Historic victory for Laois men in famous Liffey Descent race

Historic victory for Laois men in famous Liffey Descent race

Finbar O’Donovan, Brian Ogilvie & Jim Tierney (Laois Kayak & Canoe Club) at the 2018 International Liffey Descent. Pic: Mick Feeney.

Members from Laois Kayak & Canoe Club paddled their way to the gold medal at the 2018 Liffey Descent in an exciting race which saw carnage on the big weirs for the less experienced.

The team of Brian Ogilvie, Finbar O’Donovan and Jim Tierney who entered the Canadian Triple class are all members of the successful Durrow based club. With more than 500 kayakers from all over the world arriving at the K Club in Straffan, Co Kildare last Saturday, they knew that this year’s Liffey Descent would be different from all the others.

A summer of drought meant that there was no up-stream flood release by the ESB and the low water levels would make this race a very technical and challenging one. The gruelling 32km long race with 11 weirs and one portage is now a major event on the International calendar and the trio were aware that they were up against strong competition.

Finbar O’Donovan told the Leinster Express .“The key to the race was getting a strong start and reading the river correctly. We knew that it would spell disaster if we took the wrong route over the high drops. Luckily, we got everything right on the day.”

With a winning finishing time of 3 hours 50 minutes, it was by far the toughest race that the lads had paddled, but this made winning all the sweeter. A first Liffey Descent gold medal ever for any Laois club.

Congratulations also to club members Seamus Byrne, Matt McGrath, Patrick Marshall, Catherine Byrne who finished the race with good times.

About The Club

Based in Durrow, Laois Kayak and Canoe Club is involved in many different types of kayaking and canoeing, ranging from white water river-running and canoe polo to freestyle play boating and flat-water racing.

The Club aims to introduce everyone to the sport of kayaking, and caters for every level of skill, from complete beginner to expert paddling. The club is affiliated with Canoeing Ireland (ICU) and has its own ICU qualified instructors.

All paddler training and progression follows Canoeing Ireland's skills award programmes and the club can certify to this standard. Web: or Facebook:

Contact: Brian Ogilvie, mob. 086 1739029, email.

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