The final round of the national outdoor championships took place yesterday in Tullow, Co Carlow. There were five national title up for grabs and 14 clubs competed for the medals.
The teams who took part were Killylough, Bremore, Lakehill, Carbery, Grove, Donoughmore, Fairywater, Slaneysiders, St. Pats, Harps, Ballyhooley, Urnaidhe, Boyneside and Lavalley. 11 teams took part in the senior 560kg which was run in two groups of 5 and 6. Reigning 560kg European champions Killylough and Bremore qualified from group 1 with Carbery from Cork just missing out in third place. Lakehill topped group 2 and were joined in the semi finals by Donoughmore from Cork who finished second. The first end of the first semi final was a close battle between Killylough and Lakehill with Killylough eventually breaking down the heavy attacks from the Mayo team to take the end in just under five minutes. They also won the second end to qualify for the final, their second final of the season. Bremore enjoyed a comfortable straight end victory over Donoughmore to join Killylough in the final. Lakehill pulled very well in the third place pull-off defeating Donoughmore in straight ends to win the bronze medals, their fifth medal from five championships.
The final between Killylough and Bremore was an excellent contest and a fine display of world class Tug of War. Both teams piled on the pressure from the drop and there was very little movement in the rope after four minutes, Killylough however were a little stronger and just managed to work the rope over the line in just under six minutes. The second end was a similar story after four minutes when Killylough went on the attack and won two foot of rope. Bremore responded well to pull the rope back to the centre mark but Killylough just had enough to finish off the Dublin team in a time of around seven minutes to win the gold medals, their second national title of the season.
Fairywater from Co. Tyrone and Slaneysiders from the Carlow-Wexford border area were the teams who qualified for the division two final. The south-east team were hoping to go one better on last weekend when they finished runners-up at 640kg. However it was Fariywater who produced a fine display to win the gold medals by two ends to nil, their third national division two title of the season.
The newly affiliated Urnaidhe club from Nurney in Co. Carlow made their national debut in the novice 680kg competition.
There was intense competition for the final positions in this event. It was Lavalley from Co. Mayo and Harps from Co. Cork who made the grade to qualify for the final. Harps were hoping to go one better on last weekend when they finished runners-up in the novice 600kg competition. However it was Lavalley who had previously won the novice catchweight earlier in the season who proved too strong for the Cork team winning the gold medals with a straight end victory.
St. Pats from Co. Louth and host club Tara Arms from Tullow contested the final of the youth 560kg. This proved to be a real battle with both teams putting everything into the contest. However is was St. Pats who had a slight edge on the Tullow team and went on to win the gold medals.
St Pats and Tara Arms also contested the final of the under 23 600kg competition. This proved to be a very exciting contest which needed a third end to decide the title. It was Tara Arms who had the upper hand on this occasion winning the gold medals much to the delight of the cheering home support.
For full results from yesterdays national championship in Tullow check out our results page.
Click here to see photographs from yesterdays national championships in Tullow (note: there are two pages of photos)