600kg and 680kg Northern Ireland Championships
Dungannon Park was the beautiful setting for the Championships. There had been very heavy rain over the previous 18 hours which had left
the park sodden and in places still under puddles of water. An area close to one end of the park had been set aside for the competition and on Friday night, three teams weighed in for the 600kg Championship.
Four teams entered the two weights, namely Derryogue, Bancran, Leos Boys and Garvagh all making the weight limit. In the round robin section of the 600 championships after all of the pulling, Bancran came out in first place followed closely by Derryogue, Leos Boys and Garvagh bringing up the rear. With the new TWIF rule in place, 1st pulled 4th whilst 2nd and 3rd met in the second semi final.
Bancran beat Garvagh in the first semi final whilst Derryogue beat Leos Boys in the second. Then it was onto the final. Derryogue and Bancran met once again and in the first end, which lasted over 14.5 minutes both teams kept the pressure up until Bancran put in a lift and eventually took Derryogue over the line for the first end. In the second end the pressure was once again exerted and both teams expended a lot of energy before
Bancran took the second end in just over two minutes. Bancran took the title of 600 champions after a herculean pull by both teams.
In the 680kg event the three teams of Leos Boys, Derryogue and Bancran extended their weight closer to the limits and once again all four teams took to the field. After the round robin section Leos Boys were 1st with Derryogue in 2nd, Bancran in 3rd and Garvagh in 4th place.
Semi final 1 was between Leo’s Boys and Garvagh whilst the finalists from the 600 were destined to meet again in the other semi final. Garvagh
fought bravely against the ever improving Leos Boys team and managed to tip the balance in their favour winning the pull by two straight ends. In the second semi the two rivals from Bancran and Derryogue once again put on a fine show of strength and power with Bancran taking the second semi final by two pulls to one.
Bancran from the off put the pressure on Garvagh, who were pulling with seven men and almost 70kg lighter. The ground was holding up
reasonably well but in the end the strength of the Bancran team paid off and they finished the day winning their second gold medal. All credit to an improving Garvagh team who put on a brave display with seven.