Tuesday, 01 March 2011 14:06
The kayakers of GMIT Castlebar returned from this year's intervarsity competition in Cork relishing their new role as giant killers and reflecting on an overall result that saw them placed third behind University College Cork and University of Limerick in the overall team standings.
They were also basking in the glow of their all-conquering performance in the kayak polo competition where they beat of stiff opposition to claim the national crown.
With three of the eight-person squad joining Castlebar from the Galway campus, they created a big splash in their opening game when they beat a strongly fancied UCC 6-1.
This caused a lot of people to sit up and take notice so all eyes were on them for the next game, where they easily dispatched the other Cork outfit and joint-hosts, Cork IT, 8-2.
The game of the tournament was up next and it was quite a sight to see pre-tournament hot favourites University of Limerick in a pre-game huddle frantically trying to work out tactics. They tried hard but in the end in vain as GMIT forged an early 3-0 lead before the game settled into a tough fight.
UL managed to drag back two goals and were looking ominous before GMIT dug deep and found another gear to rattle in two fine goals to kill off the contest.
That game took so much out of them the worry was there wouldn't be enough in the tank for the final but they continued the form that had seen them dominate their group and win the semi, and Trinity College couldn't prevent them from lifting their first ever national title to scenes of great celebration.
The team was: Richard Daly, Oisin Foden, Mark Brogan, Laura Griffin, Derek Conway, Denis Grealish, Paddy McGovern and Kevin Pierce.
The white-water team failed to place in the next event but in the long distance event there were excellent performances in a variety of categories.
Kevin Pierce was first in K-1, Laura Taylor and Laura Griffin were second and third in the women's high performance event, Mark Brogan and Derek Conway were second in the top duo, Paddy McGovern and Paddy Woods finished second and fourth in the men's high performance event, and Fedhlim Dignan was fourth in the men's GP.
Unfortunately, a fine performance from the freestyle team on Sunday morning didn't get sufficient points to take them to the top of the table, but coming third ahead of some of the biggest colleges and universities in the country was a wonderful achievement.
Club captains Sean Biggins and Richard Daly were extremely proud of their group and are looking forward to hosting the event next year.