Wooden Spoon for Willie [WITH GALLERY]

21 November 2009

WILLIE Darragh joined a long list of unfortunate anglers when he was awarded the wooden spoon for his inglorious achievement of failing to catch a salmon on the Moyola river in 2009.

Family, friends and supporters of the Moyola Angling Association, joined with members of the club for their annual dinner dance at the O’Neill Arms Hotel in Toomebridge on Friday night.

As ever, the presentation of the Wooden Spoon by last year’s winner Peter O’Neill was eagerly and nervously awaited by many of the club’s experienced anglers who failed to catch a salmon in the past season.

Mr Darragh, who was also pipped for the Sportsman of the Year award on the final competition by his rival Seamus Donnelly, was named as this year’s wooden spoon winner.

For some anglers, swimming has become an accidental hobby, and Brain Bigmore’s splashing effort during the 09 season won him the Swimming Award, despite a few late entries from a few relieved fishermen.

In recognition of his work on the major river path and river enhancement project at Castledawson, Willie Darragh was the deserved winner of the Conservation Award.

Anthony O’Hagan won the Vicky Richardson Memorial trophy, while Sean [Speedy] Henry scooped the Robin McKnight trophy for the heaviest Dollaghan trout of the season.

The John Clarke plaque was presented to Millar McIhatton for his continuous hard work throughout the season.

Junior Sportsperson of the Year was won by Nathan Young, who has continued to show a few of the older angers how to simply catch fish.

Junior angler John McKay beat his father Adrian into second place at the club’s Charity competition, which raised a superb total of £900 for Cancer Research.

Club Chairman, Philip Maguire described the 2009 season as “another huge success” for the local angling group.

“Again, our members have worked very hard together to complete several, conservation projects to protect the fish in our river”, he said.

“Our open day at Tobermore was another huge success, and the event has grown enormously, helping to encourage local children to avail and learn about this great river and the club.

“I would also like to thank the local farmers for their continuing support.”

Competition secretary, Tommy McGrath organised several very successful angling trips to both Donegal and Fermanagh during the summer months, which it is hoped will be repeated in 2010.

While the numbers of salmon in the Moyola were less than impressive in 2009, a huge number of quality dollaghan as well as brown trout, ensured that many angler’s did not leave the river empty-handed.

Although the season has now closed, the club is asking that members keep a check on the river for pollution, dumping and poaching.

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