18th - 20th May 2012
This year the WAO Championships were held in Neeroeteren, Belgium. The team
travelled over by various different routes at various different times and all
arrived safely, if a little tired.
The day started with the VETERINARY CHECK for all dogs and
also measuring, for those dogs that hadn't been measured last year. All dogs
measured into their correct height, unlike poor Italy who had to send a dog home
as it was over height!
Next, was the PRACTICE SESSION in the Main Ring to get our dogs used to the
equipment and the running surface. As we had 14 dogs, we were allocated 28
minutes in total, 2 minutes per dog. Teams were encouraged to bring a CD with
music that could be played while practice was going on. Hearing Jedward singing
' Put the Green Cape On ' I'm sure helped our handlers put a spring in their
The OPENING CERMONY took place at 6.30.
Jenny Hale carried our flag and
led the team out into the Main Ring. Everybody looked very smart; handlers in
their green Team Ireland uniforms and dogs in their wonderful sparkly collars
and team leads.
The day started bright and early at 7.30 with course
We were unlucky to be drawn in the Group that had to negotiate
first, what was probably the most difficult course of the entire weekend. This
was an agility course by UK Judge, Lee Gibson. Our only dog to succeed in
getting around was Donal Ayton and little Oscar.
Our dogs ran in various
other classes during a very long day. We had some lovely rounds but with bad
luck here and there, things just didn't go our way.
An even earlier start.....7.00 course walking!!!
delighted to have got 4 of our dogs through from Friday, to the second round of
the Individual Pentathlon. Well done to Donal Ayton and Oscar, Karen Kelly and
Shep, Mick Byrne and Molly and Liam O'Brien and Mojo.
The second and final
part of the Games class took place. Sheila Maher and Holly finished up in 14th
place overall, which was very commendable with Sheila being new to this
Final round of the INDIVIDUAL PENTATHLON.
Well done to the
only Irish dog, Oscar handled by Donal Ayton for qualifying for the Final. He
had survived 4 gruelling rounds over the previous 2 days to get into this final
20 dogs, and then kept his head to negotiate his way round yet again in the
Well done to our Team dogs and handlers who made it through from 2 rounds on
Friday and 2 on Saturday, to the FINAL SPEEDSTAKES RELAY on Sunday; John Ward
with Stan, Sheila Maher with Holly, Sinead O'Donovan with Tiggie and June
Archbold with Lily. Well done guys...you all coped really well with the added
stress that comes with being part of a Team.
THANK YOU to the following:
PATRICIA DUNN our Games Coach, who worked tirelessly both before and during
the event, we couldn't have managed it without you.
GROOMS/MINDERS : Jenny Hale, Debbie O'Neil, Eilish Timoney, Evelyn D'Arcy,
Geoff Archbold, Helen Ward, Nigel Tate.
You all did a great job looking after
our team's many needs, keeping them calm and cool, getting them to the start
line at the right time, looking after all the dogs needs as well......you were
TEAM SUPPORTERS :
Thank you to everyone who travelled out to support the
team. We more than held our own in the volume level created and also in the
dance move department!!!! It was great that each team member got a great cheer
to welcome them into the Ring and even louder cheering after their round.
was also great that some of you were able to give up your time to help out at
the event. This was very much appreciated by the organisers.
FUND RAISERS :
A final BIG thank you must go to everybody who supported
the team either by donating money or fund raising or both. Sending a team to
Belgium would not have been possible without you all. €10,400 was raised which
was absolutely fantastic.
So, a great experience for all concerned. GO TEAM IRELAND!!!!