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World title for Tug-O-War team 26.02.08

Story: Inishowen Independent

THE TUG of War World Championships in Faenza, Northern Italy, witnessed a truly dramatic conclusion to the 640kg category on Saturday when the Clonmany B team beat all the odds to lift the gold medal and were crowned world champions.
The story of this triumph started 12 months ago when the senior members of the team, namely the captain Pat Doherty (PV), and vice captains Daniel Doherty (Ranty) and Kevin McLaughlin decided that a new approach was needed in order to reach the pinnacle of the sport. The squad that included Steven McDaid, Christy McDaid, George Jackson, brothers Michael and Aiden Doherty (Andy) and Daniel Junior and Patrick Doherty (Ranty) committed themselves to a punishing training schedule that they hoped would bring them close to contention.
Their training and nutritional regime was strictly applied by their trainer Peter Doherty (Saddler), manager of The Gym, Carndonagh. Under the experienced tuition of Peter McLaughlin (Oggie) and James Cannon on the rope, the pieces started to come together and Clonmany B began to resemble contenders by the time they arrived in Italy.
Clonmany World Champs in action.
However, all that preparation had to be put to good use in the fine 3,000 seat arena in Faenza on the day and the team were taken by surprise in the first meet by the unorthodox Italian champions Torino, but they recovered sufficiently to win both pulls. The Swiss club champions Stans were the next victims as the Bís got into their stride. The preparation in training becoming evident as the team grew stronger by winning the next three meets without difficulty against Spanish national champions Abidinio, another Italian team and the French club representatives Nappurak as they progressed as group winners into the quarter finals.
Scottish champions Ayrshire awaited and in the tensest contest so far, the B team eventually won through. Pre-tournament favourites Kilroe were the Bís semi-final opponents, and many observers felt that this would be the end of the road, but the Clonmany menís superior strength and hunger took the English champions 2-0 much to the surprise of everyone except the squad themselves.
The final promised to be a titanic battle against the Irish heavyweights Mountain View. The first pull saw the Louth men take the B team forward on the mat for the first time since the opening contest and tensions were high among the Clonmany contingent. But the effort of gaining five foot proved exhaustive and when the Bs began to apply pressure the Mountain View men were progressively dragged up the mat. With one pull left for gold the B team showed no mercy in the ultimate contest and from the outset and were in complete command to pull themselves to glory and the gold medal.
Earlier on Saturday the Carndonagh team represented themselves with great courage in the 560kg event when they were narrowly beaten to the bronze in the third place play off. The Carn men had emerged out of a very tough group and could not find enough reserve in the semis to get themselves a final berth. A demanding travelling schedule that had seen the boys having to be on the road for 18 hours in order to reach the venue and get weighed in, took its toll.
Nonetheless they can feel justifiably proud of their achievements and this was rewarded as the team was requested to represent Ireland in that weight category and with the assistance of Patrick Doherty (Ranty) they succeeded in winning the bronze. This success once again defeated the odds and was a testament to the spirit of the team as they had to recover from a shaky start.
The 600 kg category that took place in Friday morning left another opportunity for the same B squad that had won the 640 gold to add to their medal haul. The groups were bigger in this contest but the boys looked to be in good shape to progress out of theirs until a controversial refereeing decision by a Dutch judge during the Bís pull against crack Dutch outfit, and eventual bronze medallists Lagerwij, proved to be their undoing.
The ref inexplicably granted two cautions against the Clonmany men and these cautions later proved to be their undoing as both teams ended up on the same points but the B team were eliminated as a result of having more reprimands. Therefore their chance of further silverware was cruelly taken away from them and the men from the Netherlands progressed to the semis.
Despite this setback the Clonmany B team are delighted to take home the World Championship trophy to Inishowen and have done the peninsula proud.
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