Ennis woman Clare McGrath will be promoted to a grade A Still Water International Referee in the coming months. According to the current president of Swim Ireland, Clare will be the first referee from Ireland to reach the grade. It will qualify her to referee at European and international events.
Clare’s status within lifesaving is approved by the College of Referees of the International Life Saving Federation of Europe (ILSE), the umbrella organisation representing federations working in the field of Water Safety in Europe with members representing more than five million lifesavers and lifeguards all over Europe.
This representation by Clare at A level status is not only a personal achievement but it also enhances the sporting status of County Clare and Ireland at international level.
Surf lifesaving is a multi-faceted movement that comprises key aspects of voluntary lifeguard services and competitive surf sport that evolved from the training activities of lifesavers.
Last year was a very successful year for competitors from Clare.
The Clare Nippers Team brought the Irish Water Safety Munster Provincial Nipper Championship Perpetual Cup to Clare and earned a place at the nationals.
A Clare team of 20 entrants participated in the Celtic Cup Challenge in Aberavon, Wales and gold, bronze and silver medals were brought home to Clare. Melissa Power, Siobhán McGrath, Cormac O’Sullivan, Bernard Cahill and Dylan Barrett were part of Team Ireland under the leadership of coach, Clareman Oisín McGrath, who participated in the European Junior Surf Lifesaving Championships in The Netherlands. Clare McGrath officiated as referee in both pool and open water disciplines at the events.
Clare lifesavers swept the board at the National Surf Lifesaving Championships at Rossnowlagh Beach in Donegal in September 2009, bringing home the President’s Cup, Best Junior Team Trophy and the National Surf Lifesaving Championships Best County Nipper Team Cup, along with gold, silver and bronze medals in many events.
This year promises to be another exciting and competitive year for County Clare lifesavers. Extensive training is ongoing in preparation for the year ahead.
The European Junior Lifesaving Championships will take place in Antwerp, Belgium in late August and the Rescue 2010 Lifesaving Championships will take place in Alexandria, Egypt in October.
There are a number of Clare people on the Irish national squad. They are as follows:
Senior ladies: Norma Cahill, Sinéad Mortell and Ciara Donnelly.
Junior girls: Emma Casey, Caoimhe Gowran, Siobhán McGrath and Melissa Power.
Senior men: Colm Fitzgerald and Dylan Barrett.
U-19: Cormac O’Sullivan and Oisín McGrath.
Junior boys: Bernard Cahill, Mark Rogers, Adam McEvoy, Donnacha O’Sullivan, Conor Rooney, Rory Sexton, Mickey Moriarty amd Declan Bredin.
Meanwhile, training is continuing in preparation for the upcoming National Pool Lifesaving Championships to be held at the University of Limerick on February 20 and the National Nipper Pool Championships, which will be held in Galway on March 13.