The annual Tug-O-War contest in Ballycastle, organised by Paul Kerrigan from the Ballycastle Community Development Group, was held at the closing of the Marconi Festival and ‘pulled in’ huge crowds.
First pull of the evening was between The Knocklayde Knockers captained by Margaret Blaney and The Rotary Club and Friends, captained by Brian Jamieson.
This was the first ever pull for the Knocklayde Knockers against some seasoned veterans in the Rotary Team, the Rotary came out winners but the ladies from Knocklayde House didn’t let themselves down in their first ever pull.
Next up was FunctFit mentored by Eamann O’hArtghaile vesus Ballycastle Coastguard captained by Chris McNichol. There was some very hard pulling by both teams but the superior weight of the Coastguard saw them through to the next round.
The third pull of the evening was between The Tower Team led by Raymond Watson and Jenny’s Hens commanded by Pat Brown. The lads slightly misjudged the power and might of these ladies and were beaten by two pulls to nil - but a valiant run out for the lads in their first competition.
A late entry to the competition from the Gatherups meant that the Coastguard had to pull again. Rumour has it that the Gatherups might have been a bit ‘under the weather’ from having attended a wedding the night before. The lads from the Coastguard dug deep and, with plenty of shouting from Damian Devlin, they again came out on top and made it through to the final.
In the other semi final the surprise team of the night, Jenny’s Hens, were pitted against The Rotary and Friends. However the superior technique from a few of the older Rotary hands ensured that a mouth watering final was on the cards against the Coastguard.
The final was a tremendous show of sheer strength and determination by both the teams. The first pull saw both teams playing it cagey for the first few minutes trying to gauge each other’s weaknesses, a lot of lying on the rope and waiting, but with a massive commitment, the Coastguard made a pull for the line and managed to squeeze the first win.
The second pull was if anything better than the first, the Coastguard going all out from the start to try and clinch the cup in two pulls, with just a foot to go it looked if it was all over for the Rotary.
However in a fantastic show of determination they dug deep and clutched a win from nowhere. So it stood at one pull each, the teams regrouped and went at it from the start in the final pull, the strain and effort was clearly evident on the faces of all the lads.
There wasn’t much in it in the first few minutes, with both teams coming close to the win, with one last big pull The Rotary and Friends just about managed to claim the overall win.
A fantastic night’s craic was had by all. Thanks to all those who came out and supported the competition, Brian Jamison and the crew for supplying the rope, Eamann O’hArtghaile for refereeing it once again, the Marine Hotel for sponsoring the cup and providing the prize for the winners and the Marconi Group for allowing the contest to be part of the Festival.
Massive thanks to all the teams who took part – The Tower Team, Knocklayde Knockers, The Gatherups, Functfit, Jenny’s Hens, Ballycastle Coast guard and The Rotary and Friends
A total of £122.50 was raised on the night which will be donated to Ballycastle Women’s Aid. Same place, same time next year!