Father and son team of Gerry and Daragh Murphy took the gold medal in the 12 kilometre Irish Marathon Canoe Championships on the River Erne last weekend.
With negotiating of the East Bridges in racing conditions going to be challenge the Erne club men enterd the bridge leading their class and after a collision with one of the pillars the exited in fourth.
The crew worked hard to enter the portage at the Forum in third and on entry to the water they had pulled back another place to second. When they rounded the marker at the Ardowen with 5KM covered first place had been recovered and this position was held until the end where the won by 25 seconds. Second place went to Craig Wilson and Luke Fitzhenry of Belfast Canoe Club and their clubmates Ray Sweetlove and Ben Dooley third. Feedback from from all the athletes and support staff was very encouraging for the club in their first holding of a major championship.
In the future the club has ambitious plans to hold the European marathon championships, a World Cup event and the World Championships over a five year period.
Ninety seven of the top paddlers from all corners of Ireland gathered at the Lakeland Forum to compete to be crowned national champions.
The race organised and run by Erne Paddlers canoe Club involved 7 KM laps starting at the Forum, around the Island town and upstream to the Ardowen Theatre and back. Saturday’s races was for the single kayaks (K1) and the local club had some success in the junior novice and senior ladies races. In the junior Novice event Erne Paddlers athletes Darren Foster Under18, Mark Kells Under 14, Jamie Hogg U10 and Nimbh Cassidy girls Under 10 all took gold medals after covering the 2 KM course.
In the Ladies senior event Helen Flanaghan a recent convert to kayaking from rowing finished a remarkable third behind Irish internationals Jenny Egan of Salmon Leap and Cait Broderick of Thomastown Paddlers.
In the men’s senior race Irish international and Olympic hopeful Peter Egan of salmon leap managed to hold off a strong challenge from club mate Sean McCarthy to win the 21 KM race by two seconds in a time of I hour 36 minutes. Sunday saw the Athletes take to the two man kayaks (K2) and again spectators witnessed some excellent racing. In the senior K2 Peter Egan and Sean McCarthy again fought out a very close race. Egan teamed up with David Francis and McCarthy with Spaniard Luis Martinez and again Egan was the winner by thee seconds.
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