Tirol International Open Hopfgarten, Austria.
8th to 11th October 2004.
This is an old and established competition running for more than 10 years; it is one of the three most important pistol 1500 events in Europe. This would be regarded as the Wimbledon of the PPC 1500 pistol world such is the high standard of the participants. More than 80% of the Hopfgarten participants are among the top shooters of Europe.
The Team consisted of John and Michael Walls of Fingal Target Sporting Club, Dave Cooney of Fassaroe Sporting Club, Pat Herlihey of Fermoy Rifle Club, with the Team coach and Team Captain Elmar Eggerer of Fingal Sporting Club. All members trained with limited equipment leading up to the match but managed to practice sufficiently to ensure a very credible performance.
The open match saw Michael Walls of Fingal Target Sporting Club outperform a former European Champion, Czech professional shooter Emil Fejer. Nine nations were represented at the event Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The Irish contingent was the third largest group after the home country Austria and Germany. This was the first time an Irish Team had entered this competition and it was a first for all of the Irish Team.
Teams were made up of a pair, and Irish shooters participated in all disciplines, scoring in all 10 events. The Irish team were ranked in the top 10 in every event.
The Irish Two-Man Teams representing the National Rifle and Pistol Association of Ireland were Team Ireland 2 – John and Michael Walls – who beat Team Ireland 1 – Dave Cooney and Pat Herlihey – into second place, in a field of 22 teams.
Main Match: 1st Michael Walls, 3rd Dave Cooney, 5th John Walls, 6th Pat Herlihey.
Open Match: 1st Michael Walls, 2nd Elmar Eggerer, 6th Dave Cooney 7th John Walls.
Distinguished Revolver: 1st John Walls, 2nd Pat Herlihey
Distinguished Pistol: 3rd Michael Walls, 5th Pat Herlihey, 6th Dave Cooney
Service Revolver: 1st John Walls, 4th Michael Walls, 5th Dave Cooney, 6th Elmar Edgerer
Stock Semi-Auto: 3rd Dave Cooney, 4th Elmar Eggerer, 5th Path Herlihey.
Off Duty Revolver: 1st Michael Walls, 2nd John Walls
Team totals and Individual positions: 6 First Positions, 7 Second Positions and 3 third positions.
In addition to individual and team prizes the team won an additional 12 prizes ranging from high quality shooting glasses to Austrian Home Cured Bacon, which goes to prove that the NRPAI representatives have “brought home the bacon”, 32½ years late but that was outside their control!
All results were achieved by Irish Team members with Target Pistols and Revolvers that were borrowed from Custom Gunsmith Ralf Merkle of Stuttgart, the organizing club, and other competitors.
With their very credible performance the Irish Competitors made such an impression that the NRPAI has been accepted into The World Association 1500, which is the world wide governing body for PPC 1500. The Irish representatives to be sent as delegates into the World Association 1500 Council will be announced shortly.
Such was the good will generated that top ranking officials and shooting coaches from Germany and Austria have offered to come to Ireland at their own expense to help promote shooting sports in Ireland and help with the provision of top class coaching to potential Irish international competitors. We are looking forward to the proposed visit of German Association 1500 Chief Friedrich Storrer of the BDMP.
The Irish Team were very well received and were provided with an enthusiastic welcome from all other participating countries, the Irish Flag was flown proudly on the team car and in the coaching zone throughout the competition. Particularly well received was the address of thanks given by Pat Herlihey Secretary of the NRPAI in Irish and English and translated into German by Team Coach and Captain Elmar Eggerer.
The Irish Team’s excellent results where greatly influenced by the excellent coaching, planning, support and organization provided for by Team Coach and Captain, Dr Elmar Eggerer, MA, PhD; his long term involvement with European 1500 PPC Competitions was evident in the excellent results achieved in such a short time by essentially an inexperienced Irish Team; one wonders about the success capability of the Irish Competitors given the appropriate equipment and the time for preparation.
Such was the hospitality and services provided by the Hopfgarten club, and as well as the friendly attitude and approach of all the shooters, that the places have already been booked by the Irish Team for next years Tirol International Open.
Note: from Photos, FLAG presentation:
Hopfgarten Club Officials:
Left: Josef Laiminger
Right: Elmar Hueffer
The Team in full swing.
Close up of John Walls target after 18 shots at 25m.