GMIT Castlebar wins national canoe polo championship
Outdoor Education students win first place in the 2012 finals
GMIT Kayak and Canoe Club won the title at the 2012 Kayaking Intervarsities which GMIT Castlebar hosted for the first time this year. The Castlebar campus welcomed over 18 colleges and some 500 students from all over the country to Mayo at the weekend (17 - 19 Feb).
Friday's events kicked off with the Canoe Polo on Lough Conn in Crossmolina. GMIT beat NUIG in their first match and went on to knock out University of Limerick and DIT in the semi finals. The pressure was put on GMIT in the last stage of the competition as they were up against a strong DCU. After a gripping championship final, GMIT won the coveted first place.
The winning GMIT team are GMIT Outdoor Education students Keith Byrne, Feidhlim Dignan, Eric Conway, Shona O'Dowd, Mark Brogan, Ken Hynes, Carol Dunphy, Kevin Pierce and Gavin Porter.
Nigel Jennings, GMIT Castlebar Sports Officer, praised the team for their intense preparations during the winter months saying they deserve their hard-fought win.
He also paid tribute to the students for organising and hosting this hugely successful competition: "This entire event is probably one of the most logistically challenging undertakings in the third-level sporting calendar (Sigerson & Fitzgibbon included) and our students have more or less run it on their own, with the lecturers' approval. This way they have learned so much more and have done a magnificent job."
Saturday commenced with the Whitewater event on The Clydagh River, where each college was represented by four paddlers who had to make their way down the river as fast as possible. The river surprised many, throwing fast rapids and sharp turns, sweeping boats, paddles and students down river, all quickly rescued by the GMIT river rescue team. University of Limerick showed their paddling talents by claiming first place at the Whitewater event.
The second event on Saturday was the Freestyle competition held on Tuam Wave which was the perfect location for spectators to view the tricks and skills of some of the finest freestyle paddlers our country has to offer.
The Kayaking Intervarsities drew to an epic close at Lough Lannagh with the long distance event which had the largest number of competitors. The weather made for a perfect end to the Kayaking weekend, with live music on the waters' side provided by Con Artists. The atmosphere was electric with all competitors warming up on the water and families from the area coming to witness the challenge.
Overall winners of the 2012 Kayaking Intervarsities are University of Limerick who will host next year's Kayaking Intervarsities in Limerick.