St. Pats TOW.
Last weekend saw the National Indoor Tug of War Championships held in Buncrana, Co. Donegal, and local Courtbane-based team, St. Pats, were attending and hoping to continue their unbeaten run for this season. The national 720kg, 680kg, 640kg ewight-a-side and 450kg, 425kg and 400kg five-a-side championships has all been won in a very convincing fashion by St. Pats and the club’s intention was to take the senior 600kg eight-a-side and 375kg five-a-side nationals as well.
It was an early start for St. Pats as the squad headed to Derry on Saturday to go to the sauna to lose 20kg in weight across the eight-man team. Over 4four-ours after going into the sauna, it was a very weary looking St. Pats that carried-on on their journey to Buncrana for the Saturday night weigh-in in advance of the next day’s National Championships.
In the weigh-in for the five-a-side National Championship, the 375kg A team made the weight but the second 375kg team - St. Pats B - had to go with Yvonne McEntee, one of the St. Pats women and a youth puller, Liam Fitzpatrick, along with their 10kg weight advantage, to get the team in at the weight. This was Yvonne’s second time to pull with the senior men and it was Liam’s first senior competition.
The Sunday morning saw the National 600kg Championship first for contention and here five teams entered the fray. Rockies from Cavan, Clonmany and Carndonagh from Donegal, Mountainview from Louth and St. Pats. Competition was pulled on the usual round robin basis and St. Pats, pulling with great strength and determination, won all four pulls 2-0 without ever really being troubled, to move through to the semi-finals. St. Pats’ opponent in the semi-finals was Carndonagh, with Mountainview and Clonmany in the other semi-final. When the dust was settled it was St. Pats and Mountainview in the final.
This final followed the pattern of the previous finals with as easy victory for St. Pats against Mountainview to make it four for four in the national eight-a-side titles for St. Pats.
Next up was the five-a-side 375kg competition and here seven-teams took to the mats. Both St. Pats teams progressed to the semi-finals where St. Pats A easily beat Carndonagh A 2-0 and St. Pats B beat Carndonagh B after an epic battle which was the pull of the day. McEntee and Fitzpatrick excelled themselves on the B team to ensure themselves a final spot. However, the club derby went in favour of the A team. And, with gold and silver medals returned, it was a mighty effort.
The last weight down for decision was the Open 680kg competition and here pullers from the Northern Irish teams were present, joining up with Mountainview to field a very strong team in a bid to pip St. Pats to a place under the one banner. However, this unified attempt was to no avail as St. Pats breezed through the competition and conclude an unbeaten day.
The St. Pats panel at this championship was Gary Conway, Hugh Óg Conway, Seán Conway, Michael Owen McGreehan, PJ Griffin, Declan Griffin, Tommy Griffin, Warren Conway, Ciarán Fitzpatrick, Liam Fitzpatrick, Yvonne McEntee, coached by Hugh Mór Conway and Barney McLoughlin.
Next up for the St. Pats pullers is the National eight-a-side 560kg and five-a-side 350kg Championships being held in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford on Sunday week and St. Pats will be going all out to finish the clean sweep of titles – 10 from 10 - for the third year in a row.
Picture: St. Pats Tug-of-War Club - National 600kg Champions - Back Row L-R: Coach Hugh Mór Conway, PJ Griffin, Declan Griffin, Tommy Griffin, Liam Fitzpatrick, Ciarán Fitzpatrick (Asst Coach). Front Row L-R: Michael Owen McGreehan, Seán Conway, Hugh Óg Conway, Gary Conway.