Skibb’s next generation shine on international stage

May 30th, 2023 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Skibbereen Rowing Club's J19 women's eight that won their event in Ghent; from left, Hazel Deane, Eimer Martin, Chloe O’Donovan, Alannah Keane, cox Rowan O’Driscoll, Orla Seymour, Niamh O’Donovan, Julia Cotter and Caitriona O’Neill.

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SKIBBEREEN Rowing Club have a love eight relationship with the Ghent International May Regatta!

The club took 29 rowers to Belgium for the 102nd running of the prestigious event earlier this month, coming home with eight victories as well as a raft of silver and bronze medals.

The regatta is a two-day event, catering for all ages from U12 beginners up to senior men and women, and the Skibbereen club, once again, held its own against top opposition.

On Saturday morning, Oran Roycroft was the first Skibb athlete to launch, racing in the U23 single scull, and he was followed by Caitriona O’Neill in the U23 lightweight single scull. Both young athletes raced strongly in very competitive races.

Franek Lechtanski impressed in the J15 single scull.

Next up was the J15 boys single scull event with Mark Yaskozhuk, Jack Burchill, Franek Lechtanski and Brion Hurley racing for the first time at an international regatta. The event had 64 participants and it was Franek who came out on top to record Skibb’s first win of the weekend.

After that, it was two J18 women fours that took to the start line with Moya Knowles, Aoife Hendy, Jessica Crowley and Ailise O’Sullivan going on to take the second win of the day on the Watersportbaan waters. The J19 single sculling races followed with Cathal McCarthy, Patryk Balassa, Dominic Casey, Oran Roycroft, Rowan O’Driscoll and Aengus Riou Allen all putting in very strong performances against a strong field of international athletes.

The junior women’s eight of Julia Cotter, Caitriona O’Neill, Niamh O’Donovan, Orla Seymour, Alannah Keane, Chloe O’Donovan, Eimer Martin, Hazel Deane and cox Rowan O’Driscoll put in a very strong crew performance to take silver in a very tight race the entire way down the 2000m course. Eveanna Goulding and Eve Waugh-O’Brien raced the lightweight double and gained great racing experience in doing so.

Skibbereen's J19 four of Dominic Casey, Mattias Cogan, Aengus Riou Allen and Cathal McCarthy won gold in Ghent.

Sarah Coughlan and Emily Sheehan raced the J19 double scull with great enthusiasm in what was a very promising race for the young athletes. Rowan O’Driscoll and Tomás Burchill gave a great display of rowing in the J19 double scull, with the younger crew of Ultan Kearney and Franek Lechtanski putting in a strong performance, showing the future of the club is in good hands. Two J19 pairs, Hazel Deane/Alannah Keane and Niamh O’Donovan/Orla Seymour, raced very strongly in a competitive field.

Two J19 quad sculls took to the course on Saturday afternoon with Moya Knowles, Jessica Crowley, Aoife Hendy and Ailise O’Sullivan winning the event outright. The quad scull of Eve Waugh O’Brien, Emily Sheehan, Sarah Coughlan and Eveanna Goulding raced a very impressive race from start to finish. To wrap up the first day of racing, the J19 coxed four of Dominic Casey, Mattias Cogan, Aengus Riou Allen, Cathal McCarthy and cox Orla Hayes crossed the line in first place, securing another gold medal for the club.

The first crew to race on day two of the regatta was Mark Yaskozhuk and Franek Lechtanski in the J15 double scull event. The two boys put in a very solid performance to come away with a victory in an event that had 32 other boats competing. Next to follow in the J19 pair were Dominic Casey and Cathal McCarthy, who also put in a great performance to come away with victory. The J19 coxed four of Tomás Burchill, Oran Roycroft, Aengus Riou Allen, Rowan O’Driscoll and cox Orla Hayes crossed the line in second place in a race that had an all-Irish entry.

Skibbereen's impressive J19 coxless four; from left Aoife Hendy, Moya Knowles, Jessica Crowley and AIlise OSullivan.

Moya Knowles had an excellent race in the J19 single scull, coming home with a silver medal in a very competitive field. Moya added to the medal collection with another silver in the J19 pair with Ailise O’Sullivan. The J17 girls performed fearlessly to win two events and come second in another at that age category.

Aoife Hendy, Jessica Crowley, Chloe O’Donovan and Hazel Deane came second in the J17 quad scull, with Aoife Hendy and Jessica Crowley pairing up to win the J17 double scull. Aoife Hendy then went on to win the J17 single scull with Jessica Crowley coming home in third place at this event.

Mid-Sunday afternoon, the J19 women’s eight of Moya Knowles, Ailise O’Sullivan, Alannah Keane, Julia Cotter, Niamh O’Donovan, Orla Seymour, Eimear Martin, Caitriona O’Neill, coxed by Rowan O’Driscoll, powered down the course in a very tightly contest racing. The eight came away with a victory by a one second margin to win the event.

A very exciting race unfolded in the final event of the regatta. The J15 quad scull of Mark Yaskozhuk, Jack Burchill, Franek Lechtanski and Brion Hurley stormed home to victory much to the delight of all the Skibbereen coaches, supporters and athletes.

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