2020 coastal schools’ regatta will be bigger and better than ever

March 13th, 2020 8:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Lucy Harrington, Amy Harrington, Stella Callaghan, Alan Barrett and Anna Brinkman, pupils of Rathbarry National School, at the launch of The Southern Star South West Coastal Rowing Schools' Regatta that will be held at Kilkern Lake, Galley Head in May.

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IT’S exciting news as The Southern Star and the South West Coast Yawl Rowing Association (SWCYRA) have joined forces to ensure that the 2020 schools’ regatta is bigger and better than ever.

This popular coastal rowing schools’ regatta is now entering its fourth year and this year’s event, The Southern Star South West Coastal Rowing Schools Regatta, will see a return to Kilkern Lake and take place on Sunday, May 24th.

Since 2017 the SWCYRA has held hugely successful schools’ regattas annually to promote the sport of coastal rowing and give children the experience of rowing while representing their schools and competing alongside their friends.

This event is mainly suitable for fifth and sixth classes in primary schools and training takes place at the schools’ local coastal rowing club, with the clubs providing all the boats, equipment and expertise.

‘The support of The Southern Star will be invaluable in terms of promoting this pivotal event that is now entering its fourth year,’ SWCYRA Chairman Stephen O’Leary said.

‘The schools’ regatta is a great introduction to rowing for primary school children. Many who have taken part in the regattas previously have continued with their rowing training and gone on to compete in West Cork, county and national regattas.’

In 2019, 25 local national schools competed in the schools’ regatta with 200 rowers filling 50 crews on the water on the lagoon at Rosscarbery.

The top school for representation last year was Darrara NS with five crews, followed closely by Barryroe, Timoleague, Union Hall and St Mary’s of Rosscarbery with four crews each.

Host club Rosscarbery presented rowers from a broad range of schools: Ardagh, St Mary’s, Kilmeen, Gaelscoil Cloich na Coillte, St Mary’s Dunmanway and St Patrick’s Dunmanway.

The Kilmacsimon rowing club had crews from Ballinadee, Knockavilla, Castlelack and Dunderrow schools while Ring rowing club presented crews from Darrara, Knockskeagh, St Josephs, Scoil Na mBuachailli and Gaelscoil Cloich na Coillte.

The Courtmacsherry club had crews from Barryroe, Timoleague and Bandon Bridge schools while Castletownbere presented teams from the Beara schools. Galleyflash had rowers from Lisavaird, Ardfield, and Scoil Na mBuachailli while Myross rowing club was represented by Union Hall, Leap and Castletownshend schools.

As you can see, there is a huge geographical spread as children from all across West Cork get the chance to learn about coastal rowing and gain hands-on experience.

Again, the 2019 event was an outstanding success, as the popularity of rowing grows year after year in West Cork, thanks in no small way to the Olympic silver medal success of the O’Donovan brothers at the 2016 Games in Rio.

With Tokyo 2020 coming up in July, local interest in rowing is likely to spike further this summer.

Huge numbers of ten to 12-year-olds have taken to the water and this surge in interest makes it a busy but exciting time for coastal rowing clubs. As an initiative to encourage greater participation of primary school children in coastal rowing, the schools’ regatta is proving a great success.

There are coastal rowing clubs all along the coast of West Cork from Kilmacsimon to Castletownbere so national schools in the area are encouraged to contact their local rowing club who train the children aged 10-12 for six weeks before the event and give them a taste of what it feels like to be part of a four-person coastal rowing boat.

Schools that are interested in taking part in the The Southern Star South West Coastal Rowing Schools Regatta can contact their local rowing club for further details.

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