On Saturday June 7th Erne Paddlers hosted its first major canoe polo tournament outside Erneside Shopping Centre in Enniskillen. What was initially planned as a small gathering of clubs for a little polo fun soon mushroomed, by word of mouth, into a major polo fest involving over seventy adult and junior players from all over the North.
Visiting clubs included Ulster Canoe Polo Club, University of Ulster Jordanstown Canoe Club, recently formed Broighters Paddlers, Belfast Canoe Club, and Belfast Kayak Academy who brought thirty junior players. Under blazing sunshine, and on calm waters, participants battled it out on two pitches. The focus, this time, was not on celebrating winning teams but on fun and building up polo experience, especially for Erne Paddlers and Broighters. The event was watched by hundreds of visitors to the shopping centre who had never witnessed such a large gathering of canoeists before and who were ,no doubt, just a little bit envious of the fun being had on the water.
We are particularly grateful to Pete Boyle and his crew, Ray Sweetlove and Dillon for their organisation of matches and for refereeing. Also to parents and members of Erne Paddlers who collected goals and set up pitches. Erne Paddler juniors fought valiantly against Pete’s seasoned junior players who prevailed – THIS TIME!
We are also grateful to Fermanagh District Council and Waterways Ireland for their support. Erne Paddlers hopes to progress polo as a discipline and looks forward to future events.
Erne Paddlers Coaching Officer