I find very few things are certain any more. I must admit that I am hanging on to paddling by my finger nails at this stage. It’s becoming more important to have yearly traditions to ensure that I keep the contact and hope that the door will stay open.

There are many certainties however on Liffey Descent day.

Every old hero can drag his faded gear along to the start line with the young guns and bore them rigid with big stories of years and paddlers past.
It’s been my pleasure to have enjoyed this day, for several years now, in the company of Mr. Gerry Coonan.

From the very start in the car park it’s like being a wing man for Bertie Ahern … he knows everyone and everyone knows Gerry. Many will try on the day to break Gerry’s record for talking at length on his specialist subject, but none will be successful.

Lack of training and increasing waist band (for both of us) seem not to worry Gerry. As Gerry points out, we have done better the years we have not trained.

Success at Straffan means the inevitable [blockquote]“We’re in the top 10, let’s keep pushing.”[/blockquote]

Feck it, I wish I’d done some training … anything.

The long long lake is just an opportunity for a chat, the portage a small bit of cardio work for next year’s race. As we are swallowed at Wild Water by Palmerstown weir with no one to blame this year, we are very grateful for the special attention that Gerry can expect. We were well aware that we received the full “Presidential Rescue Package” courtesy of Mr Carroll and Mr O’Flaherty and crew. It’s just a dizzy blur from then on but it did seem important to stay ahead of Roger McClure.

Across some finish line and then the annual statement I’ve been waiting for all day .

[blockquote]“You know that wasn’t a bad time. If we had that light boat for €3000 that I saw in Wales at the convention, we could be in the medals”[/blockquote]

So a definite no to weight loss and any bit of training… it’s an old man thing.

Here’s to one of life’s gentlemen.

It’s been my great pleasure to accompany you down your 20th descent.
Wishing you 20 more.

Gerry “The Front Half”

Open boat…open mouth!
Half the blade …….twice the guff!