SIFA CHAPMS 2022 - after match report

Updated: Sep 20

Firstly the author would like to apologise for the tardiness of this article as I know many of you have been waiting with bated breath, worried and anxious even about its whereabouts. Of course I jest, but here it is. Over the August bank holiday weekend just gone, a merry band of archers took part in the Society of Irish Field Archers (SIFA), National Championships in the woods at Boarmans Hill, Ashroe just outside the village of Murroe, Co. Limerick. This year’s hosts, Limerick Field Archery Club (LFAC), who had worked hard all year to make the event happen, were looking forward to welcoming archers from all corners of the island and beyond to this little piece of field archery heaven. Participants competed in the two day formal competition as well as shooting a fun novelty course which included some moving targets and a duelling station. Coming up to the weekend, all eyes were on the weather forecast.

Father & son team James and Diarmuid O’Connor

It looked decidedly iffy for the Saturday but, a bit better for the Sunday. From late Friday afternoon, campers and campervans started to arrive at the woods and continued to do so in to the late evening. All were greeted by the club’s secretary James O’Connor and his son Diarmuid who made sure everyone found their spot for the night. While there was still light, some had a go at axe throwing. Later in the evening Peter Wright of Marble Archers, put on a fantastic service of home brewed speciality beers and Ciders representing many of the participating clubs which provided a welcome tonic for the weary travellers. Saturday’s dawn as predicted looked a little ominous; Keeper Hill and the Galtys were obscured by low cloud cover and a light mist was falling. More competitors began to arrive to make the registration before the 10am shoot starting time.

Just some of the refreshments on offer!

As 10am start time arrived, club secretary James called reveille and everyone gathered around to take in the competition details and safety instructions of the day. A shotgun start applied. Groups of mainly 4 were called out and instructed as to which target to start shooting from. LFAC had two championship courses in play for the weekend.

Saturday’s dawn over the camping field

A 14 target Unmarked Animal Round (UAR), and an 18 target Standard Big Game (SBG), course. Both courses are shot twice by the participants over the course of the two days. The UAR course is laid out in mostly open terrain of freshly planted Sitka Spruce mixed with some mature beech and Silver Birch offers some great views, which unfortunately were not easily seen on the Saturday. The SBG course on the other hand is laid out in mature forestry which offered a totally different prospect for the competitors. Once all the start targets were called out, everyone headed out to their starting positions and we were off in earnest. Conditions became tricky to say the least for the Saturday crews.

Taking it all in, grey skies loom in the distance

A steady mist shrouded the woods all through the day but noticeably more so in the afternoon. I felt that the Saturday SBG shooters got the luck of the draw, being in the better coverage of the mature forest. Yet targets on the SBG course took on an eerie feel in the haze. Unlimited compounder folk struggled with lenses to zone in on some of the more distant targets in the thick woodland. Over on the UAR course visibility was better but rain cover was not so abundant. With all the rain on Saturday only a few snaps were taken, here’s a first set of some of the weekend.

Messrs’, Tom Bond and Brendan O’Brien adding to the morning mist !

Anthony Corcoran happy with yet another spot kill

As the competitors made their way in for the half time lunch it was clear that all were finding the courses and conditions challenging but, the burgers and hot dogs went down very easy indeed. The after lunch conditions if anything worsened a bit with the mist becoming ever heavier (not forecasted!), and turning into rain later in the evening. Reports in from the competitors as they finished the 1st days archery was generally good. The weather didn’t dampen spirits too much and all were looking forward to shooting their alternate course on the Sunday.

Liam O’Donnel and Lazlo Jeni tackle the ‘Avatar Deer’

Paul Fox, Dave McCaffery, Mattie Cestonaro and Dave Dwyer on their way to the next target

It was notable that over the weekend that eleven of the thirteen bow styles were represented and that all age categories were represented too, a very healthy sign indeed. No surprise either (at any of the SIFA archery events these days TBH), to sense a real international feel to event. I’m sure to leave some out (apologies!), but off the top of my head we had participants from Ireland (phew!), Poland, Italy, Hungary, Australia, Czech Republic, France, United Kingdom, Germany and yes, they even came a long long way from Tipperary. In all we had well over 80 in attendance. Thankfully Sunday came with a warm sunny smile. Blue skies, sunglasses and cameras were out. Thank God! See some more of pics from the day below.

