World Club Feeder Fishing Championships: Lurgan club makes history in Portugal

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Members of Lurgan Coarse Angling Club made history in Portugal at the recent World Club Feeder Fishing Championships, becoming the first club from across the island of Ireland to win silverware at back-to-back tournaments.

The Co Armagh-based club won the competition in 2023, becoming the first Irish club to win the global accolade. This year saw them narrowly missing out on top spot, coming second to a Portugese team.

The club was represented at the event on Odivelas Dam, Alvito, by David Herron (Caledon), Johnny Mckinley (Lurgan), Philip Harten (Ballymoney), Jim Mcallister (Craigavon) and Kevin Maguire (Newry) and supported by Geoffrey Mckinley (Lurgan) and Willy Gracey (Craigavon).

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A total of 28 teams from 17 countries participated in this year’s event, with a point being received for where your competitors finish after each day of competition.

Geoffrey Mckinley, David Herron, Johnny Mckinley, Philip Harten, Jim Mcallister, Kevin Maguire and Willy Gracey. (Pic: Contributed).Geoffrey Mckinley, David Herron, Johnny Mckinley, Philip Harten, Jim Mcallister, Kevin Maguire and Willy Gracey. (Pic: Contributed).
Geoffrey Mckinley, David Herron, Johnny Mckinley, Philip Harten, Jim Mcallister, Kevin Maguire and Willy Gracey. (Pic: Contributed).

The home side accumulated 47 points over the two days of fishing (June 1 and June 2), while Lurgan, captained by Johnny, finished with 50 points.

A club from Hungary earned the bronze medal, finishing on 52 points.

Johnny, who was part of the victorious five-man team representing Ireland to claim first place at the World Feeder Championships in Merida, Spain, earlier this year, was also part of the Lurgan team to win gold last year.

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Speaking to the Lurgan Mail, Johnny explained: “It’s brilliant to have finished second. We went there with such a small squad and we were fishing for fish we wouldn’t usually be fishing for.

"We made it to this year’s tournament without having to go through qualifiers as we were the reigning champions, having won it in Monaghan last year.

“We brought five people out, along with my dad, Geoffrey and Willy Gracey.

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Lurgan angler makes history at World Feeder Championships

“After the first day of fishing, we were 12th overall with 32 points. The Portugese team, who would go on to win gold, had 12 points after day one.

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"We got 18 points on day two, to finish on 50 overall. We didn’t think we would be in contention for a top-three place, but our performance on the second day helped us climb to the silver medal spot.

"Congratulations to the winning team. Having won in Monaghan last year, we know how hard it it to compete on home soil and the associated pressure. To get a score of 12 over five anglers is very impressive.”

Detailing how “special” it was to have his dad with him, Johnny added: “My dad was a founding member of Lurgan Coarse Angling Club in 1981. He had never been to the World Championships before. He’s the one who taught me how to fish.

"To have him sitting with me over those two days and for him to see us get silver, as well as receiving a medal himself, it was just really special.

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"Lurgan has been successful domestically over the years and with over 50 members, would be one of the strongest across Ireland.

"We’ve won domestic awards, but this last couple of years with winning the World Championships and then coming second in 2024, that’s the pinnacle.

"We’re going to have to qualify for the 2025 World Championships in Serbia, with the qualifiers set to take place in Connacht in August. Finishing second is spurring us on to hopefully go and get the gold again.”

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