The competitive world of conkers, where only the strongest survivePA

Aileen Dooley bears the scars of battle, but the “swollen and bruised” arm she is suffering from Monday will soon heal, and the title of Irish Conker Champion, which she won yesterday, will endure for a year.

“I am wearing the bruises with pride, believe me,” Dooley told Irish radio. "I woke up this morning and thought what just happened 'I am the Irish Conker Champion!"

Conkers pits two competitors against each other with nothing but their wits, skill and their trusty conkers.

The conker, which comes from the horse chestnut tree, is threaded on a piece of string, and each player strikes the other’s conker in turn until one breaks.

Take a look at our video to see the intense competition firsthand.

The 10th Annual Irish Conker championships was held Sunday in Freshford, County Dublin and was won by hometown girl Dooley, whose family is even more delighted as they do a lot of the hard graft that goes into putting the championship together.

"I think they were as surprised as me when they saw me on the podium lifting up the cup," she continued.

Not only that, but Dooley has entered the contest every year and until yesterday, had never got past the second round.

And it not just the title that is won: there is a lot of loot to be primed from climbing to the top of the Irish conker charts.

“I’ve got  €500, the crown, the cup and the glory, and I have the option of representing Ireland in the World Conkers Championship if I want," she said.

The World Conker Championships take place every year in Ashton in Northamptonshire on the second Sunday in October, so presumably Dooley has the bones of a year to prepare for her tilt at the world title, should she choose to pursue that dream. 

60,000 conkers were amassed for the competition and of this, 2,000 were handicapped and used in the tournaments, from u-12s right up to adults.

200 determined conker competitors entered the Village Green in Freshford to chase their dream of an Irish title. 

Under the watchful gaze of 53 mature horse chestnut trees, dreams were shattered and cracked conkers were strewn on the ground until Dooley emerged as the last woman standing.

Though she claimed her victory was a "fluke," the other 199 souls who are sore this morning will know that there is no shortage of skill and guile needed to win the championship.