NORTHERN IRELAND CHAMPIONSHIPS 600 AND 680KGS AT BENBURB
Saturday the 22nd June 2013 saw the start of this year’s outdoor championships at 600 and 680kgs hosted in the historical village of Benburb in County Tyrone.
Friday night was the first time we had used the single weigh in for the Championships and this was carried out at the Bottle in Benburb, a lovely wee hostelry kindly granted by the McAnallen family. We were even entertained to some music during the proceedings, which for a first time went well.
The throughput of teams was quick and hopefully teams will appreciate this new method. With all of the teams weighed and each coach given a list of pullers and their weights, it wasn’t until the Saturday afternoon that the team weigh sheets were returned and the teams were stamped ready for the competition.
Heading into the field the weather looked ominously bleak with gathering dark clouds and the odd spit of rain. Leos Boys had the tent up and the field was well prepared. Using the same areas as the previous competition in Benburb, two ropes were laid out and all four teams took to the field. The first part would be the round robin with all four teams again coming into semi finals and finals.
In the first end Garvagh took on Derryogue who won both ends whilst Bancran took on Leos Boys who were made up of mostly members of the Young Farmers who can be justly proud of taking on the big boys at their game. They fought manfully but succumbed to the power, strength and expertise of the team from Bancran.
In the second round Garvagh took on Leos Boys whilst Derryogue were pitted against Bancran. Nothing ventured and nothing gained the teams from Garvagh and Bancran took the points. Into the third phase and it was the turn of Derryogue to take on the youngsters from Leos Boys whilst the more experienced Bancran team took on an ever improving team from Garvagh.
The ground was good and hadn’t become endy with Derryogue and Bancran coming out on top. With the round robin finished, Bancran took first place closely followed by Derryogue, Garvagh and Leos Boys. One pulls four whilst two pulls three in the semi finals and so once again the teams pitted their strength against one another.
Bancran took on the local team from Leos Boys (ably assisted by Bob Smith!!) whilst a repeat of the previous weekend’s events was to see Garvagh and Derryogue up against one another again. Bancran disposed of the youngsters whilst the tussle between Garvagh and Derryogue was much more of an event with neither team giving much away. Derryogue in the end did overcome the improving Garvagh team who are coming close to blossoming after every competition.
Bancran and Derryogue into yet another final and this one for the gold medal at 600kgs. Bothe teams fought hard for every inch of ground but in the end the waiting game and strength of the Sperrin men saw their first foray into this year’s Championships and once again achieving Gold medals and the Cathal McKeever Cup for 600kgs.
With very few changed to the Garvagh and Bancran teams, none to the Derryogue team and an almost entire change to the Leos Boys team it was straight into the 680 event. Garvagh and Leos Boys had been first out of the hat and they went to the first rope whilst Derryogue and Bancran once again met up in their first foray into the 680. Garvagh and Leos Boys shared the pints whilst Bancran beat Derryogue who were still under the 600kgs mark.
Second round was Garvagh and Derryogue with Bancran taking on the almost up on weight Leos Boys. Garvagh took three points this time against Derryogue whilst Bancran took the points against Leos Boys. Third round and Garvagh would meet Bancran whilst Derryogue met the local Benburb lads from Leos Boys. Bancran made it a full house whilst the points were shared between Leos and Derryogue.
Semi final time with Bancran meeting Derryogue whilst Garvagh would meet Leos Boys. Bancran beat Derryogue whilst there was a mighty tussle between Leos and Garvagh with the Garvagh team coming out on top.
The first final of the year for the lads from Garvagh which they relished taking on their near neighbours from Bancran. Nothing given or expected both teams stuck tight and well to their task with Bancran eventually taking both ends of a well fought for event at 680kgs. The second Championship Gold to the Sperrin men from Bancran.
With the weather once again closing in after a day of differing conditions it was down to the presentations. The 600 Championship medals and cup were presented by the President of TWIF and the donor of the lovely trophy, Mr Cathal McKeever. The second set of medals and the very old trophy for the 680kgs event was presented by another stalwart of the local game Mr Hugh Heron who has been involved for very many years not only at home but on International events all over the World.
Thanks again to Leos Boys for hosting this Championship.
NEXT WEEK - WEIGH IN ON FRIDAY NIGHT FOR THOSE REQUIRING IT AT THE JIM WATT SPORTS CENTRE GARVAGH WITH THE COMPETITION ON SATURDAY AT CLYDE PARK GARVAGH (2PM WEIGH IN AND 3 PM START)
Pictures that anyone may have should be uploaded to the NITOWA facebook page or sent to the secretary for inclusion. Some videos I believe are already on facebook.