SKIBBEREEN Rowing Club’s top rowers were in record-breaking form at the Irish Rowing Championships last weekend.
Not only did the club win eight national titles to rubberstamp their position as the number one club in the country, they did so in style with some sensational performances over the three days of action at the National Rowing Centre in Inniscarra.
Skibbereen have now moved on to a grand total of 178 titles national titles.
On Saturday afternoon, the senior men’s quad of Jake McCarthy, Fintan McCarthy, Kealan Mannix and Aodhán Burns took centre stage as they powered to glory and beat the championship record of 5:59.10 by almost nine seconds with a stunning time of 5:50.696.
This win was extra special for Kealan as it is his first national championship title win.
Also on Saturday, the women’s senior pair of Áine McCarthy and Niamh Casey broke the existing record as they won in 7:17.16, six seconds faster than the old record. This completed a double for Áine and Niamh who won the women’s intermediate pair on Friday, which was Áine’s first national rowing title.
Áine and Niamh were then part of the women’s senior eight as Skibbereen wrapped up the weekend with another massive win.
The strong crew line-up of Denise Walsh, Niamh Casey, Aoife Casey, Natalie Long, Marie Piggot, Áine McCarthy Orla Hayes and Lydia Heaphy, coxed by Alicia O’Neill, proved to be too much for the other three boats in the final.
Aodhan Burns was also on the winner’s podium after his impressive win in the lightweight single scull, while twins Jake and Fintan McCarthy got Skibbereen off to a flying start on Friday with victory over Sligo Rowing Club in the senior men’s double scull. The McCarthy brothers are in great form going to the U23 world championships in the coming weeks.
International rowers Denise Walsh and Aoife Casey showed their class as they combined forces to win the senior women’s double scull on Friday.
Before lunch on Saturday Lydia Heaphy and Marie Pigot claimed victory in the women’s intermediate double scull.
In the junior women’s single scull Aoibhinn Keating was very unlucky to be beaten into second place by Molly Curry from Coleraine Grammar School. Both athletes will be representing Ireland at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in the National Rowing Centre at the end of this month.
Also, the masters’ ladies had a great race to come third, which is very impressive as they are a new crew and were competing at the nationals for the first time.
Skibbereen also had plenty of success in the non-championship underage races over the weekend. Friday morning saw junior 15 single scullers Oisin Boyle, Eoghan Barry, Cathal O’Donovan, Alan Cotter and Eoin Murran take to the water and battle down the course in great style.
Next up was the junior 16 quad scull of Fionn O’Regan, Finn O’Reilly, Ethan O’Connor, Daire Kavanagh and cox Eoin Murran which got through heats and a semi-final to take a win in a hugely competitive final – it was neck and neck the entire way through the 2000m course with the boys going to on to win by one second over Cork Boat Club.
The future is bright for junior women’s rowing in Skibbereen as two junior 15 quads of Sinead Coakley, Aleesha Hurley, Kelly Oferji, cox Lucy Cannon, Ailica O’Neill and Aine Barry, Claire Griffin, Ailica O’Sullivan cox Ali O’Shea took to the water on Friday afternoon.
Lorna Nugent had a great race in the junior 14 single scull and has a bright future ahead of her.
Saturday morning kicked off with the club single scull and Skibbereen Rowing Club were well represented by Shane Cotter, Sam Field, Sam Nugent, Conor Smyth, Jack Conway and Greg Robey. The rowing club’s youngest competitor, Dominic Casey, raced the junior 14 single scull. Gavin Coakley won this event, holding his nerve to win to cross the line first in a very close race.
Alan Cotter, Oisin Boyle, Eoin Murran and Cathal O’Donovan all combined to race the junior 15 quad scull and were coxed to victory by Dominic Casey.