BY KIERAN McCARTHY
THERE’S no rest for the talented.
The day after winning Ireland’s first-ever medal at the European Rowing Junior Championships, Aoife Casey (17) was back in class at Skibbereen Community School.
The fifth year student has end-of-year exams next week so she was keen not to miss out, despite only flying back into Dublin on Sunday night after her silver-medal winning heroics in Krefeld in Germany.
Partnered by Margaret Cremen of Lee Rowing Club in the Irish double, the Cork pair finished second behind a dominant German crew and ahead of Italy, with Denmark, the Czech Republic and Great Britain also competing in the A final.
‘It was a great result, we’re delighted and it was nice to see that our hard work in training over the last few months paid off,’ explained Aoife, daughter of Rowing Ireland High Performance Coach Dominic Casey, who guided Gary and Paul O’Donovan to Olympic silver success last year.
‘We’re the first-ever Irish crew to medal there so hopefully we can start a trend!
‘We came second in our heat, second in our semi-final and second in the final.
‘We got over our nerves in the heat and we built on from there, and it was good that we qualified straight from our heat on Saturday and that we didn’t need to go through the repechage. The semi-final and final were both on Sunday.’
Talented Skibbereen Rowing Club international Aoife competed at the world junior rowing championships last year with club-mate Emily Hegarty, and also won silver medals at the 2015 Coupe de la Jeunesse.
In March after trials she was partnered with Margaret Cremen in the double sculls and the early signs are very encouraging.
‘It’s great to have a medal to show from our work so far and it’s a stepping stone for, hopefully, the junior world championships in Lithuania in early August – that will be a target, to try and get there,’ explained Aoife, who added that the pair are coached by Eleanor Casey (her mother) and Dan Buckley.
Aoife’s silver medal continues an impressive start to the international season for Skibbereen RC athletes, with Orla Hayes winning gold in the lightweight single at the Ghent International May Regatta, Denise Walsh winning silver in the lightweight single in World Cup I in Belgrade, and Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan winning gold at the same World Cup event, in the men’s lightweight pair.