The sight of 200 yellow rubber ducks racing along the Sykne is one Meath locals may have to get used to, after a charity derby which raised €2,000 looks set to become an annual event.
The ducks sped along a 1.5 kilometre stretch of the river last Sunday, from Athronan to Kilmessan bridge, with local Oliver Mitchell accompanying the field in a canoe until the winner reached a small wire gate.
The racers then entered a man-made funnel to decrease the width of the field and ensure that none of the ducks went AWOL.
Each duck was sponsored for €10 with the owners winning prizes for those ducks which finished at the top of the field. The first prize was a double pass to the Galway races, donated by Globrix, the second prize included two tickets to see Metallica play in Marley Park thanks to Universal Music, and the third prize was a Meath country tracksuit donated by the local GAA club.
Around 60 locals attended the event with eight-year-old Conor Gorman providing commentary for those unable to see all the action from vantage points along the race route.
"The idea was that everyone in the community could come down and cheer on their ducks and on the day they were going bananas … once the first 50 crossed the finishing line, one lad threw his dog into the river,” said race organiser Karen Ward.
Funds for the family event are to be divided equally between the Kilmessan camogie club and the Help us Give Smiles (H.U.G.S) project for orphans in Kenya.
Event organiser and camogie enthusiast Karen will be spending her 30th birthday in Kenya working for the H.U.G.S project to assist the Terry Child Support and youth resource centre in Machakos. Karen and her fellow volunteers will perform a variety of tasks for the centre, including helping to milk goats and assisting staff with the 200 destitute children who call the orphanage home.
The event was such a success that the Kilmessan camogie club plans to run it every year to raise funds for the club and the various charities that club members promote.
There was one minor casualty of the day - Karen is still looking for a rubber yellow duck with the number 89 written on the underside. Click here to watch an interview with the founder and director of Terry Child Support Leah Ambwaya.