All-Ireland Field Championships 2016.

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Personally, I think the big news from this two day event, held at Tinnehinch Farm (Dargle Valley) by Wicklow Archers, was the weather. Spring weather arrived at just the right time for what is the opening competition of the season in the South. Up North they’ve been plugging away in some very wintery conditions (which haven’t prevented some great scores being put in). Two very similar days, cool but not cold at the necessary early start. The sun shone for different parts of each day and it was warm enough to really make a difference. Despite this the days were mainly cloudy which in conjunction with light winds and mild temperatures made for excellent shooting conditions.

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Office area.

 

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Practice/Warm-up butts.

Nineteen clubs presented 60 archers for the competition with the biggest contingents being from the host club and Ballyvally Archers Banbridge. Also present were archers form the Irish Field Archery Federation, adding to the variety of styles and general jovial atmosphere of the gathering. 14 Recurve archers, 13 Compound archers, 5 Longbow archers, 5 Instinctive archers and the biggest contingent, 22 barebow archers.

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All this offers a great opportunity to renew old friendships and catch up on news in different areas and different clubs.

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It’s a Wicklow Archers course so it’s just not going to be easy, and though the organisers may change around for each event, that feature is constant. I don’t think it was the most difficult course ever presented there but there was only one, perhaps two targets, that you might say had level shooting with flat footing.

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Sharp down

After a season spent shooting indoors at short distances the longer shots and uneven footing really throw your mental game and form, making you wonder how you could possibly shoot so badly at that distance at that size face.

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The shorter unmarked bunny targets may seem like they should be easy but the short distance needed allows for the targets to use some of the short vertical ground conditions. One in particular played hell with my line on both days with two of the arrows at good height but off to one side until I admitted defeat and aimed off.

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Another cruel target situation is one where it occurs to you as you stand at the peg judging the distance, that as you’re shooting  one of the faces on the slope side, if you miss it’s good bye to the arrow… with that slope on that side, you’d never find a wayward arrow.

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The longer targets are generally located in the open area between the bends of the river Dargle. The distance is sufficient to ensure a good difficulty level but full advantage was taken of the slight gradients available and the empty pond in the middle of the area.

It’s a little early for the Wild Garlic (Ramsons) to be in bloom (though the leaves are making good progress) and the branches are still bare. The odd bit of colour could be seen.

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And as befits the Spring time, there was a little of the Mad March Hare around too:

 

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On the club front, South East Archers brought home a bronze medal and a qualifying score for the WFAC  2016.

Well done Jane. The Ladies shot some really good scores with a new Irish record set by Orla O’ Connor.

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Ours thanks go to the Wicklow Archers Production Team.. Ron, Jay, Stephen, Rohan, Shay, Matze, Colm, and the judges.. Alan, Barry and Shannon.

And all the others I’ve missed out on.

Looking forward to the next one!

 

Full results here.

 

 

 

 

 

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