Tuesday 12 December 2017

Pulling in the crowds

An Tochar GAA grounds in Roundwood played host to the Irish National Tug of War Championships at the weekend.

The event was a huge success and featured sides from across the county as well as local team Ballinastoe and the Bray Lakers team who were the real stars of the show.

The day started out with a youth competition involving a local team as well as visiting teams from Mayo and Cavan.

Unfortunately for the Wicklow youngsters they fell to their opponents but there is more national youth's competitions set to take place in the next couple of weeks so there will be plenty of time for redemption and no need to be too despondent.

Unfortunately this year there was no ladies competition but this was made up for as the national ladies side took part in the men's event. The team includes the local Wicklow trio Cathy O'Toole, Jenny Barker and Jennifer Connolly.

The women put in a valiant effort and beat one of their male counterpart teams. The competition will also serve as great preparation for the ladies as they compete in the World Indoor Tug of War Games in Rathclaw, Poland on the 27th of this month.

We talked to competitor Cathy O'Toole who said the day was a lot of fun.

"I thought it was a fun day and the weather held up as well which was great. I felt that the youth's competitions and the participation of the Bray Lakers was brilliant and I think all the kids had a really fun time. I visit schools educating children on the sport and allowing them to participate so to see all the young people there was great.

"It's a sport for all children as each team member is as important as the next and it's great for building team work so I suppose there's life lessons to be learned from the sport as well!"

The men of Ballinastoe competed in the 680 kg event and the 620 kg open event. There was a big prize on the line as the winners of the 680 kg event would go on to represent Ireland at the European Championships in Southport.

Alas the men could only manage a 5th place finish as G&B team from Ballygar, Galway won, but their fortunes did improve in the 620 event as they picked up a bronze medal and podium finish with their 3rd place.

Team member Dennis Byrne said that although the team were disappointed with their placings that it was still are really enjoyable day.

"We went in with the aim to finish top of at least one of the events, especially in that we had home advantage so to speak, so we were a bit disappointed with our placings. We've been training hard since February and competing in events all along the way but there are plenty more events to look forward to.

"It was still a hugely enjoyable day for all of us and the support we received was fantastic. It's great to see so many people getting involved and especially young people so long may that continue."

Wicklow People

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