The final representing weight of the year was next up with 11 teams taking part in the 640kg – Mountain View, Boley, The Shop, Ballinastoe, G&B, Glenhill, Ballinagh, Loughmore, the Mighty Oaks, GnaC and Slievenamon. The rain started along with the competition and continued throughout the day, making ground conditions difficult.
G&B topped the round robin, followed by Mountain View, The Shop and Ballinastoe. G&B were very strong all day and made the final after a straight end win over Ballinastoe. The other semi final was much closer and it took 3 ends to separate Mountain View and The Shop. Mountain View eventually progressed to the final after the Shop were blown out in the final end. The 3-ender took a heavy toll on The Shop who also lost out in the bronze decider. Ballinastoe had more energy left to win out in straight ends. The Wicklow team finish a fine season with 2 silver and 2 bronze Senior National medals to add to the bronze 680kg medal they won representing Ireland at the British & Irish Championship. A great return on the clubs first season out of the Novice division.
Mountain View went into their 3rd final out of the last 4 Nationals as the most successful club so far this year with 2 National Titles. But the reigning 640kg Champions have been dominant at this weight and proved too strong again, taking the Senior Gold for the 3rd year running, in straight ends. So it finishes with both finalists tied at the top of this years role of honour, with 2 National Titles a piece.
The day finished up with the 560kg Open where six teams competed – G&B, Mountain View, The Shop, Ballinastoe, Glenhill and the Mighty Oaks. Most teams competed with 7 men and the ground continued to deteriorate under heavy rain.
Its been an eventful Championship Series that was in stark contrast to the 2016 season. Last years Senior Division was utterly dominated by G&B, while Ballinastoe won every Novice title, bar the 560 which they had won the previous year. Loughmore took that lightest of weights in 2016. So all the Senior and Novice titles were won by only 3 clubs in 2016.
This season, no club in either division has managed to win more than two Nationals. We have had a 1st Senior win for The Shop which saw them promoted to the Senior ranks. In the Novice division there were first time wins for Castlegregory, the Mighty Oaks and GnaC. In all we have had 10 different winners across the two divisions.
Perhaps the biggest story to emerge this year has been the changing make up of the Senior clubs. With Lakehill not competing this season, G&B made 3 finals and Boley only made 2. This opened the door to other clubs like The Shop, Balinastoe and in particular, Mountain View, who took full advantage. It was a real break out year for Mountain View which saw them make as many finals and win as many titles as G&B to finish tied as the two most successful outdoor clubs in 2017. It was also a huge step up by Ballinastoe who are still a Division 2 team, but who made 2 senior finals and represented Ireland in the 2017 B&I’s.
Now that the domestic season has come to an end, there are only 2 more events left on the outdoor calendar. This weekend a panel of youth pullers will travel to Retie in northern Belgium, to take part in the GENSB tournament. Finally, the Outdoor European Championships take place in Southport, England between the 21-24th of September. We want to wish the best of look to all athletes travelling to both events.
Thanks to Pat Lee and Karen Hickey for the results and photos.
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