The youngsters and the female competitors ensured a fantastic finale to the National Junior Pike Angling Competition which was held on Saturday, the 7th of September on Shantonagh Lough near Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan. In what was an exciting finish Ashlyn McCabe (under 18) and Eoin Sheehan aged 5 (under 13) won the much coveted title ‘National Junior Pike Angler of the Year’ .
Sponsored by Inland Fisheries Ireland, the Boyne Angling Centre and The Irish Federation of Pike Anglers this event was organised by the Pike Angling Federation. 68 boys and girls from all over Ireland competed for this title in two age categories; under 13s and under 18s. Heavy rain and wind made fishing conditions on the day difficult however this did not deter these youngsters all of whom stuck out the tough conditions. 15 pike were caught in total ranging in size from 8ozs to 8lbs 15ozs.
Minister Fergus O’Dowd TD, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and Dr Ciaran Byrne CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland presented the prizes, trophies and medals. The Minister congratulated all the youngsters who took part stating howdelighted he was to see so many young people at the competition from all over Ireland – Tullamore, Newry, Dublin, Longford and Ardee. He thanked Brendan O’Reilly and the team from the Irish Federation of Pike Anglers who worked tirelessly to organise the event and all parents and volunteers involved.
In what was a close competition from start to finish, the winners were awarded the National Junior Pike Angling Cup sponsored by Irish Federation of Pike Anglers, a trophy from Wee County Trophies, tackle equipment and all competitors received a medal sponsored by Inland Fisheries Ireland.
Prizewinners at the event included the following:
Under 18 National Junior Pike Angler of the Year – Ashlyn McCabe (age 14) from Newry Pike Angling Club. In second place was Luke Everard, 3rd place Harry McCooey and 4th place Sean McCooey.
Under 13 National Junior Pike Anglers of the Year Eoin Sheehan (age 5) from Dun na Ri Angling club, in Co. Meath. In second place was Cliodhna McKenna (age 5) from Keady and District Angling club.
Team Event: 1st Place: Newry Pike Angling club, 2nd Place: Keady & District Pike Angling Club, 3rd place Newgrange Active Angling club.
Heaviest fish of all of the qualifierswent to Jamie O’Reilly (age 13) from Newgrange Active Angling club with a pike of 11lbs 15 ozs which he caught from the Dromore system in Ballybay.
Heaviest bag of the competition went to Ashlyn McCabe for 9lbs 15ozs.
The Irish Federation of Pike Anglers Junior National Pike Championships has been running for approximately 10 years and is a great way of introducing young anglers to the exciting sport of competition pike fishing. The finalists were selected through a process of 11 qualifier rounds which were run throughout the year at different venues around Ireland. The participation of youth in angling is a key objective of Inland Fisheries Ireland and it works with many angling organisations such as the Irish Federation of Pike Anglers to encourage young people into the sport of angling.