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#teamracing – Keelboat team racing is developing fast. With events throughout Europe, most conveniently situated near an airport offering direct flights to Dublin, an inaugural European Championships in the Netherlands, 2K TR offers an international challenge to team racers.

Howth 2K will be sailed next weekend, 1st-2nd June. The event will be sailed in the Sailfleet J80s. 2K is sailed without spinnakers. Teams of
eight sailors will compete. See NOR to download below.

Teams entered include a Howth YC team, teams from various Irish universities and a visiting team from Edinburgh. Any team wishing to
compete should contact the Irish Team Racing Association immediately, as there are one or two places still available.

Please contact: [email protected] 0861501220

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The 2013 British Open Team Racing Championship for the Wilson Trophy was won by Wessex Exempt on Sunday in a thrilling best of five final sailed on West Kirby's marine lake. The six sailors overcame stiff competition from 34 teams from as far afield as America, Ireland and across the UK, eventually meeting Grafham Gorillas in the tense final round of the three-day event.

The top Irish team of four competing after 19 rounds was Dun Laoghaire's Royal St. George Knights in 12th place. Next was Howth in 17th, Royal Cork in 18th and Schull Youth 19th.

Wessex Exempt (Ben Ainsworth, Rachel Williamson, Jonathon Pinner, Kerry Capps, Tom Heywood, Catherine Friend) put in a consistent performance throughout the 323-race Swiss League preliminary rounds to qualify for the quarter-finals in second place, having won 14 of their 19 races.

Home-team favourites and current World Team Racing Champions, West Kirby Hawks, qualified at the top of the Swiss League, subsequently beating Royal Thames Yacht Club 2-0 in the quarters. But a shock 2-1 defeat in the semi-finals saw the home team favourites knocked out of the event by Grafham Gorillas.

After a solid performance in this morning's races, Grafham Gorillas found their form when it mattered, storming their way into the final having already beaten RF Hoosiers - over-night leaders who had been hotly tipped for the Trophy final – in the quarter final.

American team, Rhode Island Pistols, also sailed a determined series, making it to the semi-final only to find their boat handling skills coming under pressure in a 2-0 defeat by eventual winners, Wessex Exempt, who had previously dispensed with Spinnaker Auspicious in their 2-1 quarter-final match.

So it was Grafham Gorillas who faced Wessex Exempt in the best-of-five final.

As the teams took to the boats sailing a brand new flight of equally matched Fireflies - thanks to support from sponsor DHL – the cheers and shouts of support came from the crowds of spectators gathered in the grandstand and lining the shore of the marine lake. Sunshine and good breeze had the recipe for champagne team racing conditions, and the spectators were not disappointed.

Race one saw a win to Grafham following a penalty on the finish line, but Wessex came back with a stronger start to finish in a 1,3 winning combination in race two. The third race was closely contested, with boats from both teams taking penalty turns on the second leg, but Wessex gained the advantage on the run and held it to the finish.

The fourth race saw Grafham start strong; taking an early 1,2 combination, they consolidated their win with some text book team racing manoeuvres.

And so it came down to the final fifth race decider to determine who would be the new Wilson Trophy Champions. With a Grafham boat over the line, Wessex quickly took control, rounding the first mark in a solid 1,2 position which they never relinquished.

After crossing the finish line, both teams returned to the start area for the traditional sail past of the grandstand in front of the cheering crowds, with runners up, Grafham Gorillas, stopping their boats to applaud the winners in a true show of sportsmanship.

Speaking at the prize-giving, Commodore of West Kirby Sailing Club, David Taylor, who was also an umpire at this weekend's event, congratulated the competitors and said: "That was certainly one of the most sporting finals at the Wilson Trophy in a long time; it was fantastic to watch.

He added: "A huge thanks goes to all our sponsors - DHL, Carlsberg, GJW Direct, MI Finance, Speed Medical and Musto – and to the organisers and the volunteers of West Kirby Sailing Club for making the event possible."

