Local primary schools encouraged to dip their oars in water with South West Rowing regatta

April 25th, 2023 8:45 AM

By Southern Star Team

At the launch of The Southern Star South West Rowing Schools Regatta 2023 were, front from left, Méabh Ní Dhonnabháin, Chloe Ronan, Hannah Harte and Bonnie Hayes. Back, from left, Kieran McCarthy, sports editor The Southern Star; Stephen O'Leary, South West Rowing Chairman, and Tony Mannix, South West Rowing Development Officer. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

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FOLLOWING the ongoing success of Irish rowers on the world stage in recent years, all forms of rowing have experienced an uplift in interest. 

To deal with the increased demand from younger rowers, South West Rowing has organised its fifth schools’ regatta for May 14th on the lagoon in Rosscarbery. Here, teams from primary schools will race against each other.

Tony Mannix, rowing development officer with South West Rowing, says there is great demand to get out on the water from the younger generation. He adds that clubs are finding that 10- to 12-year-olds are looking to take to the water and this surge in interest will make it a busy but exciting time for coastal rowing clubs. 


South West Rowing Chairman Stephen O’Leary explains that every year South West Rowing has run the schools’ regatta, it has grown in size. In 2022, 32 schools competed with 168 rowers on the water on Kilkern Lake. As an initiative to encourage greater participation of primary school children in coastal rowing, O’Leary says that the schools’ regatta has proved a great success.

There are coastal rowing clubs all along the coast of West Cork, from Kilmacsimon to Castletownbere, and O’Leary is encouraging national schools to contact their local club, who will train pupils from fourth, fifth, and sixth classes for the four weeks before the event. He says it will give them a taste of what it feels like to be part of a four-person crew.

The South West Rowing chairman also says that parents of children who are interested can call directly to their nearest rowing club and join one of its training sessions. The South West coastal clubs are Kilmacsimon, Courtmacsherry, Ring, Galley Flash, Rosscarbery, Myross, Schull, and Castletownbere.

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