Junior anglers caught and released over 25,000 wild coarse fish weighing more than two tonnes on Inniscarra Lake at the World Youth Angling Championships!
Consisting of three individual competitions, the event was hosted by the National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland (Ncffi) who, in conjunction with local members, have developed this lake into a world class fishery over recent years.
Local dignitaries, community partners and sponsors came together with Fédération Internationale de la Pêche Sportive en Eau Douce (FIPS-ed) to celebrate the opening of the event in Coachford, Co Cork.
Mayor of Cork, Cllr Declan Hurley, welcomed hundreds of enthusiastic fishing girls and boys after they proudly paraded through the streets of Coachford accompanied by the Ballingeary Pipe Band and members of Coachford Camogie and Foróige groups.
Jerry O’Sullivan, ESB deputy chief executive, also welcomed competitors from the 14 nations and highlighted the growth of angling tourism in the area and the economic benefit to the local community.
Ncffi president, Oliver McGauley reiterated the benefit angling can bring to rural communities whilst promoting fair play and good companionship, and IFI chief executive, Dr Ciarán Byrne complimented the federation on the successful bid to host the event, the second such championships on Inniscarra Lake.
Olympic gold medallist, Oliver Loughnane, representing the high-performance unit of Sport Ireland, came along to wish the young athletes the very best in the competition while Séamus Heaney of Cork Convention Bureau supported the potential tourism aspect of the Greenway.
The president of FIPS-ed confirmed that our sport is still very much alive as he addressed the sea of junior anglers before declaring the championships open. The O’Sullivan’s Dancing School then enthralled the European youths with an exhibition of traditional Irish dancing to the accompaniment of Comhaltas Ceoteóirí musicians.
The Under-15 competition took place on the ‘Garden Centre’ stretch at Dripsey where the youngest of the anglers fished in four sections of 10. Two kilometres of the Coachford Greenway was occupied by the Under-20 and- 25 categories with 102 anglers fishing in eight sections of 13.
The multi-purpose amenity was a hive of activity with supporting families and friends on the bank along with an estimated 8,000 spectators throughout the weekend.
Congratulations to the 100 anglers from across Ireland and members of the local community who volunteered as traffic marshals, weigh-men, fish counters and general stewards.
The fishing, which set off with a slow start, soon picked up with the swims being fed and magnificent catches were recorded in the training days. In total, 2,164 kg of fish were netted, weighed and released safely back to the water during the two days of the championships alone!
It was a fish-a-chuck fishing with the pole for roach, skimmers and hybrids achieving a slightly better stamp of fish using the slider.
France’s U-25 Alexandre Caudin averaged a fish every 80 seconds which gave him the gold medal position and title of individual world champion of 2017. It was another first for Inniscarra as France were triumphant winning all three events, Under 15, Under 20 and Under 25; the first country ever to do so.
The skill of the European juniors was exceptional and saw Poland, Germany and England take the silver and bronze positions. In the individual categories, Czech Republic and Belgium also collected medals for their positions against the 14 nations.
Team Ireland did not fare out so well finishing ninth in the U-25, eight in the U-20 and seventh in the U-15. Fermanagh’s Under-20, James O’Doherty, Ireland’s favourite for a medal, just missed the podium, finishing with five points to take sixth position.
Monaghan’s Eoin Rogers also finished in sixth position overall, a magnificent achievement for this 12-year-old at his first world championships.
The competition ended with the Ncffi president along with Claudio Matteioli and the Fips-ed delegation presenting winners with their trophies and medals before the teams came together in a display of colour at the Oriel House Hotel for a celebratory dinner to complete the event.
Meanwhile, just a week after the youth world championships, juniors from across the provinces came together again for the national competition. This event provides the opportunity to compete at national level and includes coached assistance.
Once again, Killykeen Forest Park in Co Cavan was the chosen venue for its accessibility. It proved tough in places with the best fishing in the Under 20’s section, but there were some great catches and everyone had an enjoyable day.
The three-hour match concluded with a sausage and chip supper at Gilsenan’s in Killeshandra after which everyone came away with a tackle prize, and trophies awarded to the winners by Ncffi treasurer and coach, Sean Ward.
The Ncffi would like to thank Inland Fisheries Ireland for overall sponsorship and Sensas Ireland and Irish Bait & Tackle Limited for sponsoring bait and Tubertini UK.
The next national competition is the junior feeder which takes place on Saturday, October 14th followed by the Ulster Schools Competition on the Lower Bann on the 21st October.
*Results of the 46th Belmullet SAC Two-Day Broadhaven Bay Open Boat Competition. 1, J. Barrett (Killala); 2, A Masterson (Belmullet); 3, B Turtle (Belfast); 4, T Lally (Belmullet). Best out-of-state angler, B Turtle (Belfast). Best junior, S Walsh.
Over 80 anglers, including 24 overseas, landed 19 varieties of fish.