Laois community kept game of canoe polo going for 24 hours

The world record attempt took place at the weekend

A total of 221 people took part in a 24 hour Canoe Polo Extravaganza in Ballacolla at the weekend in the hopes of setting a Guinness World Record.

The event was held by The Woodenbridge Paddlers group and there was a huge turnout from the local community.

No record has ever been set for the longest canoe polo event but a representative from Guinness World Records was on hand to verify the attempt.

While the official results have not been confirmed, Michael G. Phelan, one of the organisers of the event, confirmed that the canoe polo was successfully kept going for 24 hours.

"A representative from Guinness World Records was on hand. He did not say much, he came back and forth, he will be in touch later and it will be taken from there," he said.

"We had a huge turnout, we kept the ball rolling for 24 hours, hundreds of people took part on the water. Even during the night at three and four o’clock in the morning we were able to keep them on it," he said.

The event ran from 2pm on Saturday, July 22 until 2pm on Sunday, July 23.

Families and clubs made up teams who did shifts on the water playing canoe polo.

Some of the brave groups that are willing to put in a shift in a canoe overnight for a good cause include Harps Camogie Club, Laois Camogie Club, Cullohill Handball Club, Durrow Scouts, Rathdowney Scouts, Ossory Cycling Club, Durrow and Cullohill Parish Anglers Association, Ballacolla GAA and much more.

Anyone who took part by getting into a canoe on the river was counted as helping towards the goal.

"Some local people just got on the river who never did before but they just wanted to be a part of it and small children were taking part to get their name down," Michael added.

Michael Creagh played music on Saturday evening and local people pulled together to create the event.

"Credit is due to the Ryan family and Cannon family for use of the sites, thanks to David Holland for the marquee, Joe Dooley and Seamus Duggan who done all of the electrical work and generators, Anthony Phelan for lights and Hilda Bailey and her helpers who had a barbecue going all night and day, everybody got fed," Michael said.

The huge community event was in aid of The Cuisle Centre, a registered charity in Laois offering professional support to people diagnosed with cancer and to their families.

The total amount of money raised has not been counted yet but Michael is confident it is a "decent" sum. 

"A decent amount of money is expected. There is still sponsorship cards out that have to be collected and counted as well as the online. I would say it will be a nice little sum when it is gathered up," he said.

If you would still like to contribute to the total sum of money raised you can do so here.


Photos by Alf Harvey.

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