Accepting the prestigious Wilson Trophy, Wessex Exempt team-member, Jon Pinner, said: "This is my tenth year at the Wilson Trophy, an event with an incredible history. Thank you not just to everyone at the event this year, but for the last ten years, and all the years before that. This event is a real institution. We have been smiling all weekend; it's been fantastic and we are delighted to have won. The cheering from the crowds on the last beat was amazing, and thank you to our friends, Grafham Gorillas, for a really fantastic final."

Winners of the Under 21 Trophy was Bristol University, who finished a credible 11th place overall. The Wilson Plate awarded to the first team not to make the quarter-final cut, West Kirby Sailing Club.

Of the 34 teams from USA, Ireland and across the UK, perhaps the team facing the steepest learning curve of all was the British Sailing Team, fronted by 2012 Olympic silver medallists, Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell. Although disappointed not to make the quarter-final cut, the duo found themselves inspired by this, their first ever team racing event.

Speaking after racing today, Stuart Bithell said: "The event has been unbelievable; we have had an amazing three days here. We may not have had such a great time results-wise ourselves, but today it has been an absolute pleasure to watch the world's best team racers here in action, and to watch our friends in the final. If only we had been able to see them show us how it's done beforehand, we could have brought a notebook! But there has been a brilliant atmosphere, and it's easy to see why this event just keeps getting bigger and better. We hope to be back next year!"

Visiting the event earlier in the weekend was John Derbyshire, RYA Performance Manager, who works closely with the British Sailing Team. He said: "This has been great opportunity for the British Sailing Team members to gain some exposure to team racing, which uses many of the skills needed for medal racing at the Olympics. It adds a whole new dimension which we hope will help these guys on their way to Rio 2016. We hope to encourage more members of the British Sailing Team to attend this event in future."

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Less than 48 hours remain until the start of this year's British Open Team Racing Championship for the Wilson Trophy (3-5 May). At 12 noon on Friday, all eyes will turn to West Kirby's Marine Lake to see if home team and current Team Racing World Champions, West Kirby Hawks, can defend their 2012 Wilson win against 200 other top sailors, amongst them, 2012 Olympic 470 silver medallists, Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell.

With 34 top teams from across the UK, Ireland and the USA, the calibre of the competition is in no doubt. Some 300 races are scheduled for the weekend; with 8am start times, the club's volunteer organisers are hoping to complete around 24 hours of racing.

Having made the final play-off for the last four years running, and having won the Trophy on two of those occasions, hopes are high amongst the West Kirby Hawks. Team captain, Andy Cornah, says: "We are feeling confident going into this year's Wilson, having performed well at all the big events - and done more training than previous years. We have a slight team update with me changing crew after sailing with Hamish Walker for nine years; I am now sailing with Charlotte Lawrence, an experienced team and match racer."

But could this crew change prove to be the chink in the Hawks' armour that the other teams will be hoping for? Interestingly, Hamish has made the switch from the Hawks to helm for Spinnaker, a highly experienced team that recently won the UK Team Racing Nationals title for the second consecutive year, which was also sailed on West Kirby waters. Hamish's fellow helms are Tom Hebbert, past World Team Racing Championship runner-up, and Sam Littlejohn of fleet racing fame; they will certainly be amongst the teams vying to make Sunday's quarter-final cut.

Now in its 64th year, the Wilson Trophy is credited with being not only the largest event of its kind in the world, but also the toughest. Andy continues: "There are lots of good teams this year, including Spinnaker, another West Kirby team, Wessex Exempt, Southampton Male Voice Choir, Royal Thames Yacht Club, plus strong US and Irish teams, and of course, the British Sailing Team, which will be really interesting to see how they get on."

Fronting the British Sailing Team are 2012 Olympic 470 silver medallists, Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell, who have teamed up with multiple national champion and past Endeavour Trophy winner, Christian Birrell. All three helms are relatively new to the team racing scene, but are looking forward to cutting their teeth at the world's premier team racing event.

Luke says: "I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to enjoy the sport outside the relentlessness of Olympic sailing. These moments don't often get to come around often, and you never know where you can learn lessons to take to Olympic racing."

Strong competition also comes from across the pond, with teams from Rhode Island and New York Yacht Club making the pilgrimage.

Mike Huang, who was a member of the New York Yacht Club team that won the 50th anniversary Wilson, is once again representing NYYC, and also believes the competition to be open this year.

