of the day, a repeat of the final from two years ago. This was a grueling contest with Lakehill winning rope in both ends but Boley doing enough to take the points.
Lakehill also dropped an end to Veenseboys which meant that they missed out on qualification with 16 points with Boley and Veenseboys on 17 points each. Boley, who never really recovered after their battle with Lakehill lost 2 straight to Vorden from Holland in the quarter finals. Gortletteragh pulled well to qualify for the last 8 but were unlucky to be drawn against Engelberg. Engelberg went on to win the gold medal defeating Felton Eccles in the final. Vorden won bronze. Killylough pulled well in the 560kg competition but were unlucky to finish level with Veenseboys in 2nd place on 13 points and just missed out on qualification on cautions. Glenhill pulled very well in the 560kg also getting 3rd place in their group. Gaztedi went on to win the 560kg. The Irish ladies clubs, Connemara & Boyneside made their debuts at international level and pulled well against all the teams. They both picked up a respectable 4 points each and will have gained a lot of experience from it. The very impressive Chinese Taipei team won the ladies competition. In the evening, Mountain View entered a team in the mixed 4×4 600kg championship, this was the first time for TWIF to run this competition at a major international event. The impressive Wallby from Sweden topped Mountain View’s group and went on to win the competition. The Irish team pulled well finishing joint third in their group with 10 points.