Three Mayo ladies were members of the Irish Ladies Fly Fishing Association team who won the Ladies Flyfishing International against England, Scotland, and Wales in Caragh Lough in Co. Kerry on the 11 -13th June.
Dorrie Gibbons, Julie McGeever, and Carmel Kelly helped Ireland win “Gold” by taking first place – and by a sizable margin. England was second, Wales third and Scotland took fourth place.
Dorrie Gibbons from Cong was making her ninth appearance on the Irish team. Dorrie first fished when she was five years old. Taught by her late father Dick Gibbons, she first represented Ireland in 1995 international which was fished on Grafham Waters in England.
She was the first Irish Lady to win the”Heaviest Fish Trophy” for Ireland, receiving the “Janette Taylor Trophy”. She has competed in many competitions throughout the country with good success. She also fished the “Bob Church Classic” on Rutland Waters in 2010 and was the “Top Lady Angler”.
Her main fishing waters are the beautiful Corrib and the majestic Mask. She also has a passion for fly fishing salmon. She is the Hatchery Manager for Salmo Salar Ltd, Fisheries Conservation, based in the ESB Salmon Hatchery in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal. They stock the Erne catchment with wild salmon unfed fry, parr and smolts.
Julie McGeever, who lives in Foxford, is a native Freshford, Co. Kilkenny, and was making her eight appearances on the Irish team.
She took up fishing during her time at Healy’s Hotel, well-known anglers hotel,l in Pontoon. Her favourite lakes are Lough Corrib at the Mayfly time, and Lough Mask for the World Cup.
Her first cap was Llyn Brenig in 1998. She was team co-ordinator on two occasions at internationals in Rutland Waters and Loch Leven.
She is a full-time student in an Honours Business degree in GMIT Castlebar, in Political Economy and Corporate Ethics.
Carmel Kelly from Knockmore was making her tenth appearance on the Irish team.
Carmel’s home house was on Glass Island in Lough Conn; so fishing is a big part of her life. She has been involved in the Irish Ladies Team since its inception. She is married to Padraic Kelly who is also an Irish International angler, as are two of her sons and two of her daughters.
The 2013 team was captained by Julie Gerry from Maynooth, Co Kildare.
The team was coached by Denis Cronin from Macroom Co. Cork and Allen Griffin from Tralee, Co Kerry, who was the team fly tier.
Ireland took six of the first seven top positions in the International, Top overall Lady went to Linda Straghan, from Ireland, catching thirteen Brown Trout, Linda, from Co. Armagh, also was top Irish Rod. The Longest fish caught went to Sue Shaw from England, with a fifteen inch Brown Trout.
The competition was run as a “Catch and Release” event. Competitors used barbless hooks allowing all fish to be returned ensuring the level of stocks of beautiful brown trout in the lake remains unchanged.
Tuesday and Wednesday, the two practice days, the weather was mixed and spells of soft rain and warm sunshine, and a southerly wind with an air temperature of 11c.
On Thursday, the competition day, the weather started with one heavy shower and for the rest of the day there was a lot of cloud cover and a change in the wind to a westerly direction, the air temperature was 17c.
The four countries were escorted up the river behind the safety boat, and released into the lake with boats scattering in all directions to take up their positions.
Denis Cronin, the Irish Coach, who has a specialised interest in Brown Trout, brought out his firm and fair approach to the thirteen Irish ladies, guiding them to their second Gold Medal.
Bio Security measures were closely followed during the competition to ensure Caragh Lake was kept free of invasive species. Inland Fisheries Kindly supplied net and boot dips.