Home International, Newry Canal 21st to 24th October 2015
This traditional angling championship between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales was reinstated this year to offer the home nations’ rising stars the opportunity to fish alongside international team members. This is the first international angling event to be held in Newry since the 1982 championships which saw the legendary pole angler Kevin Ashurst secure Gold for England and the World Championship title on the canal. Introducing a new format the long awaited for return of the event saw 7 man teams consisting of international team anglers including former world champions Alan Scotthorne and Will Raison, those in line for the world stage and Under 25’s compete alongside each other bringing with them a combination of youth and experience.
The 28 anglers and their managers spent five days on the canal, which included two days practice on the venue in Newry while staying at the Canal Court Hotel. A resounding success the event provided for some exceptional fishing in match conditions. Pole tactics throughout saw an average 5kg per angler on day one; overnight rain and a drop in the wind kept the weights lower for day two but there were still plenty of bites from small roach and perch with the occasional bonus hybrid.
Scored on a points system, with the 7 sections populated by a team member from each nation, superb fishing from hot favourites Drennan Team England led to them taking home the title with 9 out of 14 section wins. It was a disappointing two days for Team Wales whose second place on day two wasn’t enough to pull them out of the last position. A top performance from Team Scotland earned them the second place position with the hosting nation Team Ireland in third place.
The U25’s shone through with England’s Matt Derry and James Dent scoring the top weights, leading to an overall individual win for Matt scoring 2 points and a total weight of 13.56kg. At no other event would we see Ireland’s juniors fish alongside former World Champions still on the internataionl circuit as was experienced by Team Ireland youths James O’Doherty, Erne Anglers, Co. Fermanagh and James Gargan, Kingfisher AC, Co.Cavan who both secured second place in their section.
Oliver McGauley, Hon. President of the NCFFI welcomed the anglers to a presentation dinner hosted by the Loughs Agency and Newry, Mourne & Down District Council to close the championships. Gillian Fitzpatrick, representing the council thanked the anglers for coming to Newry and presented each of the teams with their medals and a commemorative plaque. Damien O’Malley, Loughs Agency reinforced the benefits of angling to the local community also providing a commemorative book on the area to each angler. Team Ireland Manager, Mark Theedom addressed the anglers to thank them for attending the event which he hopes will now continue into the future and presented Matt Derry with a Crystal Glass for best individual.
The National Coarse Fishing federation of Ireland were delighted that their proposed venue was selected by the team mangers for the long awaited return of this competition and would like to thank the sponsors and partners for their support. The O’Rourkes Coalyard middle bank venue provided for a superb setting in this city centre location with secure access and parking and was endorsed by Team England Manager, Mark Addy who said:- “The Newry Canal has proved to be one of the best venues fished for an international event”. With more development to come, working with the Loughs Agency and Newry, Mourne & Down District Council we expect to see the canal attract more such events in the future bringing a welcome boost to angling tourism for the area.