This report from South Shore SAC on their recent events:

Tommy Keogh Open

It was a day fittingly enough sent from heaven for the inaugural Tommy Keogh Open on Saturday, September 2nd! Tommy was a legend of Irish Match Angling & one of the founder members of Southshore SAC. A massive thank you must go to both the Keogh Family & Frank Baxter for their hugely generous sponsorship of the event. It was with great pride the club hosted the competition as part of our summer festival, which boasted anglers from Kerry, Cork, Northern Ireland and everywhere in between!

In short sleeves and sun cream weather, 56 Anglers took to the beaches of Ballinoulart & Morriscastle in bright sunshine! A south easterly blow on the previous Thursday had put a nice colour in the water and hopes were high of a few fish!

In zone A, Tommy Fogarty (back after a short hiatus on the Open Scene) was straight back into the groove on the end peg (no 1) in Ballinoulart. Utilising his family tactic of fishing primarily in Welsh Waters, he was consistently pulling dabs while those around him on the low numbers struggled in many cases fishing for them scarce flounders in the gutter. Following Tommy’s lead, many anglers followed suit and went out over the bank where Alby Allan was rewarded with a hard fighting Smoothound of 86cm winning the round pool in zone A.

The other end of the zone was a similar affair, with Eamon Bermingham & Joe Carley (another two stalwarts of the match scene) slugging it out in a distance fishing masterclass, landing dabs, dogfish, gurnards & an odd flounder.

In Zone B on Morriscastle the fishing had been better, a flurry of flounders were evident both in the gutter and over the sandbar! Brendan Wall had set a scorching early pace with 12 flounders while some around him struggled! Again some anglers opted to fish out, and (that name again) Noel Fogarty was rewarded with a cracking 89cm Smoothound on his first cast to take the round pool in zone B. As the fishing progressed, Thomas Keogh & Darren Ryan were absolutely flying in the 2nd half of the match, almost going fish for fish with both anglers finishing up on an impressive 24 fish! Another angler deserving of mention is Stephen Byrne of Ringsend & Irishtown SAC who fished the competition with two broken wrists (yes, you read that correctly), who amazingly picked up 20 flats to post an excellent score. Indeed it was great to see so many relatively new faces from Ringsend & Irishtown fishing and featuring in the prizes also!

Also in zone B, young Adam Watchorn fished brilliantly to surpass many seniors but also crucially winning the Tommy Keogh Junior Cup. Almost as important – he beat his dad as well!

In the final shake-up, it was incredibly fitting that Thomas Keogh won the competition, just edging Darren out in zone B. We don’t know if there was any divine inspiration, but when he trailed Brendan by 12 – 0; somebody may have had a word on his behalf somewhere! In zone A, Eamon Bermingham, life long Southshore Member and son of the Late Great Eddie (another founding member of Southshore) took the win.

The final matter to sort was the Leinster Open Gold, that went as follows;

  • Gold Medal – Thomas Keogh
  • Silver Medal – Darren Ryan
  • Bronze Medal – Brendan Wall

Overall it was a fantastic day and competition, finished off in fine style in the Upton Court and a match which is sure to become a permanent & prestigious fixture on the match fishing calendar.

Mick Kearney Open

Our Indian Summer continued on Sunday, September 3rd, to welcome an impressive 64 anglers, all competing to get their names on the much-coveted Mick Kearney Senior & Junior Cups. Once again – the support & sponsorship of the event from Ross Engineering & The Kearney Family really elevates this competition into being one of the most prestigious competitions run annually in Ireland.

The match was split into three zones, one each on Morriscastle, Tinnebearna & Ballinamona. Hawaiian Tropic & hats were the order of the day as the anglers made their way to their pegs in anticipation. Zone A on Morriscastle started very brightly with the majority of anglers picking up an early few fish. Indeed Junior Angler Saoirse O’Driscoll took an overall early lead with some cracking flounders off peg no 4. Arunas Cirkelis was also catching very well early on. The presence of swimmers can often be much maligned by anglers, but the people in the water in the designated swimming zone had the fortunate effect of driving a head of flatfish toward the low numbers! Alby Allan (Peg 1) & Ruairi Coleman (Peg 2) took full advantage & had a great battle over the afternoon catching consistently, mainly flounders but with a few bass mixed in, in the bright conditions.

In Zone B Aidan O’Sullivan (all the way from Tralee) was catching steadily, as was young Aaron Willet & The Flounder Whisperer himself Shay O’Neill (A previous Winner of the Mick Kearney). Zone B was to be a very tight affair with only a couple of fish separating the first 4 anglers! Some anglers had rigs destroyed by silver eels, but were more than consoled at the decent points that tally up as a result! Final tally saw Aidan win, Shay second, and previous days winner Thomas Keogh take a very strong third place in the zone.

If Zone B was a tight affair, Zone C was a demolition job by the aptly named Gordy Hardman! It’s little known that Gordy & Ian Daly have a holiday slush fund for their annual fishing trip to Kerry that they “invest” any winnings in during the year. Gordy had been delinquent in his lodgements this year, but he has more than made up for that with his performance on Sunday with an impressive 10 fish haul to win the zone comfortably. Although unconfirmed, Ian has taken a cut of the winnings to go see a chiropractor in an attempt to fix his bad back after months of carrying Gordy! 2nd in Zone C, adding to his very strong showing the previous day was ultra consistent Ireland Senior Shore Men’s Team Manager Joe Carley. Another travelling Angler – Brian Mansfield finished third in the Zone, great to see the travelling anglers rewarded for their efforts!

As the clock ticked to 5 o’clock it became clear that Morriscastle was the zone to be in, and sure enough Alby had just done enough to pip Ruairi for both the zone & overall, with Stephen Glynn again featuring very strongly to take third in the Zone. The draw was all important – and interestingly Alby had plenty of help from Saoirse who managed to draw out an end peg special – well done Saoirse! The winner of the Junior Competition was Aaron Willet who had fished excellently up in Tinnebearna with a bag containing flounders, bass & eels. Runner-up in the Juniors was Saoirse O’Driscoll who was just edged out on fish length, having the same number of fish as Aaron.

It was back to the Upton Court for the presentations & all important raffle. It was a terrific prize table and extremely well supported by the anglers. Eugene Andrews is a superb angler, but he is a world class raffle hustler, as time and again he walked to the prize table, firstly to cheers, then to some moans and subsequently a chorus of boos! Joking aside, the raffle is a very important part of the fundraising for Heart Children Ireland so a massive thank you to all the anglers who supported it over the weekend. Special mention to several anglers who donated cash prizes they won at the weekend to the charity, a fantastic gesture thank you very much! Final count on Fundraising for the weekend was €1,725 – absolutely brilliant!

“The Mick Kearney” has always been a brilliant standalone competition in the calendar, now combined with the Tommy Keogh Open as part of an annual festival of shore angling, The Southshore Committee have already begun planning for next years event to make it bigger & better, and give anglers the opportunity of two days fishing on the fantastic Wexford beaches, with the option of the overnight stay & socializing!

Wicklow to Wexford sea fishing