At last year’s Cork Summer Show there was persistent rain throughout the day and G&B added yet another Senior title to their tally.
It was all change at Day 2 of the 2017 National Outdoor Series at this years Cork Summer Show, with clear blue skies and 26 degree temperatures. G&B, last year’s champions in both of the days weights, were missing and in their absence Glenhill took their second ever Senior title in the 560kg. The 700kg competition was turned on its head at the semi final stage and Mountain View went on to also win a 2nd ever Senior Title for their club.
After the first 4 National Championship events, we have 4 different winners in the Senior division. Last year it looked like G&B were set to take up the mantel from Boley and Lakehill and dominate the Senior Division for the foreseeable future. Instead we have the most open National Series in many years.
For the second week running, the entire event ran very smoothly and was finished for 4pm. Huge credit for this must go to all the judges, scorekeepers and officials involved for implementing the new individual weigh-in as well as keeping on top of teams to make sure they came to the rope when called, to keep things moving. Also to Chief Judge Pat Lee and Dan McCarthy, who insured that closing times for weigh-in and checking of ID cards was fully enforced and that the competition weight was strictly adhered to with no allowance to any team arriving late or over the weight. And lastly to all the clubs involved in what were challenging conditions, given the heat on the day. We hope that with the continued cooperation of all clubs with weigh-in times and competition weights we will be able to make sure all remaining events run as well.
First up was the representing 560kg competition. The 4 teams who took part were Loughmore, Glenhill, The Shop and Donoughmore. This was less than half the clubs in attendance but the 560kg is a difficult weight to make, especially for teams also pulling in the heavyweight 700kg. Given the warm weather, some teams might have been reluctant to enter a 7-a-side team and instead saved their pullers for the days 2nd weight. Glenhill were strong in the round robin, topping the group having dropped only 1 end to The Shop. Donoughmore finished 2nd on 6 points and The Shop came 3rd on 4 points. There was very little between those 3 teams in last weeks 580kg National and so it proved again. In the semi finals Glenhill proved far too strong for Loughmore, winning in straight ends. There was to be no 2nd lightweight title for The Shop, as they lost to Donoughmore in straight ends in the other semi final.
Loughmore put up a good fight in the bronze pull, but ultimetly lost out in straight ends to the newly promoted Shop team who made a medal winning start to life in the senior ranks.
Both Glenhill and Donoughmore went into the final looking to put past disappointments to rest. Donoughmore lost out to G&B in the final of last years 560kg and Glenhill suffered a loss to The Shop in last weeks 580kg final. The ground was dry and difficult to cut, with a slight advantage to one end. In the 1st end Glenhill had the fall and dropped in hard to power through and take it in 1 minute 17. Donoughmore fought back to tie it up and took the 2nd end in 1 minute 25. Glenhill won the toss for the deciding 3rd end and with the fall of ground they once again hit with a great drop to take Donoughmore back 2 metres. However Donoughmore again fought back to first bring the rope back to centre and then bring Glenhill back 2 metres. Glenhill managed to halt the momentum and in the process both teams racked up 2 cautions. The energy sapping heat took its toll and the pull was blown up for both teams infringing. In the 4th and final pull it was Glenhill who had enough energy left to capitalise on yet another good drop and power an exhausted Donoughmore across the line. It was a great win for Glenhill who will now represent Ireland for the 1st time after their 1st Senior title since they were promoted in 2014.
In the days second event, the 720kg, 9 teams entered. They were Loughmore, Glenhill, The Shop, Donoughmore, Boley, Mountain View, Ballinastoe, The Mighty Oaks and Slievnamon. With G&B absent, Boley, runners-up in last years 700kg, went in as strong favourites and most people in the arena were anticipating a final of Boley vs The Shop. As the round robin progressed things looked to be going to form with Boley topping the group on a maximum 24 points. The Shop followed in 2nd on 20 points with Mountain View 3rd on 17 points and Ballinastoe 4th on 16. Both Ballinastoe and Mountain View followed on from last week to again turn down the Division 2 final in favour of entering the Senior semi finals.
In the Semi Finals, 1st placed Boley took on 4th placed Ballinastoe. An unlikely upset looked possible when Ballinastoe won the toss and with the fall of ground won the 1st end with a powerful performance. Ballinastoe went on to stun the arena by also taking the 2nd end and consign Boley to a 3rd place pull off while making a 1st Senior final for a club pulling Novice only last year. In the second Semi Final, The Shop were looking to make their 2nd final in as many weeks but Mountain View threw the form book out the window with a straight end victory that meant none of the 3 Senior teams who competed in the competition would take part in the final. A stunning display by Mountain View and Ballinastoe.
In the Bronze pull, Boley had recovered from their shock semi final loss and were far too strong, making sure they went home with some silverware with two quick straight end wins over The Shop.
The first end of the final was a fairly even contest, with Ballinastoe having won the toss pulling with the fall and putting up a tough fight. However the more experienced Mountain View team wore them down to take the end in a time of 2 minutes 30 and with their resistance broken, went on to defeat Ballinastoe in the second end in 41 seconds. It was a fantastic achievement for Mountain View, a mainly Indoor club, who won their only other Senior Outdoor title back in 2011. It was an even bigger achievement for the mostly former Killoughey men who made up the team, for whom it was a 1st ever Senior title, having spent the last number of years at Division 2 before merging the club with Mountain View. Mountain View now follow in the footsteps of The Shop who were last weekend promoted to Senior, which means we have 2 new Senior teams in the 1st 2 rounds of the National Outdoor Series.
The Novice final was contested by Loughmore and the Mighty Oaks. Loughmore were coming in on the back of taking Gold in last weeks 580kg event to add to the 560kg National they won in 2016. The Mighty Oaks were making their 2nd straight final after losing out to Castlegregory in the 720kg National. Both teams put in a good performance, especially considering the draining heat over the course of a long round robin group. The Mighty Oaks came out on top in 2 straight ends to win their first Novice title on their debut season and put the disappointment of the 720kg firmly behind them.