Brandon Bay in Castlegregory in County Kerry was the setting for the 2013 Surf Intervarsities on St Patrick’s weekend. It was a stunning location with a snow covered Mount Brandon in the background; it saw the coming together of surf clubs from all the colleges and universities in the country and the gathering of the finest surfers currently studying in third level in the country.
GMIT Castlebar students were there to mix it up with the biggest and the best third level institutions in the county. When all the events had been decided and the team rankings were announced the only team ahead of them was the long-time dominant force in colleges surfing, NUI Galway. GMIT Castlebar finished the weekend as the number two ranked college in the country, beating out the likes of UL, UCD, Queens, and IT Sligo in the process,
Team captain Tara Kilcommins said: “It’s quite incredible, we travelled hoping to acquit ourselves well but couldn’t have contemplated such an amazing outcome. It’s a great reflection of the talent as well as the determination of this small but dedicated crew of surfers that they have managed to take so many big scalps and will be returning to Mayo with a great sense of achievement and probably an almighty party.”
The only native Castlebar man in the club Jarlath McHale acquitted himself very well advancing through three rounds before finally bowing out in the semi-finals of the men’s open section.
As a result of their great performance the club has requested to host next year’s event. Not only is this a great honour for the college but it will be a great boost to the local economy, bringing some 200 surfing students to the county early in March 2014.
The surfers who made it into scoring positions and helped bring about this historic achievement were: Eadaoin Fitzgerald (first, women's novice ),
Katie Lynch (second, women's novice ), Catherine Mullooley (fourth, women's novice ), Chris Delamere (second, men's novice ), Ian McAbe (third, men’s longboard ), Alan O'Connaire (second, men's body board ), Jarlath McHale (semi-final men's open ).