A young angler from Screen will be both the youngest and smallest competitor in the field when he casts off at the World Angling Championships in Italy next week.
Max Roche, who is just 12, will compete against boys four years older than him in Lido di Latina where the World Championship Shore Angling (U16) take place from October 12 to 19. Part of a six-strong Irish team Max will fish for both individual and team honours in a contest which will attract the best young anglers from eight countries across Europe.
Joe Byrne is the Irish Federation Sea Anglers U16 Team Manager and the man responsible for selecting the final squad. He explains why he chose to bring such a young and inexperienced angler to the World Championships.
'He's very young, but he's a little bit different. I recognised early on in the year when we brought him on a few training courses that he was talented,' said Joe.
And despite his tender years, Joe believes the St Stephen's College student won't be travelling just to make up the numbers.
'He'll feature strongly out there, he won't feel the pressure, he's a very, very cool young fella for his age. He'll be the youngest, smallest fella in the competition but I wouldn't have put him in there if I thought he wouldn't be able for it.'
A member of Bannow Bay Angling, Max also fishes with Menapia fishing club in Wexford, which is run by Joe Carley. And according to dad, John Joe, the youngster took to the sport right from the beginning.
'I always fished, and I would have brought Max from the age of 5, he was a natural from the off. He fishes a lot with his grandfather now, he puts everything into fishing, he eats, sleeps and breathes fishing.'
Confirming that the whole famiy were travelling to Italy to accompany him, John Joe described his son as a 'lovely, pleasant young man'. This was reiterated by Joe who said Max's inclusion in the team had been welcomed by the other members.
'Max has a huge future ahead of him. I've been involved in fishing for many a year and I see a big career for him, he has a great angling mind.
'He was well justified in his selection too. All the other other lads in the team are delighted to have him on board, and they've all been fishing for years, which says a lot.'
The World Championships begin on Saturday, October 12.