The 55th Rossnowlagh Intercounties Surfing Championships ran at the weekend in Rossnowlagh on Saturday and Tullan Strand, Bundoran on Sunday with teams travelling from nationwide representing the land locked to wave rich counties with mixed heats of young & old, male & female, beginner, and pro representing all competing together for county glory.
Favourites going into the event were the Sligo Butter Biscuits, including Tom Murphy, Oscar Choo, Darragh Gilmartin & Lorcan Southcombe who won the event in 2022. The Lahinchers, including Odin Villarreal Josh Karbus, Conor Moroney and James Cloney representing Clare were expected to be their main challenger for the title. Clare seemed on a mission to take the title for the first time. However when the points were added up at the end of the first rounds the defending Champions found themselves in 3rd place, behind Clare in 2nd and another Sligo team, North Sligo Orks of Rory Muphy, Pauric and Daniel McSharry and Nicolas Howley each taking 1st in their heats to top the leader board.
The two Sligo teams joined, two Clare teams, Donegal, Leitrim, Tyrone and Antrim in the quarter finals. In the first quarter final, the top seeded team, North Sligo Orks, knocked out the Clare Wahines including Maria Butler, Sadie Shalloo, Natalie Karbus and Ruby Fanning, the highest placed Women’s team in the event. The second quarter final saw Tyrone, the only land locked county in the quarters, represented by Tiernan and Gavin McCrea, Neil Mellon and David Scallon progress as they overhauled Leitrim, Mathew Glenmarec, Fiona Dolan , Sophie Harding and Mia Bradley Evans. Quarter final three saw the young Clare team chasing their first title beat the seasoned Donegal Champions, including John Britton, Stephen Conwell, Kenneth Ward and Neil Britton. Reigning Champions, Sligo took on Antrim, with Albert Dallas, Ethan Hill, Croi Daly and Jack Griffin representing the county that first won the championships back in 1968.
In the first semifinal, Tyrone put in a solid performance against the early leaders, North Sligo Orks, but Rory Murphy (Sligo) took the win, Pauric McSharry (Sligo) 2nd, Tiernan McCrea (Tyrone) 3rd, Gavin McCrea (Tyrone) 4th, Nicolas Howley (Sligo) 5th and David Scallon (Tyrnoe) 6th, enough for the North Sligo Orks secured their place in the final.
In the second quarter final, Sligo faced off Clare’s challenge with a tight margin of 0.5 points between the top three surfers in the heat, Oscar Choo (Sligo) took 1st , Tom Murphy (Sligo) 2nd and Conor Moroney (Clare) 3rd delivering the best performance for Clare. Josh Karbus (Clare) and Darragh Gilmartin (Sligo) tied on points with Josh getting 4th on countback and Darragh 5th and Odin Villarreal (Clare) 6th.
This setup the unusual scenario where two Sligo teams contested the final for the Intercounties title. Oscar Choo had another excellent performance to take the heat win with teammates Darragh Gilmartin 2nd and Tom Murphy 3rd for a resounding victory over the up-and-coming younger Sligo team Rory Murphy, Daniel and Pauric McSharry and Nicholas Howley.
Congratulations everybody who competed and host Rossnowlagh Surf Club.