River Barrow: Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Fishing Competition 2015

The annual Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Angling Competition 2015 for people with disabilities kick started the Bagnelstown Summer Festival in style last Friday 17/07/2015. The event is held on the River Barrow upstream of Bagnelstown, Co. Carlow on a section of towpath modified for wheelchair accessibility, the brain child of local keen angler Michael Lyons Snr, who was sadly deceased before he could see his idea become a reality. Today his son Michael aided by a host of volunteers ensures that this wonderful piece of social infrastructure is utilised as was intended while also celebrating the memory and traditions of his late father.

Micheal Lyons Jnr who runs the annual Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Fishing match for people with disabilities, Bagnelstown, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

Blessed with bright sunshine tempered with an odd shower, well it is Ireland, 22 volunteers helped organise the eventual 45 competitors and their respective carers who traveled from far and wide to their respective pegs. Accents from Cork, Tipperary and Donegal filled the air, a gang from the Central Remedial Clinic, Dublin made their annual visit by train no less, they must have left early, as did competitors from the Ardeen (Wicklow) and Tullow (Carlow) Cheshire Homes. Smiling faces lined the bank, banter flowed and at 12 noon proceedings commenced.

The annual Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Angling Competition 2015, Bagnelstown, Co. Carlow.

Held annually since 2002 the event is sponsored by many groups and organisations to include the Bagnelstown Summer Festival Committee, Bagnesltown Resource Centre, the Irish Wheelchair Association, Waterways Ireland and Access Printing. All competitors get a medal for taking part with trophies being awarded for first, second and third. A raffle completes the day and based on what yours truly witnessed everyone would appear to get a raffle prize too, there were so many the tow path resembled a cuddly toy factory.

Orla Keating, winner of the 2015 Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Angling Competition 2015.

At lines up a clear winner emerged with eight year old Orla Keating fishing her socks off to take first prize with a fine catch of 35 dace, nudging last years winner Billy Black into a creditable second place. Billy for the record also weighed in with a grand haul of dace.

Billy Black fishing his way to second place in the annual Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Angling Competition 2015.

Events such as the Mick Lyons Memorial are a celebration of inclusiveness that modern society can be proud of, the prize giving being testament. Micheal Lyons Jnr, his family and friends and members of the Bagnesltown Festival Committee to include chairman James Lakes awarded and shared out prizes while thanking all those who attended and donated so making the event a total success.

The Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Angling Competition Winner 2015.

It only remained then to award young Orla Keating with the Mick Lyons Memorial Perpetual Cup for 2015 and most importantly her hard won trophy. Does not her smile say it all, God bless your vision Michael Lyons………

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