He says: "Who will be the toughest opposition? Some years it's obvious and others, like this year, it's a complex question. Each team has a competitive cycle and when there have been US teams that have kept the same team while racing together each year, they become dominant as there are few who can manage the time to do so. Then team members begin to have stronger work commitments and as practice wanes, so do results and the team that was 'green' two or three years ago, has now risen to become quite crisp.

"This cycle can been seen globally and looking through that lens, this year's Wilson line up shows experience mixed with youth on many of the teams and I believe the game will be more wide open. We certainly have a lot 'under the hood,' and the hope is always that we knock enough dust off in the early rounds to charge in the qualifying rounds. If we get in there, you're likely to be quite entertained by our performance going forward!"

When it comes to youth teams, leading the charge for the Under 21 trophy will undoubtedly be Schull Youth team. The Irish youngsters have an excellent track record, winning the U21 category at this event last year, as well as the British Schools Dinghy Racing Association Team Race Finals, and having claimed a silver medal in the U21 category at the last World Championships.

Other young teams hoping to excel will be Magdalen College School, and a number of top university teams, including the current British University Champions, Bristol University.

The Wilson Trophy is sailed in a Swiss League format, ensuring that racing remains tight for all teams throughout the qualifying rounds on Friday, Saturday and early Sunday. Crowds of spectators are expected to pack West Kirby's lake wall in their thousands, taking advantage of free grandstand seating and live commentary, not to mention the chance to see two of Britain's Olympic heroes in action sailing just metres from the lake wall.

The final rounds are scheduled to take place on Sunday from 2pm, when the action reaches its climax, with the top eight of 34 teams entering a play off for the all-important final match.

All that remains now for the volunteer organisers at West Kirby Sailing Club is to make the final preparations before the teams and umpires arrive for the first round draw on Thursday evening, ahead of what should be an exciting and fun weekend for spectators and competitors alike.

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#wilsontrophy – Two Olympic silver medallists are set to take on West Kirby Sailing Club's home team plus other top teams from across the UK, USA and Ireland, as the world's largest team racing event, the British Open Team Racing Championship for the Wilson Trophy, is hosted by West Kirby Sailing Club over Bank Holiday weekend (3-5 May).

This year there will be four Irish teams competing from the Royal St George YC, Royal Cork YC,  Howth YC and Schull. Irish Umpires Cxema Pico and Gordon Davies will be part of the team of 25 umpires attending.

Amongst the 34 teams entered, the hot contenders for the Trophy win include special guest entry, British Sailing Team, fronted by 2012 Olympic silver medallists in the men's 470 class, Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell. The duo also have silver medals from World and European 470 Championships under their belts, and are both 2016 Rio Olympic hopefuls.

Explaining his motivation for entering the event, Bithell says: "The Wilson Trophy is an event I used to do as a crew when I was very young and I loved every minute. Now we are going there to improve our knowledge of the rules and how we can use them to our advantage in fleet racing."

Despite their outstanding fleet racing CVs, the pair is under no illusion that the event will be an easy ride. Patience says: "Given that we rarely team race, it's impossible to tell how well we will do. I am sure we will be targeted hard by the team racing world and shown how it's done!"
Patience and Bithell will be joined by third helm, Christian Birrell, who boasts National Championship wins in several classes, and is a former Endeavour Trophy winner.
Birrell competed at the UK Team Racing Championships also held at West Kirby Sailing Club in March and despite the weather was so enthused by the club and the competition that he was determined to come back for the Wilson Trophy with his Olympic friends. He says: "When I was invited to do UKTRA, I became a total convert to team racing. I've always listened to friends talk about the excitement in the build up to the Wilson Trophy and the tales which follow, and now I get that excitement!"
This talented trio forms the back-bone of the six-person team, with Lib Manser, Bethan Carden and a 'special guest' completing the line-up as crews.

The British Sailing Team will face particularly fierce competition this year, as the home team and current ISAF Team Racing World Champions, West Kirby Hawks, seek to defend their 2012 trophy win. Other contenders include the current UK National Team Racing Champions, Spinnaker Auspicious; as well as Royal Thames Yacht Club, Southampton Male Voice Choir, Grafham Sailing Club, Itchenor Sailing Club, Royal Forth Hoosiers and two other local West Kirby teams.

