Irish Federation of Sea Anglers 2003 Master Angler Shore Angling Championship, Achill Island, Co. Mayo


ACHILL Island, the largest island off the Irish coastline, was the venue for the Irish Federation of Sea Anglers 2003 Master Angler Shore Angling championship, fished over the weekend. 

The first and second of the three angling sessions, over three zones, was held on the Keel Strand, which must be one of the most picturesque locations in the country for shore angling.

On the left are Minaun Cliffs – the highest in Europe – and on the right hand side Keel Village with Achill Head rising majestically behind the white washed houses.

The Saturday night session was held on three beaches between the village of Dugort and the Slievemore Mountain.

It was there during the famine years that the people of Slievemore are reported to have moved en masse to the shores of Dugort, as they sought to eke out a survival diet from the rock pools and the shoreline. They left behind their unique and haunting deserted village, still to be seen today.

Ninety three top shore anglers, representing the four provinces, had made the long journey to the West of Ireland to fish the Masters that rotates through the provinces.  The Masters first session from l1 a. to 3pm on Saturday was at Keel Strand, situated on the south west end of the island with Clare Island clearly visible in the distance.

A strong surf accompanied by a heavy downpour made conditions difficult for the competitors. However it turned out to be best of the fishing sessions with 137 fish hooked.

Flounders were the predominant species with 94 taken, followed by 30 turbot, six bass and seven coalfish – and all fish were released. All kinds of baits were offered with mackerel, ragworm proving the best. The ineligible species were mackerel, herring, launce and sea trout. 

The zone winners were;

Zone A: 1st Chris Denvir, Raheny & District SAC; 2nd Jim O’Brien, Tramore / Waterford SAC; 3rd Johnny Snoddy, Glengormley & District SAC.

Zone B: lst Danny Kavanagh, Dublin City SAC; 2nd Ian Daly, Post Irish Team; 3rd Terry Jackson, Parkview SAC.

Zone C: 1st Josie McLaughlin, Old Bushmills SAC; 2nd Siert Schults, Blackrock SAC; 3rd Philip Whitmore, Menapia SAC,


Session 2 on Saturday evening was to be fished at Dugort from 6-10-pm. This night session was expected to produce the best catches of the event, however while bites were plentiful, they were mainly from small whiting that stripped the baits.

Banks of heavy weed in places also added to the anglers’ frustrations.

The session produced 74 fish – 21 flounders, 22 coalfish, 18 lesser spotted dogfish, eight pollack, two whiting, one scad and a dab.

The zone winners were;

Zone A: 1st Stephen Hodge, East Antrim SAC; 2nd Thomas Porter, Ulster Bass SAC; 3rd Chris Denvir, Raheny & District SAC,

Zone B: 1st Johan Mansson, Limerick SAC; 2nd Ray Lannigan, Waterford Crystal SAC; 3rd Eric Hore Wicklow Bay SAC.

Zone C: 1st John Watchorn, New Ross & District SAC; 2nd Eugene Farrelly, Tralee Bay SAC; 3rd Fergus Collins, Cois Fharraige SAC.


Session 3 was fished from 12 noon to 3 pm on Sunday at Keel Strand. Anglers were fishing into an ideal surf. 

The end of Zone C fished particularly well with nearly all anglers landing fish an abundance of flounders 68, six coalfish, nine turbot and a plaice taken overall.

The winners were:

Zone A:  1st Thomas O’Mahony, Bannow Bay SAC; 2nd Alan Smallwood, Portrush Yacht Club SAC; 3rd Allen Griffin, Post IrishTeam.

Zone B: 1st Thomas Porter, Ulster Bass SAC; 2nd Eamonn Bermingham, South Shore North SAC; 3rd Siert Schults, Blackrock SAC.

Zone C: 1st Ray Lannigan, Waterford Crystal SAC; 2nd Jim O’Brien, Tramore / Waterford SAC. 3rd Andreas Shefzig, Lisdoonvarna-Fanore SAC.


The presentation of medals plaques and the naming of the five man 2004 Irish International Deep Sea Angling team took place at the Achill Head Hotel, where a large gathering of competitors, friends and guests had gathered.

Mr. Michael Lavelle, chairman of the host club Achill Island SAC welcomed all the anglers to their island home and hoped to see them all return to fish there again in the future.

Mr. Hugh O’Rorke, chairman, IFSA thanked all the anglers for their sportmanship and praised the organisation of the Masters, he said a most worthwhile weekend’s fishing had been enjoyed by all.  Mr. Pat Walsh, hon. secretary, IFSA, Connaught Provincial Council, thanked the stewards and then presented special IFSA plaques to the top 7th to 10th placed anglers.

Mr John Martin, IFSA hon. Recorder, announced the members of the five man Irish team as follows:-

1st and winner of the gold medal and captain of the Irish team Jim O’Brien, Tramore/ Waterford SAC (Munster); 2nd Chris Denvir, Raheny & District SAC (Leinster); runner up and silver medallist. 3rd Ray Lannigan, Waterford Crystal SAC (Munster); 4th Thomas O’Mahony Bannow Bay SAC (Leinster); 5th Andreas Shefzig, Lisdoonvarna-Fanore SAC (Munster); 6th  & 1st reserve, Danny Kavanagh, Dublin City SAC (Leinster); 7th Allen Griffin, Post Irish Team; 8th Rodney Smith, Shannon Town SAC (Munster); 9th Graeme Blair, Larne & District SAC; 10th John Meere, Southern Brigade SAC.


Tony Gosnell

Public Relations Officer

Irish Federation of Sea Anglers