Record numbers at Banbridge Archery Club’s annual Castle Shoot

Banbridge Archery Club members.
Banbridge Archery Club members.

Banbridge Archery Club hosted the annual Castle Shoot at Gilford Castle on Saturday 14 May and record numbers of people competed.

A total of 85 archers from 22 various clubs descended on the venue to take part in this year’s ‘Arrowhead’ archery event.

During each day each archer shot 24 targets with three arrows at each target. The varied terrain at the Castle ensured archers of all abilities were challenged.

For the uninitiated archers the Castle shoot proved to be a huge success.

Gilford Castle boasts some of the best shooting grounds in Ireland, this includes angled slopes, uphill and downhill shots not to mention open field targets that can make distance estimating a real challenge to the archers.

A BBQ and raffle in the glorious sunshine followed after shooting on the Sunday and records and prizes were awarded.

Over seven bow categories were on show during the weekend making field archery a very diverse and inclusive sport for all ages and abilities.

Many beginner archers picked up medals, notably husband and wife team Rachael and Thomas McComb from Newry club Yew Tree Archers.

In the Junior under 15 categories gold medals were awarded to girls Barebow Eleanor Walsh and Barebow gold went to Matthew Beattie with Niall McComb picking up silver on his first field outing.

Under 18 Junior Men Barebow went to Joel Bell with the junior lady award going to Sarah Howard from Dublin.

In Compound cadet men and women the brother/sister duo Jennifer and Gavyn Blanchfield from Kilkenny picked up gold medals.

Compound Junior men was awarded to Daniel Foley from Dublin and Recurve junior men gold went to Daniel Malone from Liffey Archers.

Recurve gold in the junior and cadet ladies category went to rising stars Andrea Murray Lopez and Charlotte McCleery and both young ladies are on the NIAS junior squad.

The senior categories saw Marion Patterson and Paul Copeland receive gold in Compound Barebow.

Gold in the Traditional category went to Damien Lennon along side Alan Craig in gents Master Traditional style.

In Gents Barebow Robert Mallon received gold along side Stephen Kerr silver and Gilbert McClelland bronze.

The ladies barebow category was also well supported with Jane Langley from Gorey picking up gold,

Joanne Walker silver and Angela Cowan with bronze. The ladies compound winner was Jo Ann Bell with the gents Compound category was hotly contested over the two days.

Local rising star Dean Hamilton shot exceptionally to win gold with silver for Robert Hall and bronze for Darrel Wilson and master Compound went to Fiachra Judge. Ladies recurve went to Maeve Reidy from Dublin with silver for Susan Agnew.

Finally, in the largest category, gents recurve, the top four archers were only separated by three points after day one.

This led to a very tense and exciting finale to the Castle Shoot. After battling it out on day two Keith Hanlon and Mark Nesbitt tied on the same score.

At this point the archer with the highest number of 6s was awarded gold and Liffey archer Keith Hanlon maintained number one position over local archer Mark Nesbitt followed by Banbridge archer Martin Cunningham on bronze.

The committee at BAC would like to thank the team of judges Barry Brophy, Anne Orr, John Kane and Andrew Walker who all ensured the shoot ran with out a hitch.

The club made a special mention to Gilford Castle proprietors Mrs Christine Wright and Sarah McCloy who were gracious hosts and have been great supporters of the club over the years.

The club would also like to thank Mark McConnell for the photography over the weekend, Rachael McComb and Hazel Finlay for the catering and David McKay at Tesco in Banbridge for sponsoring the BBQ.

For info on Archery GB recognised beginners courses contact Secretary Lisa McConnell at

Club sessions are open to any archer who currently is affiliated to World Archery.