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The International Irish Championships 2008
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The International Irish Championships 2008 (report by Mr. John Riordan, Photos by Mr. Robert O'''' Shea)
The 2008 edition of the International Irish Championships was organised by Patricia Dalton (V) and was held in Neptune Stadium, Cork City in November. This event is now regarded as the premier competition on the European circuit and this is aptly demonstrated by the fact that foreign black belts now actually outnumber the local Irish contingent. This years event featured competitors from Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Netherlands, Spain, Northern Ireland, and Belgium. There were over 50 competitors alone from Netherlands with three organisations represented. As usual the Saturday was given over to Black Belts and the Celtic Cup Team Championships. Sunday was dedicated to colour belts.

The Black Belt Tul sections were split into 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th/5th Dan divisions. A different European country won each of the sections for both the men (Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland) and the women (Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands and England). One of the best finals was between Mr. Graham Connolly of Ireland and Mr. Kevin McCabe of Wales (4th and 5th Dan) with the Welsh visitor eventually winning by a narrow margin. Spain took both bronze medals in the section (Mr. Francisco Espeche, Mr. Alejandro Veyssiere). Some of the sections had over 20 competitors with only the very best reaching the finals stage. The final of the Ladies 4th and 5th Dan division was an all-Scottish event two of Master David Browns students vying for Gold. In the end Ms Julie Scott was the victor of Ms. Liz McKenna after a fine performance of Moon Moo.


The Celtic Team Cup:
The final of this years Celtic Team Cup was between two of the ITFs top teams the NTA of the Netherlands and the IUTF of Ireland. Both teams had come through difficult semi finals (against Irish and English opposition) and both teams featured members of the winning teams from the last two ITF World Championships (Netherlands were team world champions in Korea and Ireland are the current team world champions for sparring). As usual the hall was packed out with a roaring crowd backing the home team. The 50 plus Dutch spectators were not to be outdone however and helped to create a fantastic atmosphere for the showcase final. Mr. William Van Damme, who had previously won the -80kg sparring section got the Dutch team off to a great start with an excellent win.  Current ITF European Champion Mr. Leon Brydone evened the score for Ireland and the third bout was a draw. Ireland had two of the worlds top hyperweights in reserve however and went on to win the final two bouts through Mr. Padraig O Connor and Mr. Sean Keane. Team Captain Mr. Shane Fitzgibbon said its great to win back the Celtic Team Cup after loosing it last year. I am already looking forward to defending it in 2009. This really is the biggest event of our year in Ireland. Its the one that everybody wants to win!

ITF Ireland President Master Don Dalton said afterwards I think that this year has been the best organised International Irish Championships to date. We added another 50% more sections. It was fantastic to see 9 matted areas running simultaneously.  In addition the standard of refereeing and judging from an ITF perspective was fantastic. We have always strived to make this the fairest Taekwon-Do tournament around and this is one of the main reasons that so many foreign competitors return each year. However the knowledge of the ITF referees has vastly improved thanks to the fantastic courses that we have hosted under the instruction of Master Galarraga. Our goal is continue on this upward curve. We will continue to improve our events in the future years and we really look forward to hosting the ITF European Championships in 2011. I will guarantee that this will be a competition to remember. I would like to offer a special thanks to all the instructors and organisations that supported this event and a special thanks goes to the referees and judges who worked to make this such an unforgettable weekend.

Male Matsogi:
1. Alejandro Veyssiere (Spain)
2. Tomas Robertson (Scotland)
3. David O Mahony (Ireland)

1. Javier Soane (Spain)
2. Gavin O Toole (Ireland)
3. Paul Manning (Ireland)
3. Winodj Ramoebhag (Netherlands)

1. Leon Brydone (Ireland)
2. Cathal Hardiman (Ireland)
3. Stephen Edwards (Ireland)
3.   Francisco Espeche (Spain)

1. William Van Dam (Netherlands)
2. Philip Ramandt (Netherlands)
3. Ben Pethick (England)
3.   Rory De Vries (Netherlands)

1. Padraig O Connor (Ireland)
2. Sean Keane (Ireland)
3. Colin O Shaughnessy (Ireland)
3.   Kevin Larkin (Ireland)

Female Matsogi:
1. Mariska Jansen (Netherlands)
2. Julie Scott (Scotland)
3. Aisling Greene (Ireland)
3.   Aoife Keene (Ireland)

1. Claire O Sullivan (Ireland)
2. Orla O Brien (Ireland)
3. Janice Connolly (Ireland)
3.    Nicole Brown (Scotland)

1.  Liz McKenna (Scotland)
2. Nicola Bishop (Scotland)
3. Pamela Gow (Scotland)
3. Emma Deakin 9England)

1. Stacey Weatherer (England)
2. Aoify Foley (Ireland)
3. Andrea Kinsella (Ireland)
3.  Emer Curran (Ireland)

1. Ann Marie Rooney (Ireland) 
2. Lydia Post (Netherlands)
3. Kimberly Bradshaw (England)
3. Sharlene Graham (Scotland)

Female Tul:
1st Dan:
1. Ann Marie Rooney (Ireland)
2. Corine Kool (Netherlands)
3. Andrea Kinsella (Ireland)
3Aisling Greene (Ireland)

2nd Dan:
1. Mariska Janssen (Netherlands)
2. Nicole Brown (Scotland)
3. Pamela Gow (Scotland)
3Sharlene Graham (Scotland)

3rd Dan:
1. Kimberly Bradshaw (England)
2. Nicole Bishop (Scotland)
3. Emma Deakin (England)
3Stacey Weatherer (England)

4th/5th Dan:
1. Julie Scott (Scotland)
2. Liz McKenna (Scotland)
3. Janice Connolly (Ireland)
3.Maeve Page (Ireland)

Male Tul:
1st Dan:
1. Philip McAuliffe (Ireland)
2. Martin Van Straaten (Netherlands)
3. Stephen Browne (Ireland)
3Paul Joyce (Ireland)

2nd Dan
1. Gavin McCann (Scotland)
2. Rory Devries (Netherlands)
3. Thomas Dunne (Ireland)
      3..Javier Seoane (Spain)

3rd Dan:
1. Chris Woolcock (England)
2. Diarmuid McSweeney (Ireland)
3. Stephen Edwards (Ireland)
3.   John Roche (Ireland)

4th /5th Dan:
1. Kevin McCabe (Wales)
2. Graham Connolly (Ireland)
3. Francisco Espeche (Spain)
3.   Alejandro Veyssiere (Spain)

Written by: Mr. John Riordan, Photos by Mr. Robert O' Shea - 19th December 2008

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