Dean and company reel in the medal!
Three Wexford men played leading roles as the Irish team returned from the world championship of shore angling in Portugal late last month with bronze medals.
Dean Quigley from Wexford town captained the successful side and was assisted by Joe Byrne of Gorey and Killinick man Martin Howlin as they finished third out of 17 competing countries.
It was a particularly proud moment for Dean who has been match angling since 2005 with the Kilmore club.
He represented Ireland at Under-16 and Under-21 level three times in all in 2005, 2006 and 2007, showing his leadership qualities from an early stage as he was captain on two of those occasions. He also enjoyed various successes on the match scene in Ireland on a yearly basis.
The team selection for the worlds is done through a master angler and fish-off system on an annual basis for the following year's team, and it is a very hard task to qualify.
Dean won the master angler competition in October of last year and that made him captain of the team going to Portugal. He was delighted to be joined by two familiar local faces in Joe Byrne and Martin Howlin, with the final say on selection resting with the governing body for the match angling scene, the Irish Federation of Sea Anglers (I.F.S.A.).
The team flew out to Loule in Portugal on November 12 to ensure they had ample time to prepare for the big event and get plenty of practice in for what species and tactics were to be expected come the official match days.
The event ran from November 21 for seven days, and this included the opening ceremony parade through the town, a training competition and four official competitions. The prize ceremony was then followed by the closing dinner.
The team battled superbly to secure a bronze team medal and were unlucky in ways as it could have been even better. They were lying in second place as a team while Dean was winning the individual ranking going into the last competition.
A very tough last day pushed Ireland back into the bronze position though, while Dean ended up as the eleventh best individual. All of the success was down to the dedication of all team members and the management. Not many gave the Irish a chance out in Portugal but the competitors proved how strong we are as an angling nation.
This success puts Ireland in a great position going into the next world championships in 2016. And the good news is that this event is being held in Wexford late in the year, with the exact dates yet to be confirmed.
It will give Dean, Joe and Martin an added incentive to try to improve on that bronze medal finish with the next championships taking place on their own doorsteps.