Coachford, Take a Bow.
Teams from 25 countries came to Coachford on Thursday July 17th for the Parade of Nations and the official opening of the 4thWorld Feeder Fishing Championships. The teams with between 10 and 20 members each lined up in their team colours and paraded through the village of Coachford to the GAA Hall behind the excellent playing of the Ballingeary Pipe Band. Coachford Foróige members carried the countries name in front of each team while the team captain carried their nations flag. The reigning World Champions, South Africa led the teams while hosts Ireland completed the line up. A large crowd of supporters and locals gathered in the village to see the spectacle of all these countries in the village while the local Community Association laid on Face Painters and Balloon Modellers and other entertainment for those coming to see this unique parade.
The village was in festive mode as children and adults enjoyed the parade in glorious sunshine. Coachford resident Shelia Sheehan said “ I never thought I’d see the day that people from Kazakhstan, Moldova and Russia would be parading on our streets and being cheered on by all present. It’s absolutely great to see.” The shops and pubs were doing a roaring trade and an expert team of stewards kept traffic disruption to a minimum and made sure the army of children were kept safe. The village was decked out in colourful buntings and flags and everyone along the route of the parade were determined to cheer on every country, but especially Ireland!.
A lone piper led the teams into the packed hall and each team presented their flag to the Mayor of Cork County, Cllr Alan Coleman as a short version of their national Anthem was played in the background. A huge cheer and a standing ovation greeted the flag bearer, Ken Ince as he presented the final flag.
The Mayor then addressed the competitors . He praised the organisers for bringing the championships to Ireland, to Co. Cork and to Coachford.. He thanked those responsible for the new facility on the river Lee and praised the vision of Cork County Council for getting involved at an early stage of the development.
Mr. Oliver McGauley President of the National Course Fishing Federation of Ireland was next to speak and he welcomed his fellow fishing enthusiasts to the River Lee . He had huge praise and thanks for the people of Coachford for the most fantastic welcome “ I have traveled all over the world and have attended many world Championships but the welcome and organistaion of the parade here in Coachford tonight is the most amazing I have ever seen. Coachford, take a bow. Well done. You have raised the bar”
Mr. Michael Creed T.D. who was one of those instrumental in securing the funding to complete the very fine venue on the River Lee also addressed the audience and had huge praise for Fermoy man, Tommy Lawton who is the chief organiser of the world championships. Mr. Creed spoke of the mammoth task that was carried out to secure the venue and the Championships. He also praised the good work of the community and the Inniscarra Lake Tourism Development Company. “ These events are hugely important to our economy and the development of facilities like the one here in Coachford are essential to our recovery. Tourism continues to be a growth industry and fishing and angling events like this one can inject huge investment into the area. I want to congratulate everyone involved with this event and commend them on the completion of the walkway. You are an example of what can be achieved when people come together and recognize the huge resource that you have on your doorstep and develop it into a superb tourism product.”
- Frank Barry of the ESB spoke on how important the Inniscarra Lake reservoir was to the ESB and how vital course fishing events like this was important to the economy of the area. Mr. Barry also praised the organisers and commended them on never giving up on making sure that they developed a world class venue on the lake.
Dr. Kieran Byrne, CEO Inland Fisheries Ireland. Said there was no reason that more international fishing events could not come to the River Lee venue and thanked all involved for making the dream of a few , the reality for many.
The world Championships was officially opened by Mr. Claudio Matteoli, President of the International Fresh Water Sport Fishing Federation. In his speech he welcomed all the competitors and said that although the Feeder Championships were relatively new in terms of the other freshwater championships, the 2014 games in Ireland have attracted the most teams ever. He wished all the countries well and thanked Tommy Lawton and the NCFFI for the huge effort in making sure the venue was ready.
The competition over the two days was enthralling and the spectacle of over 150 fishermen fishing on the banks of the lee had to be seen to be believed. The fishing was superb with Ireland landing over 600 fish on Saturday alone and finishing the day in second position. Hopes were high for the countries first ever team medal in International Course Fishing World championships in over 50 years. Sunday saw glorious sunshine bake the venue and huge crowds turned out to witness the final days fishing. Locals became overnight experts on the different varieties of course fish in the river how the different bait caught different weight fish and how this could effect the overall standings. The fishing was superb with different fisherman catching over 20 fish every hour. Reports from the bank during the day saw England fire ahead and rumours abounded that Ireland were slipping back to third or even fourth but the afternoon saw some great fishing and although England took the Gold medal Ireland had secured a historic Silver at their home world Championships. The atmosphere in the Coachford GAA Hall at the Medal ceremony was electric and as Ireland were announced as Silver Medal Winners chants of ‘Óle Óle Óle’ broke out across the hall to the bemusement of the Spanish team and many of the other nations present. England were the deserved Gold Medal winners and the sound of ‘God Save the Queen’ was blasted out on the sound system as the St. Georges Cross was raised – Strange times in Coachford indeed.
