Ireland’s top rowing club adds three more titles to collection
SKIBBEREEN Rowing Club confirmed their position as Ireland’s number one rowing club by adding three more titles to their lengthy list.
The club sent a team of 60 rowers to the biggest-ever Irish Rowing Championships at the National Rowing Centre in Inniscarra last weekend, from junior 14s to masters, and all flew the Skibb flag with distinction.
There was plenty of underage success for Skibbereen though only championship titles for U18s and above count on the overall roll of honour. Here, Kealan Mannix (intermediate single scull), Aodhán Burns (lightweight single scull) and Kealan Mannix and Finn O’Reilly (intermediate double) added to the club’s impressive tally that now stands at 181 national titles.
Alan Cotter, Eoin Murran, Cathal O’Donovan, Antonio Villas Luna and Dominic Casey (cox) kick-started the weekend with a dominant win in the junior 16 boys’ quad. Finn O’Reilly came in third place in what was a super competitive junior men’s single scull event. All top four junior men combine to form the international quad for the Coupe de la Jeunesse in Italy next month. Friday also saw both Kealan Mannix in the senior men’s scull and the senior women’s double of Niamh Casey and Orla Hayes finish second in very tight finishes.
The winning form continued on Saturday morning with Gavin Coakley taking a convincing win in the junior 14 single scull and Dominic Casey in third place in the same event.
The junior 16 girls of Áine Barry and Sinead Coakley took to the course next in single sculls and both qualified for the final in a very competitive field of 36 entries. Áine finished in fifth place with Sinead close behind in sixth place. Caoimhe Casey just missed out in qualifying for the women’s club scull final in a really close finish in her semi-final.
The junior 14 girls’ octuple crew of Louise Murran, Moya Knowles, Claire Griffen, Ailise O’Sullivan, Caitlyn O’Donovan, Jessica Crowley, Blathin Barry, Niamh O’Donovan and Aleesha Hurley (cox) came home in third place in a six-boat race.
The men’s junior 15 quad of Gavin Coakley, Jonathon McCarthy, Christopher O’Donovan, Dominic Casey and Louise Murran (cox) had a belter of a race and were just pipped at the finish line. Winning form returned with a victory for Kelly Oferji in the junior 15 single scull. This is a remarkable result as it was Kelly’s first-ever race in the single scull.
Kealan Mannix won the intermediate single scull national championship to add to the tally and he will see his name go up on the honour-roll board in the club for the first time in a single scull. Saturday’s racing was concluded with a terrific battle where the junior men’s quad of Finn O’Reilly, Shane Cotter, Oisin Boyle and Daire Kavanagh came in fourth place.
Day three of the nationals, Sunday, began with the junior 16 men’s scull. As there was a massive entry of 71 boats, the first round of this event was a time trial with the 18 fastest times going through to the semi-finals. Skibbereen were well represented in this event with four boats competing for the top position. Oisin Boyle, Alan Cotter, Eoin Murran and Antonio Villas Luna all took to the water for the time trial, with Oisin, Alan and Eoin all making the semi-finals. Alan and Oisin went forward to the final in what was a very exciting race. Alan finished in second place and Oisin was hot on his heels in third place. These are two outstanding results in what was such a large event.
Skibbereen masters’ ladies’ crew of Sharon Murphy, Barbara Nugent, Janet Murran, Mags Fitzgerald and Aisling Fitzgerald (cox) raced in the quad and crossed the line in fourth place. The Skibb four joined forces with four ladies from Bantry – Susan Harrington, Majella O’Keeffe, Meabh Harrington and Aileen Daly – and Richard Hosford (cox) and raced an eight on Saturday afternoon.
Aodhán Burns added to the national champs’ tally when he gave a master-class in the lightweight single scull. Aodhán was in control of this race from the get-go and never let his competition come within an inch of him.
The junior 16 girls’ quad of Sinead Coakley, Lucy Cannon, Kelly Oferji, Aine Barry and Aleesha Hurley were not going to be left behind in the championship party either. Displaying a very confident style of rowing they comfortably got through heats and the semi-final. In the final they came home in first place, leading from the start and finishing 13 seconds ahead of the next crew. John Whooley raced in the masters’ scull and added another medal to his collection coming across the line in first place.
Sunday afternoon also saw the two junior 14 girls’ quads take to the water. The Skibbereen A crew of Louise Murran, Claire Griffen, Ailise O’Sullivan and Caitlyn O’Donovan, and Dominic Casey (cox), came in a very close second place. The Skibbereen B crew of Moya Knowles, Niamh O’Donovan, Jessica Crowley and Blaitin Barry, with Caoimhe Casey (cox), finished third.
The Skibbereen senior women of Orla Hayes, Niamh Casey, Natalie Long and Áine McCarthy paired up with UCC to make a composite crew in that took second place before a very competitive NUIG crew.
The weekend was wrapped up very nicely with a win in the men’s intermediate double event. Kealan Mannix paired up with junior Finn O’Reilly to claim victory in the last race of the weekend.
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