Report courtesy of the National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland:

Team Ireland Feeder finish 6th with a Silver Medal for Michael Buchwalder, second individual at the 11th FIPSed Feeder Fishing World Championship for Nations.

Originally due to take place in the Ukraine, the FIPSed event was hosted by Maasvissers Geistingen in Limburg, Belgium. Whilst the River De Maas makes for a stunning match fishing facility accommodating the 23 participating nations, it is also proved to be a difficult one, with varied sections and somewhat peggy, so a good draw really comes into play onto this venue.

Hampered by the pandemic it’s the first time Team Ireland Feeder have been back on the world stage since the World Games of 2019. NCFFI Manager Brenton Sweeney who led the team to a silver medal on Inniscarra Lake in 2014 and his co-manager Roger Baker presented a squad with a combination of knowledge and experience with upcoming new talent. World Champion Youth Angler Charlie Richards joined team members Michael Buchwalder, Johnny McKinley, Tony Hopkins, Rimantas Kondrackas and James O’Doherty representing clubs from across the island.

Team Ireland L-R Front James O’Doherty, Michael Buchwalder, Rimantas Kondrackas, Tony Hopkins, Brenton Sweeney (Manager). Rear Charlie Richards, Johnny Mckinley

Aside from the logistics of travel, the transportation of groundbait and equipment there is the all-important preparation with support throughout provided by Jack Houldsworth, Nigel Houldsworth, Sharon Sweeney, Nick Richards, Sharon Sweeney and local angler Dirk Maes.

Training commenced with the team fishing each of the sections in the five days preceding the competition played over Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th October.

Day One – The team didn’t fare well at the draw but Michael Buchwalder put in an outstanding performance for 251 small fish and 2.44kg for 3rd in section. James O’Doherty in Section A also had a good day with 4 bream and a handful of roach for 8.550kg and another section 3rd. Charlie Richards had a good start with 67 fish in the first hour on Section C, finishing with 120 fish for 2.9kg and 14th in his 23-man section. Despite all efforts Rimantas Kondrackas and Tony Hopkins had a tougher day on B and D. The team finished the day in 13th position. Michael and James finished in the top 15 as individuals.

Michael Catch Shot Day One

Day Two – Saw a change in weather with a 5°C start and the lake switched off. In Section A the bream pegs had dominated on Saturday, but it was Michael’s 38 fish including a 2lb roach that gave him the section win with 5.340kg and the silver medal. Johnny McKinley who had come into play today in place of Rimantas fished well for 3.280kg and 5th in Section B as did Tony Hopkins making his debut at the championships finishing 11th in Section for 3.640kg. U20 World Champion Charlie Richards had the small fish Section E fishing well for joint 8 in section with 1.430kg in his first appearance at senior level. Finally in Section C, James O’Doherty spent the day in battle with Serbian Steven Cvetic on the next peg. The Serb came out victorious fishing 3rd in sector with 5.770kg to James’s 5.540kg for 4th. The two young internationals finished the championships side by side ranking 4th and 5th as individuals and received a certificate from FIPSed in recognition for their placement.

L-R 2nd Silver Michael Buchwalder, Ireland World Champion Gold Jose Maria Macias, Spain 3rd Bronze Josef Konopasek, Czech Republic

The team finished with a brilliant 29.5 points to win the match on day two. A great come- back, moving them from 13th to 6th place in the championships. Michael Buchwalder also became the first medal winner in this discipline for Ireland. A massive achievement all round.

Team Ireland Full Squad

Team Manager Brenton Sweeney commended the team’s performance:

“I’d like to thank every member of the team for their efforts this championships and to everyone who supported us out in Belgium. To the NCFFI and our sponsors and everyone at home who supported our fundraising and for their kind messages of support during the last week”.

Chair of the NCFFI, Jack Tisdall added:

“This is a massive moment for Ireland as the team led by Brenton achieve their first individual medal in this discipline having won Silver as a team in 2014. Particularly poignant is the opportunity for our youths reaching the world stage representing the efforts of the federation over the years. Congratulations to all”.

Michael celebrates with Team Manager Brenton

The NCFFI is the only representative body affiliated to Fédération Internationale de la Pêche Sportive en Eau Douce, FIPSed for coarse and predator angling. All its members can apply to fish as the non-funded body raises funds to support representation at this level. Travel to the championships was made possible this year with groundbait sponsorship from Van Den Eynde groundbaits and funding from Jason Martin Kitchens and Draper Tools.

Michael Buchwalder on podium