In his closing speech Mr. Cloudio Matteoli praised the organisers and the venue and had a special word of thanks to the people of Coachford who he said were the most welcoming community that he had ever encountered in all his years traveling the world to fishing events. He hoped to return himself for some fishing in Ireland over the next two years and said that “I would not be surprised if another World or European Championship will be held at this fantastic venue here in Coachford in the near future”
Deirdre O’Donovan, Chairperson of the Community Council said, “the world championships were a great success for everyone involved and we are delighted that they went off so well. The visitors to the area were overwhelmed with the welcome they received and many of them have promised to return. It was great to see the business people doing some extra business over the week. The huge investment by the Inniscarra Lake Tourism Development Company and the NCFFI into the venue really paid off and they should be congratulated for their vision and commitment. But without doubt the real heroes of this championship week were the people of Coachford. I am extremely proud of all those who helped in any way in making this event such a huge success. Everyone who got involved did so wholeheartedly and they pulled out all the stops throughout a wonderful week in the village. They showed tremendous pride in their village and area and again I would like to thank this huge team of volunteers.”
Festival Races ahead with fun filled activities.
Grass Racing, Sheep Racing and Road Racing are just some of the activities in this year’s Coachford Autumn Festival taking place from August 15th to 17th.
The festival will hit the ground running on Friday when the second running of the Coachford Five Mile Road Race takes place at 7.30pm. The race is approved by the Athletics Association of Ireland and will take runners on a mostly flat circuit in and around the village. Entries for the race can be made online at www.eventmaster.ie or on the evening from 6.00pm at the GAA Hall Coachford. Proceeds of the race go to Suicide Aware and local charities.
Throughout the weekend the Festival will have something for everyone. On Saturday afternoon at 5.30pm the fourth annual High Nelly run will see well in excess of 50 vintage bicycles take to the highways and byways of the villages in the area and making sure NOT to pass any of the watering holes on route. Many of those participating last year dressed up in clothes from the period that their bikes were first manufactured in. Keeping with the Bicycle theme, the Coachford Cycling Club will host ‘Grass Racing’ in the GAA grounds from 7.00pm. This event will see children and adults complete in a cycle race around the GAA pitch. Grass Racing is open to everyone and there are categories for Under 12s, 14s and 16s. A pet dog show will take place in the evening and every kind of mongrel mutt and pure bred princess will be put through their paces to see who takes home the coveted trophy. This year’s festival also sees Junior Agrilympics taking place on Saturday Evening. The Agrilympics was a huge success last year for adults and the organisers want to give the under 16s in the area the opportunity to enjoy this novel event this year. Teams of four must be mixed. Starting time for this event is 5.30pm. The Voice of the Festival will be held later on Saturday night and 14 contestants will sing their hearts out to try and win the Voice of the Festival title.
Sheep Racing is a new event for the festival this year and promises to be great fun and full of excitement. The sheep are already in training and if they can avoid the butchers block between now and August 17th they should have a great day out on the turf in Coachford
This year’s event promises to be the best one yet. Don’t miss it.
For further information see our facebook page Coachford autumn festival or contact Tadgh on 087 2426343 or Peter on 086 8447105
The Agrilympics World Championships
One of the highlights of last year’s festival was the ‘Agrilympics’ and this year this unique competition again sponsored by O’Donovan Engineering takes place on Sunday August 17th where teams of four will compete against each other to claim the Perpetual Trophy and the honour of winning this prestigious event!!..Each team must contain a member of the opposite sex. The teams will be asked to milk a cow (not a real one), push a small tractor over a short distance, reverse a trailer by hand and roll a round bale. If you think you and your friends have what it takes to claim the top prize and be Agrilympics champions 2014 then come along and enter on the day.
€900 in cash prizes and a chance to stay overnight in Cork’s Newest Hotel, The Kingsley are the prizes in the Coachford Autumn Festival Raffle this year. The first prize of €500 is sponsored by O’Riordan’s Bar and there are other prizes of €250 and €150. Tickets are widely available and the raffle takes place at the Festival On Sunday August 17th.
The very best of luck to Aghabullogue Intermediate Footballers when they take on Mitchelstown in the 4th round of the County Championship in Mallow on Sunday at 4pm.. The game against last year’s Junior County Champions will prove to be a very tough encounter for the lads and we wish them well for the game. The boys drew last week when they played Kanturk at home in the league
Successful Dam building Exhibition
The exhibition on the ‘Building the Lee Hydroelectric Scheme’ that took place in the Community House in Coachford last week was a huge success with over 1,000 people visiting it over the six days.. The exhibition included articles and photos on the works and construction of the dams, video footage, and audio recordings of interviews with those employed on the hydroelectric scheme. The quality of the old photographs was superb and indeed the quality of the whole exhibition was excellent. The exhibition explained in detail the flooding of the valley, the building of the dams, the new bridges and the new roads in the early 1950s. The members of the Aghabullogue, Coachford Rylane Heritage Committee, who organised the exhibition, were on hand to answer any questions and to explain the history and stories behind the photographs and newspaper cuttings. Chairman of the ACR Heritage Committee, Doug Lucey said “ We were delighted so many people came to see the exhibits, It was fascinating to see people recounting the memories of the building of the dams and the flooding of the valley. This was our first exhibit and we plan on doing more in the future.” The Exhibit will also feature as part of the Coachford Autumn Festival on Sunday August 17th.
Joe Dolan Returns
The Joe Dolan Tribute act returns to Coachford on Saturday August 2nd. This performance by Pascal Brennan was superb when he last played in O’Riordan’s Bar and everyone is looking forward to this performer bringing the legendary Joe Dolan act to life again.