From overseas, New York Yacht Club's team has traditionally presented a strong challenge and is predicted to do so again this year. A team from Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Pistols, should also feature in the mix, along with three strong Irish teams representing Royal Cork, Royal St George and Howth Yacht Clubs.

Also competing will be several university teams, including recent BUSA winners, Bristol. Two school teams are also taking part in the form of RYA Youth Team Racing Champions, Magdalen College, and Schull Community College from Ireland who won the Under 21 category at the Wilson Trophy last year.

With so many top sailors vying to earn those all-important places in the quarters, semis and ultimately, the final, all eyes will be on West Kirby as the teams battle their way through the event's Swiss League format.

Commodore of West Kirby Sailing Club, David Taylor, says: "West Kirby Sailing Club is delighted to welcome our Olympic medallists to take part in this year's Wilson Trophy. The Wilson trophy is renowned for its very special atmosphere; and this is a fantastic opportunity to come and watch some of the world's finest sailors in action and to cheer on our Olympic heroes. This year promises a truly thrilling line-up."

The Wilson Trophy is the largest event of its kind in the world; now in its 64th year, the three-day team racing extravaganza takes place in the unique amphitheatre formed by West Kirby's Marine Lake.

With a premium on boat handling and close-quarters tactics, races are short and action-packed, taking place just metres away from the shore. The promenade and sea wall form ideal vantage points for spectators, with live commentary and grandstand seating, and flights of equally-matched colour-coded Fireflies, making the action easy to follow.

Racing takes place over three days, beginning at noon on Friday and at 8am on Saturday and Sunday. The finals are scheduled to commence at 2pm on Sunday. You can also follow the results at www.wksc.net/wilsontrophy

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#team racing – The Howth 2K keelboat team racing event will take place in Howth on 1st and 2nd June (with a practice session on 31st May). The event will be sailed in J80s writes Gordon Davies.

Expressions of interest have been received from several teams, including the leading Dutch 2k team, the current Irish Match Racing Champion and from leading team racers. A Notice of Race is attached below and ready for download.

2k is an exciting discipline in which two teams of 2 boats jockey for position to control boats from the other team. The outcome of the race is rarely settled until the last boat finishes – the team with boat finishing last loses. This is a recognised and developing branch of the sport with racing in the UK, the Netherlands, Monaco and Italy, plus new venues planned for later this year. The advantage for competitors is that they have no need to own let aloe transport a boat to an event. Fortunately, most venues are accessible via low-cost flight, making this the most economic form of international competition.

Entry for this event is restricted to eight teams. To secure an invitation, and for further details, please contact the Irish Team Racing Association at [email protected]

Entries must be confirmed before 1st May.

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#schoolteamsailing – Current Munster school sailing champions Schull 1 will go head to head with Leinster champions Kilkenny College for the Irish title this weekend when the Irish Schools Sailing (ISSA) Team Racing National Championships takes place in Schull, West Cork. 12 teams have qualified from there regional events with two teams travelling from the UK.

The Fastnet Trophy will be awarded to the first Irish Team Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded to the first three Irish teams.
The FMOEC Trophy will be awarded to the first overseas Team.

The qualifying teams are:
Schull 1
Schull 2
Schull 3
PBC
Rochestown
Scoil Mhuire
Kilkenny College
Gonzaga
Belvedere
St Andrews College
Mt Anville
Rice
MCS
Morespeed

Download NOR for the event below

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#teamracing – An Irish team has won a top Australian team sailing championship on Sydney Harbour.

