The Ballinastoe club hosted their first national championship in the lovely hills of Wicklow in front of a large crowd. The clubs who attended were Ballinastoe, Boley, Boyneside, Burren, Castlegregory, Clonmines, Errill ladies, Glenhill, Gortletteragh Ballygar (G&B), Kiltevna, Killenaule, Lakehill, Loughmore, Shop and Rathdowney.
Seven teams competed in the 700kg senior competition. The teams who qualified for the semi finals were Boley, Clonmines, G&B & Lakehill. Boley faced Lakehill in the first semi final and it was the Mayo team who came out on top on this occasion progressing to the final in straight ends. G&B made it an all Connaught final as they defeated Clonmines in straight ends. This was a repeat of the final from 12 months and on this occasion G&B turned the tides with an impressive straight end victory to take the gold medal. Boley defeated Clonmines to win the bronze medal.
Boyneside and the Shop qualified for the Div 2 final. This was a close contest but it was the ever improving Shop team from Thurles guided by the legendary Anthony Pender who took the gold medal here with a straight end victory. Four teams competed in the novice 700kg event. Killenaule were hoping to build on the 720kg title they won in Clonakility and the Tipperary men went well on course to do that by qualifying for the final. There they were joined by Ballinastoe, the hosting club. The local lads were driven by their vocal home support but the lads from Killenaule were not to be denied as they went on to win their third novice title in a row after winning the 560kg in Tullow at the end of last year.
Eight teams took part in a very entertaining senior 580kg championship. The Burren and Glenhill faced each other in last season’s final and it was these two teams who set the pace on this occasion as well with the Clare lads finishing top of the round robin and their Cork rivals a close second. Boley and G&B joined them in the semi final. The first semi final between G&B and Glenhill was a great contest as the Connaught outfit went on to qualify for the final after two grueling ends. The other semi final between Boley and the Burren was a repeat of the 2013 final in Geevagh and it was the determined Burren team who won revenge with a straight end victory.
This left a final showdown between G&B and the Burren. The effects of a long days pulling in two competitions was beginning to show on the Connaught team as the determined outfit from the Burren took the first end. The Clare men were not to be denied their victory as they went one better than last year to take the title and there were joyous scenes as the whistle blew as Gus O Loughlin and his men jumped for joy having won their first ever national senior title. Boley defeated Glenhill to win the bronze medal. Thurles rivals the Shop and Killenaule qualified for the 580kg Div 2 final. The Shop rounded off a great day for their club to win their second title of the day with a straight end victory.
The four teams who competed in the ladies 405kg and 435kg leagues were Ballinastoe, Errill ladies, Kiltevna and Rathdowney. There was some good pulling in the ladies events particularly between old rivals Ballinastoe & Kiltevna. It was the Galway ladies who were strongest in both events as the local women had to settle for second place and 6 points in the each. Rathdowney finished in third position in both competitions and Errill ladies get the 3 points.
See full results on our Results page.
See ladies leagues after round one on our League Tables page.
Click here to see photos from Ballinastoe. Thanks to our photographer, Pat Lee, for providing the photos.