Well what a week of archery was had by the archers from Ireland recently in France. 20 archers representing IFAF were up against top archers from all over Europe and they did very well in what were hot and difficult conditions,… intense practice days, acclimatising, then four full days of competition with one rest day in between. Monday saw it rain persistently although the rain admittedly was warm. Temperatures reached to high 20’s at times during the week. There were lots of overnight rain and occasional daytime downpours. This may have suited our archers and those of the British Isles more so than those from southern and central Europe.
The Parade of Nations was held in Confolens, the main town in the region.
Lessac was the area where the courses were laid. There was a nice outdoor area at the Archery Village in which is where the archers met each morning to be transferred out to the courses and where the closing results/awards took place.
The Archery Village had stalls selling archery equipment, EBHC merchandise (official and unofficial) directly opposite from each other, food and drink stalls and local produce.
There was some music and entertainment each afternoon as archers came back in from the course. This ranged from the local line dancers and Zumba club to musicians and bands.
For this EBHC there was no meal at the closing ceremony, archers re-congregated at 6pm for the awards which began around 7pm.
There were five courses and archers each got to shoot four. They were red,
green, yellow, white and blue. All varied to some degree, some were hilly, others were set in heavy woodland, but there were lots of shots out in meadows too.
And great news with a European title coming home as teenager Shannon
Mernagh from New Ross & Dunbrody Archers held true to form to impress over all four days and win her Junior Bowhunter Recurve class. She did very well especially on the two arrow round and at the conclusion finished with 24 points to spare over her Lithuanian rival in 2nd. 3 rd place went to an Austrian opponent.
Well deserved for Shannon who has had a terrific year so far with success at home and in the UK. This win was only the Dunbrody clubs 2nd ever European Bowhunter champs gold after junior compounder Piaras Walsh won gold in Estonia six years ago. This win for Shannon will be the most important of her archery career so far. Very well done to her.
Young up and coming Waterford archer Ethan O’ Mahony representing Na Laoch Dall also won his class CMFSR to land a 2nd European title for Ireland. Ethan has been showing great form of late and was delighted at his performance over the four days. Very well done, lots more successes to come no doubt…
Congratulations to Listerlins Lynn Ellingworth of Na Laoch Dall who won out the ladies BHR class ahead of an Austrian opponent in 2nd by the narrowest of margins – 1 important solitary point. This shows how important every point is. A third gold for Ireland. Lynn shot consistently well throughout the week. This great result furthers Lynn’s successful archery career and is possibly her most coveted title to date. Very well deserved Lynn, having come close on other occasions too.
Slieverue’s Diane Cummins (Dunbrody Archers) also finished well in 3
rd (bronze medal) position in this highly competitive category – She was in the top ten two years ago in Italy with an 8th place finish, 9th in Austria in 2010, and this time improved on these to finish in the medals. Diane was hit with a serious stomach bug early on in the week and it looked like her chance had gone, however a preset rest day for her particular class midweek helped her rest and improve and against the odds she carried on for the remainder of the competition in good form to finish 3rd
. Na laoch Dall archer Nikki Carroll (Enniscorthy) finished in
impressive 7th to make it three Irish in the top ten. Her very notable one arrow round was not beaten by any of her competitors. Dunbrody Archer Catherine Power (The Rower) finished well in 22nd of almost 50 archers. This was Catherine’s first major European tournament. She was just 90 odd points from a top 10 place and that comprises of only five extra arrow hits over the four days. This shows just how highly competitive field archery can be.
Further success for Dunbrody and Ireland as young compound archer Evan
Cummins from Slieverue finished in bronze medal position. This was Evans first competition overseas and he did very well throughout the week. A German archer took the gold with silver going to England. Both were older juniors.
Waterfords Nerissa Stones from Na Laoch Dall did very well in her Female
Bowhunter Unlimited class especially in her two arrow round and her 1425 total score was very impressive indeed. Nerissa has had a good season so far with several fine results here at home.
The two well known juniors Kevin Power (The Rower) and Cian Kehoe (Waterford city) both of Dunbrody Archers finished the competition a very impressive and credible 5th and 7th respectively. Cian was in 2nd place after the one arrow round with Kevin 4th. The 2 arrow round saw Kevin shoot very well with the 5th highest score of the day. He also shot 5th highest on the hunting round day. And Cian was not far behind. The 3D round was where both lost some vital points, perhaps this was down to open field shots which is something we don’t do enough of here at home. Austrian archers won gold and silver with 3rd place going to Germany and
4th also to Austria.
As for the Mens Bowhunter Recurve class of well over 100 entrants, top Irish recurve archer was Dunbrody archer Mark Daly from Adamstown who finished best of the Irish in a solid 29th position overall. Some of his days action saw him much closer to the top positions. Unfortunately he suffered technical difficulties with his bow during day 2 (a loose tiller) which affected things for the rest of the week. Keith Shiel (Na Laoch Dall) did very well and was the next up of the Irish finishing in a very credible 36th after a solid display. Bryan Ronan (Dunbrody) from Waterford finished in 66th in this his first ever competition outside Ireland.
Club mate George Howlin (Dunbrody) from Enniscorthy finished 78th. For him too this was his first competition abroad. Edward Kehoe (Dunbrody) also from Waterford finished 99th in his first major tournament. This was a great learning experience for Irelands less experienced competitors.
In mens Flatbow Bryan Rentes (IAC) finished highly in 22nd in a tough class while Eddie Ryan (Wexford Archery) finished 62nd . There were over 100 entrants in this competitive class. Bryan was consistent throughout and in the end was less than 60 points off a top ten place. Eddie would have been disappointed with his 3D and hunter rounds having scored well in the one and two arrow rounds.
Experienced Warbow archer John Shiel did well in Veterans Flatbow and finished a solid 21st . John enjoyed the experience and scored well throughout the week battling on over the tough terrain and conditions.
A fine score of 1870 ensured Waterfords Gary O’ Mahony of Na Laoch Dall a
credible and respectable 26th position in the competitive mens bowhunter
Unlimited category. Garys one and two arrow round scores were well up there with the eventual medallists scores.
Dunbrody Archer Danny Cummins (Slieverue) battled hard in Freestyle Unlimited (Compound) class and finished 47th in a very tough field of archers dominated by Austrians and Hungarians. This always is a cut throat category where every point is hard fought for and won or lost.
So to sum up 3 winning gold medals, two bronze medals, and with four other top ten finishes. Very impressive for Ireland… Congrats to the whole Irish contingent who took part from all corners of the country. It may have taken a couple of hours to get to Confolens but it took months of preparation and training, and a year to save up for the trip. It is fitting that we acknowledge the archers families for their support, commitment and sacrifices.