Three generations of the Boyle family at last year's International Pike Classic saw John, David and David Boyle take to Lough Ree Picture: Shelley Corcoran
The organisers behind two major south Longford based fishing competitions have vowed to hold both events at a later stage after the ongoing coronavirus pandemic brought about their postponement.
Scores of fisherman from right across the country and overseas had been due to compete in the annual Lough Ree MASTERS and International Pike Classic next month.
Both competitions, which have courted international interest in recent times, fell foul of newly enforced Covid-19 health and safety regulations.
In a post on its own Facebook page, ‘Lough Ree Lanesboro Angling Hub’ said the sheer size and scope of the scheduled events had forced its hand to temporarily suspend both contests.
“Following clarification from IFI and government on the implementation of new Covid-19 restrictions this, we have been informed that the limit of 15 people to outdoor events applies to all angling events,” read the post.
“As a result, the Lough Ree Lanesborough Hub have no option but to postpone and defer the Lough Ree MASTERS Coarse fishing festival and Lough Ree International Pike Classic events until later dates to be confirmed. All entries will be honoured at the new date(s), however if anglers wish, a full refund is also available.
“We have tried every avenue to keep things on track while remaining compliant with government health and safety guidelines but unfortunately it has proven impossible in light of the new restrictions.
“We feel that any attempt to run the Festivals in light of the new restrictions at this time would ultimately bring negative spotlight to the competition which is not what we are trying to achieve.”
A spokesperson for the Hub followed those soundings up by reassuring prospective anglers and visitors to Lanesboro of the group’s determination to hold both contests over the coming months.
“Obviously we are very disappointed at what has come about but given the guidelines that are in place at the minute which restricts outdoor events to 15 people it just wouldn’t be possible to hold both events,” said the spokesperson.
It’s understood the International Pike Classic, which last year carried an impressive €10,000 prize fund, would have attracted more than 80 boats and in excess of 200 fishermen to the region with its MASTERS equivalent taking in at least 60 competitors.
“Clearly, and in view of the fact any international visitors would have had to quarantine for two weeks, the decision was taken to defer the events,” added a spokesperson, while stressing the move was purely that and not a cancellation.