G&B continued on from last years historic clean sweep of outdoor National titles when they took Gold in last Sunday’s 720kg National. But their unbeaten run came to an end in the days 2nd event, the 580kg competition, when The Shop won their 1st Senior National title to earn their place as the newest senior club in the country.
Ten clubs competed on the day – The Mighty Oaks, Loughmore, Castlegregory, G&B, Ballinastoe, Boley, Donoughmore, Glenhill, The Shop and Mountain View. This was the 1st event where the new individual weigh-in system was in operation. We would like to thank all clubs for their cooperation in helping this run smoothly while everyone gets used to the new system. Closing times for weigh-in and checking of ID cards was strictly enforced with the result that the 1st event started on schedule and the entire competition was finished by 5pm, despite their being 2 8-a-side events being ran back to back. As this is the format for all Outdoor National Championship days this year, we need the continued cooperation of all clubs with weigh-in times, to make sure all events run without delay.
In the days main event, the representing 720kg, 8 teams took part in one round robin group. Boley continued their rapid improvement in form from the National League to top the group with 20 points, after losing only 1 end to G&B. The gap between G&B and the chasing pack has narrowed from last year, with the reigning champions being held to 2nd place in the group, having lost to Boley and losing ends to Mountain View and Castlegregory. Ballinastoe finished 3rd in the group and Mountain View rounded out the semi final draw by finishing 4th. Both Ballinastoe and Mountain View opted out of the Division 2 final so that they could compete in the senior event.
Boley and G&B progressed to the final after straight end victories over Mountain View and Ballinastoe in the semi’s. The final was a contest between the reigning champions of 2016 versus the 2015 champions and both teams dropped in for a long 1st end that lasted 8 minutes 15 seconds. Having lost when the 2 sides met in the round robin, G&B showed fierce determination to come out on top. They took the 2nd end in a much quicker time of 2 minutes 18 to retain their 720kg Senior title and extend their phenomenal run of unbroken National Championship victories to 8.
Castlegregory went into the Novice final looking for their 1st national title, after finishing 5th in the round robin. They met the Mighty Oaks who were taking part in their 1st National final on theirdebut season out. It was the more experienced Kerry team who came out on top with a straight end victory to take their 1st National Novice Championship and start their season in the best possible fashion.
In the days 2nd event, the 580kg Championship, 7 teams took part, again in one round robin group. This group was hugely competitive with 3 teams at the top all finishing on 15 points and separated only by their weights to determine the order in which they would come off the rope. It was Glenhill who came off top, followed by Donoughmore in 2nd and the Shop in 3rd. G&B finished 4th on 9 points to make it into the semi finals.
In the first semi final Glenhill defeated G&B in straight ends to ensure G&B’s long unbeaten run in National Championships would carry on no further and would finish at 8. The Shop reversed their loss to Donoughmore in the round robin to progress to the final on the back of a straight end victory.
Glenhill went into the final looking to win their 2nd Senior title and 1st since being promoted to a senior club outright. It was not to be though, as the shop repeated their group stage straight end victory over Glenhill to clinch the title. This was a very significant win as it is the 1st senior title for the club and now sees them promoted to an outright senior club. The Shop are also the 1st club other than G&B to win any Senior National since August 2015, such has been G&B’s dominance of the Senior division.
In the Bronze medal pull, Donoughmore capped off a strong showing throughout the event to defeat G&B in straight ends and go home with the medals. With a top 3 of The Shop, Glenhill and Donoughmore and no Boley or Lakehill teams taking part, there was a since of a changing of the guard in the lighter weights. It remains to be seen if this holds true in next Sundays 560kg National.
Loughmore won Gold in the Novice division after Castlegregory withdrew through injury during the event having lost in straight ends to Loughmore earlier in the group stage.
Thanks to Pat Lee and Karen Hickey for the scores and photos.