The Gladiators - whose members have represented Ireland at almost all team sailing world championships since 2003 - have beaten 21 teams to take the New South Wales titles at Woolahra Sailing Club.
The NSW states, sailed in supplied 3.7m Pacer dinghies, is often more competitive and better-attended than the national championships.
The Gladiators were denied racing on the first day of the two-day event because of light winds on the short S-shaped course on Rose Bay on the first weekend of April.
And things were looking bad for a clean win on the Sunday with just four wins against two race losses.
But that was enough to slip into a tight three-race semi-final against Imperial Poona Yacht Club - captained by veteran racer Paddy Oliver (not Olliver), originally from Ballyholme, County Down, butbased in Melbourne.
Meanwhile, championship defenders and national match race champions Cruising Yacht Club Australia had lost the opposite semi to the unbeaten Sydney University.
Gladiators won the best-of-three final after only two races, scoring a 2,3,4 and a 1,3,6 in millpond conditions - making a miraculous recovery after a disastrous 2,5,6 windward mark rounding in the final race.
The six-strong team, accountant Sam Hunt, 30, Sydney/ Kinsale; carpenter and token Aussie Elliott Noye, 21, Hobart; journalist Conor Byrne, 29, Darwin/Skerries; engineer Claire Cassidy, 30, Sydney/Dublin; recruiter Gillian Burke, 28, Sydney/Howth; and Dr Frances O'Loughlin, 31, Nowra/Malahide; was third in the 2012 edition.

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#teamracing – The Royal St George Yacht Club continues to develop as the centre of team racing in Ireland. The "George Invitational" sailed on 23rd – 24th March marked another important step – with the inauguration of a flight of brand new Firefly dinghies.

Nine teams competed this year for the Invitational trophy The top Irish teams were competing: - the National Champions the George Knights; the newly crowned University Champs, University of Limerick and double School Champions (both UK and Ireland) from Schull Community College. Two teams from the UK competed, 'Spinnaker' and, above all 'Wessex Exempt' the current Irish Open Champions, who had drafted in World Champion Andy Cornah into their line up making them the pre-event favourites.

The weather did not cooperate. Event organiser Marty O'Leary, acting as OOD, ably assisted by Nin O'Leary and Richard Bruton did well to complete two rounds of sailing on Saturday in a gusty 25 knot south-easterly.

Competitors raced in the home club fireflies, 6 of which were the brand new Orange and Blue boats. The multiple mark rounding in winds gusting up to 30 knots meant for plenty of thrills and spills. With some marks within feet of the the East Pier the passing Saturday strollers were entertained by some skilled and spectacular sailing.

After an initial mini round robin, the 5 top teams went through to the Gold Fleet with the bottom 4 sailing in the Silver. After this round Wessex Exempt led the Gold Fleet with 3 wins, breaking the tie break with their Southampton rivals Spinnaker who also had three race wins. The home club's team the RSGYC knights had 2 wins to lie third, defending champions Howth Yacht club lay fourth with one win and the college stars of UL were fifth.

Sailors and Umpires enjoyed a great dinner in the Royal St. George's formal dining room on Saturday night, with Marty O'Leary acting as compere for the evening and encouraging each team to perform a party piece.

Sunday morning brought more South Easterly breezes but with winds now gusting 35 knots and an air temperature of 4 degrees, competitors, race committee and umpires were keen to stay ashore. A second Gold Silver league had been started on Saturday evening with the Knights making the early running. But ultimately the weather had the final say and the results of the previous Gold/Silver rounds determined the trophy.

So the team of Wessex Exempt ; Jon Pinner, Sharon Quigley, Andy Cornah, Rachel Williamson, Claire Lasko and Bethan Carden ended up winners of the 2013 RSGYC Invitational.

For further information on team racing in the Royal St George contact John Sheehy: [email protected]

For information on team racing in general contact Gordon Davies, Hon Sec Irish Team Racing Association: [email protected] and telephone 0861501220

Link to the latest Irish Team Racing News

Published in Team Racing

#teamracingThree days of great racing on Tralee Bay, snatched from under the decidedly unsettled Patrick's Day weekend weather, saw the annual Irish Universities Sailing Association (IUSA) team championship raced at full pressure from March 15th to 17th writes WM Nixon. University of Limerick (UL) took the title from University College Dublin (UCD) in a cliff-hanger finish for the Gold Fleet, while University College Cork 1 (UCC 1) topped the Silvers. And in a healthy geographical spread of champions which augurs very well for the growing strength of college sailing in Ireland, the Bronze Fleet was won by Queens University Belfast (QUB).

