The weirs at Lucan and Wren’s Nest provided some of the highlights of the Junior Liffey descent on Saturday.
The Thomastown Paddlers Canoe Club was out in force at the highly anticipated Junior Liffey Descent Race, heading to the race with a trailer full of boats and loads of promising young paddlers.
The 11.5km course, which started at Salmon Leap Canoe Club in Kildare and finished at Canoe Ireland Training Center in Palmerstown, included a portage around the Leixlip Reservoir dam just 10 minutes after the start.
The course included challenging weirs, testing the skills of even the most experienced paddlers. The massive ‘Lucan’ and ‘Wren’s Nest’ weirs are always exciting and have proven to be excellent vantage points for family and friends who have come out to support and encourage the young members of our club.
The result of the day was Millie Brennan, who won a silver medal in the girls’ under-15 class C.
In the Boys Under 15 classes, Thomastown was well represented with several impressive performances. Louis Evans rode very well in a strong field, finishing seventh in the Boys Under-15 Class A. Oran Murphy won bronze in the Boys Under-15 Class B, working throughout the race with John Walpole who finished second behind him in fourth place. . Matthew Stephenson also put in a good showing, just missing out on medals, finishing fourth in the Boys Under-15 C category.
The club’s more experienced junior athletes, Adam Pender and Tadhg Ryan, paddled well in the fast-paced and hotly contested Under-18 Class A. They finished sixth and eighth respectively, with Pender having had a clear round. Both paddlers will have their eyes on the competition in the long version of the course and the pinnacle of the Irish racing calendar, the 62nd Liffey Descent in September.
In the K2 class, the Thomastown duo of TJ Brennan and Xavier Blanche had an excellent run to ‘Sluice Weir’ where a combination of factors left the boat damaged beyond even temporary repairs for the duo to can continue. Both paddlers are getting better and better, with Xavier recently earning a second place finish in Malahide. All of the club’s young paddlers will gain great experience from the challenging course, which has certainly left them hungry for more races.
The Thomastown Paddlers will now look to the next marathon race at Carrick-on Shannon on June 12, followed by the club’s own Thomastown Marathon Ranking Race. This event, taking place on Sunday June 19, will see the club’s most seasoned athletes compete along the scenic stretch of the River Nore from Bennettsbridge to Inistioge.
For more club information, visit thomastownpaddlers.com