IFFA Spring International 2018 at Lough Mask - win for Ireland

The Four Nations Home International was held on Friday the 11th of May 2018 on Lough Mask, Ballinrobe , Co.Mayo.
Ireland England Wales and Scotland took part in this competition as they have for many years before, The weather on the week of the ,match was not nice to say the least.
With high winds, rain and bright sunshine. Not ideal fishing conditions to say the least. But the Irish team had begun practice six weeks before the event and as everyone knows the more you practice the better you get. Through the guidance of our Player Manager Michael Monaghan, Captain Fantastic Mike Keady, Seamus O'Loughlin our fly tyer, and Gary Binley our team grew from strength to strength.

After weeks of practice in all sorts of weather, from flat calm to gale force winds, the Irish team left Cushlough bay at 10am on Friday morning and ventured out on Lough Mask for the final time. Waived to and cheered on by out familys and friends , the big question lingered in the back of our minds. Would the commitment to the team representing the 32 counties of Ireland and all the hours of practice, tying flies, traveling up and down to Lough Mask, taking holidays , being away from family pay off ?.
We would find out all find out at 6pm

The wind blew hard all day , with both sunshine and cloud cover at times. 28 boats get lost out on Lough Masks 22,0000 acres, so it was hard to see how my team members were doing. .After a tough day we headed to Cushlough Bay for the last 2 hour session of the day. It was here we finally met some boats, the few Irish boats we met had changed their team hats to bright green hats to indicate they had caught three or more fish. But how was everyone else doing. We were tied 1 fish all in my boat with English man Mark Mathieson, although i had put a lot of undersized fish back and dropped some nice fish, I only had one measurable fish on the card. Cushlough bay was beginning to fill as the end of the competition grew closer. I switched from small wets to buzzers and bung and was rewarded with a lovely 1.5lb fish, I had done all I could as we motored in for the weigh in. I felt things had not gone my way, but every member of our team I met had fish. The total grew and grew, Daven Egan had caught a staggering 8 fish beating Englishman and world reknowned fisherman Ian Barr who managed 6 fish. The Anticipation grew as rumours of small bags of fish from the English and the Scottish. But had Wales done enough to beat us on home soil, would it be bitter sweet once again.

England weighed in First - 23 fish
Ireland next - 45 fish
Scotland next - 20 fish

Wales were up next- we waited and waited for the news- I looked around me, all the Irish Team with their friends and family hugging and holding each other. Many had tried so many times before to claim the gold medal. All the effort, the struggle to be there . would it be our time, not just the 16 of us, the boatmen and friends like Mick Dunne, Peter Byrne, Tom Doc Sullivan, Ronan Cusack, the Ballinrobe club, surely we could not be denied this time.

Wales scores were tallied, and over the loudspeaker we heard "Wales 25 fish". The place erupted, some just stood there in disbelief like myself, there were tears , there were hugs but most of all a deep sense of pride, proud to have fished for your club and country, with honest decent anglers, with a Team of many more than the 14 Anglers and we all got our the just rewards. Never have I seen such happiness on so many faces.

The results were officially read out

Ireland-45 fish
Wales-25 fish
England- 23 fish
Scotland- 20 fish

The bay erupted again as champagne flew through the air, Mike Keady was lifted from where he stood and marched down to the lake and thrown into Lough Mask from the pier , Mike made sure he wasn't the only one going in and held our player Manager Michael Monaghan on his way. Both guys had given so much of their time and effort leading up to the match, it was great to see their huge smiles as they emerged from lough Mask

Michael Monaghan Secretary of the I.T.F.F.A. ..Manager and team member

"The I.T.F.F.A, would like to thank the Ballinrobe Club, in particular, Ronan Cusack, Denis Kelleher, Michael Vahey and Kevin Egan.They made the organisation look effortless.
To all the boatmen who supplied their boats and gave up their time to bring all the teams out on practice and match day. To Brenda Clarke and the staff of Breaffy house who looked after us so well for the week, A big thank you to Snowbee our clothing sponsor who had us looking sharp for the team photographs. And to Seamus O'Loughlin who tied flies for us and helped us in every way

Finally to the team, Seamus Kelly, Denis Goulding, Eoin Dunne, Terry Walsh, Dave Egan, Martin McGorian, Eddie Shanagher, Darren Maguire, Eddie Harte, Stephen Browne, Paddy Ward, Greg White, Michael Monaghan and Captain Mike Kiedy. Take a bow guys and bask in the glow of a fantastic achievement.

To our Captain Mike Kiedy who was the right man for the job and left no stone unturned in the pursuit of the dream of winning a Gold Medal at home , you did an unbelievable job"

That evening we had the award ceremony and everything went off without a hitch. Michael Monaghan is an out and out legend, he balanced work and home life with the huge commitment of managing and organising the whole event and also fishing on the team. I don't know anyone else that could of pulled it off so well. We are forever in your debt sir.

This team was selected to do this job, their commitment to each other and Ireland was never in question from day one. Under the watchful eye of the two Mikes we focussed on the job at hand and nothing else, Friendships for life were formed and a TEAM went and won gold on Lough Mask by more than 20 fish.


Latest comments

19.05 | 05:47

Hi Denis
Good meeting last night, and enjoyed reading your blog. Felt I was on the lake with you. Great work

02.05 | 20:42

Hi Dennis loved the article straight to the point .just wondered will the trout feed on the small buzzers all year ?

06.04 | 11:57

Cant wait to read this

01.03 | 03:03

glad u enjoy, ty, will be back when the fishing returns

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