A young man from Ennistymon is gunning for his place on the Junior Irish Shooting team this September, with two successive high scoring weekends adding to his chances.
Brandon Garrihy recently became the first person from Clare to win the Colt Cup Championships, which took place in the Esker Shooting Grounds in Galway.
The Ennistymon Vocational School student “fell in love with the sport of clay pigeon shooting from a young age”, enticed by watching his father attend competitions and “advised on his technique” by his uncle Martin Garrihy, who has represented the Senior Irish shooting team on several occasions.
Since turning 14, which is the earliest age one can legally obtain a firearm training certificate under the supervision of an adult, Brandon has acquired his licence, registered with the Irish Clay Target Shooting Association (ICSTA) and now shoots every Sunday.
“His ambition is to be picked up for the Irish team that will go to Wales on September 17. Each shoot he does adds up to his tally. There are also a number of compulsory shoots, where scores on the day count. They then take your four best scores and if you are within the first five in Ireland in the Juniors, you will qualify to represent your country. His 100 straight shoot in Knocknagoshel is a great achievement,” his father Brendan stated.
Also playing golf, hurling and basketball, Brandon admitted being “hooked on the sport” and enjoys both the challenge and the satisfaction of “seeing a clay being broke.” Unlike his other sports, clay pigeon shooting is a costly passion. Each weekend sees the family rack up expenses of over €100 with €40 being spent on cartridges, €20 being spent on a tee and the expense of weekly travel due to competitions taking place at distant locations across the country. The closest available competition for Brandon is at Kilmurry McMahon, which an hour drive away.
“It’s a very expensive sport,” his father Brendan admitted. “We have been unable to avail of any sponsorship for him and have no way of funding his weekend shoots. We have approached some people but they have all said to us that if he qualifies for the Irish Junior Shooting team in Wales, then they will look at sponsoring. Brandon has five shoots in the next four weekends and is looking forward to possibly hearing from the Irish team,” he added.