A triumph for tradition
Dodgy weather forecasts throughout the week might have given the organiser of Ventry Regatta the jitters, but by Sunday the breeze abated, and the sun shone on the activities on land and sea that make Regatta Ceann Trá a very special event.
In ideal weather for naomhóg racing, oarsmen and women from Maharees, Brandon, Cork and Dingle gathered at Ventry pier to compete for the honours on the day. All-Ireland champions from Dingle and the Maharees were not seriously tested in the main women's and men's races, but competition in the under-age races was fierce. Over 30 boys and girls made up the eight crews in the under-12 race and, while inexperience hampered the efforts of some, the crew from Brandon demonstrated that 'you can't beat breeding' as they rowed a steady course to victory. The enduring passion for naomhóg racing 'Below the Hill' was further confirmed by Brandon's victory in the under-14 race, while the Maharees took the under-16 and under 18-titles.
Meanwhile on the beach, construction of sandcastles and sea creatures was underway, facilitated by a low tide that afforded plenty of space for artistic expression. Judges Caroline O'Connor and Jackie Gowran were awestruck by the talent and were hard pressed to select a winner.
With buckets and spades set aside, it was on to the family sports where medals were awarded to the fleetest in running and sack races. Competitions starting with "daoine nach raibh ar scoil fós" were rounded off with high-speed dashes by grown men and women, and then, of course, there was the Cic Fada competition that offered prizes of footballs to those best able to kick them.
Following on from the beach sports, an Irish dancing feis was held on the village green with the championship fé-hocht won by Cait Ní Bhric, and the Championship ós cionn hocht won by Sinead Ní Rírinn.
As the breeze picked up, and with all the boats safely on land, coats and hats were the order of the evening when rain showers threatened to interrupt the horseshoe-throwing competition. The first round produced some high scores, but accuracy waned a little in the semi final and final with some competitors blaming the cold. With the light fading, the final between Séamus Ó Lúing and multiple former winner Seán Ó Lúbhaing was a tense affair, with Séamus crowned champion by a single point.
Ras mór na bhFear: 1, Maharees (John Joe Hussey, Vincent Hussey, Colm O'Connor, Alan O'Leary); 2, Dingle/Maharees (Davin Ó Loinsigh, Niall Ó Flannúra, Jackie Goodwin., William Goodwin); 3, Naomhóg Chorcaí (Danny Scanlon, Alan Murphy, John Mitchell, Dobz O'Brien).
Rás Mór na mBan: 1, Dingle (Monza Heidtke, Ellen Dunleavy, Elaine Waters, Gillian O'Brien); 2, An Cám (Breda Quirke, Eileen Quirke, Ailish Deane, Siobhan Goodwin); 3, Lillian Broderick, Miriam Winter, Catherine Fitzgerald, Collette O'Leary
Rás fé-18: 1, Maharees (Vincent Hussey, Alan O'Leary, Lauren Goodwin, Orla Goodwin); 2, Dingle/Maharees (Ellen Dunleavy, William Goodwin, Emily Nic Gearailt, Conor O'Leary); 3, Bréanainn (Tomás Fitzpatrick, Séamus Lynne, Siobhán Lynne, Aoife O' Connell).
Ras fé-16: 1, Maharees (Alan O'Leary, Conor O'Leary, Eimear O'Donoghue, Lauren Goodwin); 2, Bhréanainn (Séamus Lynne, Conor Greaney, Siobhán Lynne, Aoife O'Connell); 3, Bréanainn (Tomás ó Suilleabháin, Eoin Ó Laighin, Maire Ní Shuilleabháin, Ellie Sugrue).
Rás fé-14: 1, Aoife O'Connell, Jamie Sugrue, Siobhán Lynne, Máire Ó Suilleabháin; 2, Emily Nic Ghearailt, Paidí Mac Gearailt, Jack Mac Gearailt, Summer McCarthy.
Rás fé 12: 1, Bhréanainn (Laura Sugrue, Sean O'Connell, Orla O'Connor, Pádraig O'Connor); 2, Dingle (Sarah Ní Chonchubhair, Hannah Granville, Jack Mac Gearailt. Adam Ó Murchú); 3, Dingle (Séamus Hoare, Ellie Hoare, Beibhinn Sheehy, Seán Sheehy).
Rás Fear agus Bean: 1, Maharees (Colm O'Connor, Ailish Deane); 2, Dingle (Séilí Ann Ní Loinsigh, Davin Ó Loinsigh); 3, Maharees (John Joe Hussey, Siobhán Goodwin).
Rás Meascaithe: 1, Ailish Deane, Miriam Winters, Jackie Goodwin, Danny Scanlon; 2, Aoife Maguire, Séilí Ann Ní Loinsigh, John Joe Hussey, Conor O'Leary; 3,Eileen Quirke, Siobhán Goodwin, Alan Murphy, Davin Lynch.