Local regatta is bright and breezy

Ciara O'Connor, Úna Fitzpatrick, Seamus Lyne and Cian O'Grady at Regatta Bhaile na nGall
Ciara O'Connor, Úna Fitzpatrick, Seamus Lyne and Cian O'Grady at Regatta Bhaile na nGall

Marian O'Flaherty

A FINE, breezy day greeted competitors from Dingle, Brandon, Maharees and Cork who made their way west to Baile na nGall in West Kerry on Monday where the local regatta, a staple of the August Bank Holiday weekend, drew the crowds as it always does.

Pint sipping spectators lined the seafront to catch a glimpse of the naomhóg racing out and while children played in the sand beneath as gentle waves lapped and broke at their feet.

In this, the third traditional naomhóg regatta of the season in West Kerry, the Maharees had another good day in terms of silverware with the men's crew of John Joe Hussey, Patrick Hussey, Kieran Browne and Michael O'Leary continuing their dominance in Rás Mór na bhFear. Demonstrating tjhat the tradition remains strong 'below the hill' the children of the Maharees followed in the wake of their elders with the under-12 crew of Alan O'Leary, Erin O'Halloran, Lauren Goodwin and Conor O'Leary of Maharees coming a worthy first in their event.

The Rás Aonair saw Kieran Browne row away with another trophy and his display of oarsmanship also earned him the title of Oarsman of the Day.

Another veteran crew came to the fore in Rás Mór na mBan as Maunza Heidtke, Elaine Waters, Gillian O'Brien and Aoife Ni Mhuircheartaigh of Dingle's Cumann Ramhaíochta Chorca Dhuibhne took the honours.

Maunza (who was eventually deemed oarswomen of the day) and Gillian then teamed up with fellow Dingle crew man Kevin Granville and Niall Flannery to win Rás na bParóistí. Maunza also joined Siobhan Goodwin and Danny Scanlon of Maharees, Cork's Dobbs O'Brien (Cork) to win the Rás Meascaithe.

In the Fé – 18 race the emerging talent below the hill was evident as Brandon's Mikey Lyne, Fianna Cullinane, Niall Moynihan and Jasmine Griffin took first place, continuing the good form they have shown all season.

An Rás Puint, one of the unique elements of Regatta Bhaile na nGall which sees local fishermen of the parish fight it out in 'punts' was a scream as usual. In the end, Ronán and Aodh Ó Súilleabháin of Baile Breac scooped the coveted title for 2014.

Rás Aloysius, hosted in memory of local man and regatta stalwart Aloysius Kavanagh, brought a fine day's racing to a fitting end as seasoned veterans, Jackie Goodwin of the Maharees and Maunza Heidtke of Dingle, joined forces to win Corn Cuimheacháin Aloysius Ó Cíobháin.

With a great crowd and fine weather, there was no better way to spend a bank holiday Monday and Cáitlín MhicGearailt of Coiste Regatta Bhaile na nGall paid tribute to all of the local businesses and individuals who sponsored the event and the prizes.

"We couldn't do it without the local support we receive and we are very thankful for that," she said.


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