SKIBBEREEN Rowing Club’s young guns made their presence felt at the club’s recent Grand League regatta at the National Rowing Centre held on a Saturday and Sunday.
This year’s regatta drew the largest entry on record for the event with 770 crews competing over two full days in ideal calm weather conditions. Crews travelled from all over the country to compete at the first full status regatta of the season.
Skibbereen Rowing Club had a full line-up, from Junior 14 racing for the first time to masters’ ladies, competing over the weekend. Such were the performances, Skibb now sit second in the Grand League table, just behind UL Rowing Club who had Rosscarbery rower Kealan Mannix in top form last weekend.
Emily Sheehan was the first Skibbereen athlete to take to the water early Saturday morning for her debut single scull race. She was followed closely by the Junior 14 boys’ quad of Mark Yaskozhuk, Jack Burchill, Franek Lechtanski and Brion Hurley who put in a very solid race, crossing the line in second place. Both of these J14 races were over a distance of 1000m.
Skibbereen had two boats racing in the Division One pairs category – Eoin Murran and Cathal O’Donovan in the intermediate pair and Dominic Casey and Cathal McCarthy in the J18 pair.
Both crews raced very well in their heats and finals with Dominic and Cathal going on to win the J18 category. This was the first win of the weekend for Skibbereen.
The younger athletes raced the J14 single sculls before the break for lunch with Franek Lechtanski coming home with the next victory.
The Division One men’s single scull was a hotly-contested race with a very competitive final where Finn O’Reilly crossed the line in second place. Christopher O’Donovan is showing some early-season speed and had an encouraging performance in the B final.
The intermediate women’s four of Marie Pigott, Louise McCarthy, Ellen McCarthy and Kate O’Brien, with cox Orla Hayes, crossed the line in second place to get the next block of finals going in the early afternoon.
The J18B double scull of Rowan O’Driscoll and Tomás Burchill gave a great display of rowing to win their event category. Eoin O’Donovan and Cillian Keane had a super race in the J16 double sculls which is a very competitive category.
A very exciting race followed with the J18B women’s eight of Eimer Martin, Hazel Deane, Audrey McCarthy, Chloe O’Donovan, Alannah Keane, Orla Seymour, Niamh O’Donovan and Julia Cotter, coxed by Bernadette Walsh, coming away with a victory.
The junior women’s quad scull of Aoife Hendy, Moya Knowles, Jessica Crowley and Ailise O’Sullivan raced very competitively and crossed the line in first place.
Audrey McCarthy and Chloe O’Donovan, in the women’s J16 double scull, wrapped up racing on day one of the regatta with a fine victory.
Conditions were flat calm for day two of racing early Sunday morning. The J15 girls raced very strongly in their single sculls with Audrey McCarthy winning her final. Then Abigail Fowler and Sarah Coughlan came second in their respective finals and Eve Waugh-O’Brien crossed the line in fourth place for her first-ever race in the single scull. The women’s senior four of Kate O’Brien, Marie Pigott, Ellen McCarthy and Alannah Keane had a terrific race and crossed the line in second place.
Oran Roycroft, Aengus Riou Allen, Daniel Popielniki, Ultan Kearney, Patryk Balassa, and Tomás Burchill all had competitive races in the Division Two single sculls.
The masters ladies of Mairead O’Shea, Barbara Galvin, Trish O’Leary and Elaine O’Flynn raced in double sculls and both boats finished third in their respective finals.
The J15 athletes of Eve Waugh O’Brien, Sarah Coughlan, Abigail Fowler and Emily Sheehan, cox Jack Burchill, had a very closely-fought race in the quad scull narrowly beating the Castleconnell quad.
Eveanna Goulding, Audrey McCarthy, Chloe O’Donovan, Julia Cotter and Caitriona O’Neill all had competitive races in the Division Two single sculls.
Matt Cogan and Ultan Kearney both gave very commanding performances in the J15 single scull event and won their respective finals. Cillian Keane and Jack Burchill also raced in this category and put in strong performances, gaining great experience.
A very exciting race wrapped up the afternoon nicely with the J18A women’s eight of Moya Knowles, Ailise O’Sullivan, Jessica Crowley, Aoife Hendy, Alannah Keane, Hazel Deane, Niamh O’Donovan and Eimear Martin, coxed by Rowan O’Driscoll, coming away with a victory.
The coaches and athletes of Skibbereen Rowing Club made an impressive debut in the season opener, showcasing their skills and determination on the water. The coaches were praised for their meticulous planning and dedication, while the athletes demonstrated exceptional teamwork and strong performances in their respective races.
The club will build on this regatta and it will be all systems go for Skibbereen Rowing Club’s Drinagh Lake Regatta on Sunday, May 28th; all welcome on the day.
Athletes focus will now move internationally as a big squad from Skibbereen Rowing Club travel to compete in Ghent, Belgium on May 6th/7th.