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Victory for Donegal at National Surf Lifesaving Championships

Donegal girls blitz the Irish Surf Lifesaving Championships on home turf at Rossnowlagh beach last weekend The senior ladies team took home the over-all winners cup after winning a record breaking 7 out of 10 events, and taking medals in every event! The Junior girls also retained their title as National champions. The most notable wins were Triona McMenamin’s victory in the Ocean Women a tough ‘Iron’ event requiring great stamina and skill in ocean swimming, ski and paddle board. It was great to have Triona back on the team after her return from Australia this summer. It seem’s she may have picked up a few tips from the Aussies 😉

Sarah Patton and Maria Treacy took 1 and 2 in the flags beach race in the last light of the day. The last time it was in Donegal the flags had been the final decider – whoever won and got the last flag would win the overall event for the team! Stressful to say the least. It came done to me and Clare. As soon as I grabbed the flag I was lifted onto everyone’s shoulders and chaired up the beach. It was pretty amazing for me to watch the last two girls lying down in the sand waiting for the whistle to blow, one flag remaining and wondering who was going to win; Donegal, or Donegal?!


(photo: Roo McCrudden)

I took to the water again for the paddle board race. Every year I get so nervous I have butterflies in my stomach. Every year it gets harder. It’s so easy to just sit back and think you have in the big. But you can’t. You are the one to beat and everyone wants to take you down. I can feel the energy on the beach win we line up on the start line. I can’t ever afford to get complacent because you just never know what’s going to happen until you hit the water. There are no easy wins. It also helps I have my cousin Tahlia hot on my heels pushing me all the time at training.

(photo: Roo McCrudden)

As soon as I hit the water I’m in another place. The rest of the world doesn’t exist and nothing else matters. I just paddle my heart out. A lot of the time I can’t even remember the race, or what I did. Just that feeling when I cross the finish line…euphoria! The race was so intense this year. A very short, very fast paced course. The heats earlier in the day had good sized waves coming through but for the final it was low tide and the waves were few and far between. So there was no room for error, no chance to make up any lost ground – grab the lead and keep it all the way to the end.

(photo: Roo McCrudden)

I ran across the finish line to claim my 11th paddle board title. Tahlia was neck in neck behind me for the 2nd place finish. With determination written all over her face she pushed ahead on the final race up the beach to take 2nd place. Another 1-2 combo for Donegal!

(photo: Roo McCrudden)

I came straight off the buzz from that win and into the board rescue final with Amy-May Garvey. The glare of the sun was so intense we couldn’t even make out the cans we had to race to but we managed to go fast and straight and cross the finish line with another win and a serious points lead for Donegal.

(photo: Roo McCrudden)

The level of competition blew me away this year. I say that every year but it was truly insane this year! Such a buzz to see over 800 competitors from all over the country on my local beach taking on the surf in the sun (yes, finally a Nationals held in waves AND sunshine!). It’s so exciting to see so may people from the little nippers to the masters excelling in this ocean environment, so confident, fit and healthy in the water. It’s such an important sport for Ireland. Being an island nation surrounded by water it’s only natural that it is taking off and growing so rapidly with clubs springing up all over the country.
Donegal Ladies – All-Ireland Champions (Photos: NC Britton)


Easkey and the big, pretty All-Ireland cup (Photo: NC Britton)


A stunning sunset over Donegal Bay to end a perfect day (photo: Roo McCrudden)

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