Traditionally, St Patrick's Day is when the keener Irish sailors take the winter covers off their boat. But the university year dictates that all college racing is done in the off season, and most of the 26 teams which descended on Tralee with snow and northerly gales forecast had already put in several team racing events in 2013.

They were rewarded by Tralee Bay having some of the best weather going in all Ireland for the long weekend. And with Commodore Pat Daly of TBSC heading up the support effort from a host club which is noted for its hospitality (and that in Kerry, which is Ireland's Hospitality HQ), the event went in great style, with 196 races completed to provide a comprehensive awards list.

Hosting club ULSC had its noted helm Robert O'Leary stand aside from sailing duties in order to put through the organizing of this hugely demanding series, and the Limerick college were supported in their administrative efforts by sponsorship from Ulster Bank, while Banna Beach Resort just up the Kerry coast from TBSC's base at Fenit were able to row in with accommodation support towards housing a total of 156 sailors.

There was an international element to the event, as the Scottish Universities Sailing Association (SUSA) sent a representative selected squad. But in the end, all the trophies stayed on the island of Ireland after three days of varying but sailable weather. The format meant that the Bronze fleet were decided first with QUB captained by Jack Alexander-Gebhard taking the title, and then in the Silvers UCC 2 captained by Robin O'Mahony had the best of it from UL2 captained by Peadar O'Suillebhan.

intervarsities2

Winning University of Limerick captain Ross Murray on Tralee Bay - he is also the current IUSA Sailor of the Year Photo: Cian Gallagher

In the Gold Fleet, UCC 1 (Rob Lehane captain) placed third, then in the final between UCD (captain Simon Doran) against UL captained by IUSA Sailor of the Year Ross Murray for best of five, it went to the wire with UL taking it on the line for three out of five wins.

With the team racing decided, this marks the conclusion of what could be called the college numbers game for 2013, although the UL team now have to go to England for the British Universities Team Opens at the end of April. But meanwhile elite crews are being selected by each university for the Irish selection trials for the Student Yachting Worlds in France. The selection will be a three day format, racing the ISA SailFleet J/80s (based this year in Howth) on April 6th, 13th and 20th. Interest is intense, as the Worlds will also be raced in J/80s, and Ireland will have two places. UCD well be there as of right, as current world champions, so there'll be a place for an additional Irish college team up for grabs in April.

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#teamracing – Eight Leinster schools gathered at the Royal St George Yacht Club on Sunday to battle for provincial bragging rights and coveted places at the Irish Nationals in Schull writes Heather King. The sailors raced in two six-boat flights of Firefly dinghies owned by the RStGYC, including one flight just out of the wrappers!
Under the stewardship of Organiser John Sheehy and Racing John Downey, the racing was slick and very competitive. Conditions were fairly light and tricky though, with the finish line just yards away from the changeover point halfway down the East Pier. Great spectating for competitors, parents and strollers.
After the twenty eight race round robin with each team racing seven times, a clear divide emerged with 4 teams ahead on 5 or 6 wins. Kilkenny College and Gonzaga both had six and St Andrews and Belvedere College were both on five. In the second half of the table Mount Anville emerged top on 3 wins with a young team that very nearly took one or two big scalps along the way. The other teams – Gonzaga B, St Gerards and a selection from Bray schools - all had their finer moments and consistently displayed great teamwork and camaraderie.

kkwinners

kilkennycollegewinners

Royal St. George organiser John Sheehy (left) with (top) Kilkenny College winners and (below) the third placed St. Andrews College team
By 1600 hours the harbour had become a glassy pond and despite an effort to run another round, the RO called a halt. The big round robin series decided the results with tie-breaks going the way of "who beat who" in individual matches.
This gave the title to Kilkenny College and their team of Heather O Connor, Conor O'Reilly, Scott Levie, Sean Landers, Douglas Elmes and Emily McGrath, with Gonzaga 2nd and St Andrews 3rd and Belvedere College 4th. Mount Anville in 5th took 1st all-girl team. It is top 5 that are guaranteed places at the All-Irelands in Schull on April 13,14.

Published in Team Racing
Page 9 of 12

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