Limerick man lights up Christmas tree throwing championships

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

A CRACKER of a Christmas tree throw earned a Cappamore man top spot at a unique competition.

A CRACKER of a Christmas tree throw earned a Cappamore man top spot at a unique competition.

John O’Dea branched out from throwing wellies to winning the second annual Irish Christmas tree throwing championships at the weekend.

The former Irish champion sheaf thrower and current national welly throwing title holder hurled a Christmas tree over three metres further than last year’s winner.

The novel idea based on age-old lumberjack traditions in Germany and Austria was thought up by Ennis Town Council and Clare County Council.

People were invited to recycle festive trees, throw them as far as they could and raise money for cystic fibrosis. John’s throw was only 1.5 metres off the world record.

There were 360 competitors in Ennis from all over Ireland and as far away as Oregon, Ontario, Slovakia and Brisbane, but John beat them all.

The Towerhill man puts his success down to “high altitude training” in the Slieve Felims!

“It was publicised a lot last year and I said ‘I must go and have a look at that’. Then I heard about it again the other week and we were going to Ennis anyway so we said we’d pop down and have a look at. I had a lash anyway,” said John, who showed the young whipper snappers how it’s done as he is the “wrong side of 50”.

“I like these alternative sports, it’s a bit of craic anyway and it’s for a good cause. There was a good bit of competition, you had to be at your best. All the trees were about a metre and a half, that’s the rule. I used to be involved in a lot of other throwing events like sheaf throwing and wellington throwing,” said the paving, kerbing and tarmacadam contractor.

John’s experience and technique paid off as he set a new a new Irish record of 10.2 metres.

He was cheered on by wife, Emma and son, James. The family tree is proving strong as sixteen-year-old James threw a Christmas three over seven metres.

John is already devising a stringent exercise regime to ensure he will defend his title next January.

“I’ll have to go in to serious training!” joked John.

Joan Tarmey, Clare County Council, said disposing of the Christmas tree is often an arduous task for many “so this event allowed people to do so in style”.

Kieran McCarthy, Clare branch of Cystic Fibrosis, thanked everyone who donated. As well as supporting local services a contribution will be made to Tipperary, Limerick and Clare for Cystic Fibrosis (TLC4CF).