Lunch time queue, James O’ Connor driving the kitchen.

Stephen O’Halloran and ace photographer Heather Kidd Collins at the burger bar.

Marshmallows in the rain !

Dave McCaffery says a quiet prayer before taking his next shot :)

Aoife O’Connor, Leah Crowe, Michelle Ni Uiginn and Deana Crowe out on the UAR course.

Any thoughts of rain were banished in the glorious and appropriately, Sunday sunshine!

Sean Morressy with the UAR course at his feer, a lone wolf in the distance and behind, Keeper Hill

Saturday evening a few notables. James O’Connor was presented with his a significant birthday present in front of the assembled archers. He was mortified ha ha! The novelty course too proved a great success (see later pics), and we had a bit of a guitar accompanied singalong late into the night.

Sunday smiles from Maria Malek

Olivia Eady picks her target out on the UAR course

Charlie Ryan heads out with a confident look about him

Art Slowinski, John McDonald, Robert Gawley and Joe Farrelly cut a fine pose on the UAR Course

Archers assemble under cover while enjoying a bit of craic and banter

A few enjoyed the craic well into Sunday morning (you know who you are !)

While all this competitive archery was going on, some took a chance in the evenings on the novelty target course which had amongst other challenges, a steel metal deer to shot at. While many many, many, arrows were smashed against its 5mm thick hide, some struck the traditional, recurve or compound zones. Here’s some of the happier faces below.

Maria Makek nails the recurve bow

Martin conroy nails the trad bow slot

Paul Walsh nails the trad bow slot

Charlie Ryan nails compound bow (First shot too!)

Compound slot nailed, to Mattia Cestonaro

Art Slowinski bang in the center of the trad slot

Sorry Tony Eady, we simply couldn’t include your picture, you just lost too many arrows prior to the successful the attempt to justify it!

Sunday Morning reveille

Lest I forget! we also would like to thank the stalls that sponsored prizes and items for the raffle and showed their wares over the weekend, Martin from Burren Archery and Michael Fisher and family from Archery Spot NI, we hope you did a bit of business and look forward to seeing you again, thank you both for your donation of targets to the club too. We were sorry not to see Jack Pinson of Living Longbows who couldn’t make it due to a case of the dreaded Coronavirus, we hope you have recovered and are fighting fit again. Dave McDermot of SRT Targets Ireland could not make it either but sent along a couple of nice 2D targets via fellow Aos Dana club member Liam O’Donnell a nice gesture.

And so back to the competitive archery. In the late Sunday afternoon archers made it back to basecamp with their final scores in hand to submit. Michelle Ni Uiginn kicked off the raffle followed by Ger Blaney LFAC Chairman opening up the award presentation ceremony.

Ger Blaney (right), kicks off the award presensations

There are simply too many award winning pictures to include in this article but all can be seen on the SIFA website with additional pics on the LFAC Facebook site and checkout Heathers fantastic set!

As well as medals for all the first, second and thirds, there were are some perpetual awards including the Sonja Wayland Memorial Awards, Aos Dana’s Junior Girl Bowhunter Recurve plaque and introduced this year some new perpetual awards. Thanks to Burren Archery for sponsoring the Gents BHR Category and Team Cup, to Blackcastle Archers for the Ladies Flatbow plaque and to Marble Archers for Gents Freestyle Recurve Category plaque. All on show below.

Sifa Champs awards

Check out all the results see the SIFA website. I suppose one award pic that is (begrudgingly TBH J), worth its bang for its buck, is one with the most people in it. So congrats to Irish Archery Club for taking the 2022 Team Award. Is it likely other clubs will take a closer look at team strategy for 2023 champs?

Some of the IAC winning team with the 2022 SIFA Team Cup

A few last minute thanks. To Sean Wixted for the camping field, Dot Madden for the Use of the Chairs and tables. To James and Diarmuid O’Connor, Trojan work. To the LFAC members who toiled in all weathers, you know who you are. To Heather el al for all the pics, you outdid yourselves this time. To all who came along to our club and made the weekend what it was, we hope you enjoyed yourselves!