Strong Skibb squad bursting with talent

July 13th, 2018 1:00 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Practice makes perfect: Skibbereen's junior 15 girls quad of Sinead Coakley, Aleesha Hurley, Kelly Oferji and Lucy Cannon on the Ilen River.

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Local rowers are keen to add to 170 national titles

Local rowers are keen to add to 170 national titles


THEIR four elite men’s rowers are away in Lucerne – but Skibbereen Rowing Club are still sending a formidable squad to the 2018 Irish Rowing Championships this weekend.

Gary and Paul O’Donovan, Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan are all competing at World Rowing Cup III in Switzerland, but they’ll be keeping a close eye on events at the National Rowing Centre from Friday to Sunday.

Last year Skibbereen won seven national titles to move to a total of 170, further strengthening their position as the county’s number one and most successful rowing club.

The team sent to Inniscarra this weekend is bursting with talent, and leading the charge will be 2017 European silver medallist Denise Walsh who will form a senior double with Aoife Casey, daughter of Irish lightweight coach Dominic, who will be in Lucerne with the Rowing Ireland team.

Indeed, it will be a busy weekend for coach Casey’s family as all four of his children – Niamh, Aoife, Caoimhe and Dominic – are set to be in action, with 11-year-old Dominic the youngest Skibb rower taking part.

There will be huge local interest in the club’s masters’ ladies’ eight, a social crew that came together last year and who are competing at the nationals for the first time.

Also, a large number of the club’s rowers who will be representing Ireland at various upcoming competitions in the coming weeks are in action this weekend. 

Kealan Mannix, Orla Hayes, Niamh Casey and Aine McCarthy will all be competing at the Home International, while Aoibhinn Keating has been named on the Irish junior women’s sculling team for the 2018 Coupe de la Jeunesse that will be held at the National Rowing Centre at the end of the month.

Twins Jake and Fintan McCarthy, and Lydia Heaphy will row for Ireland at the 2018 U23 world championships in Poznan at the end of the month (July 25 – 29).

Skibb’s junior 16 and junior 15 boys’ and girls’ crews are also worth keeping an eye on. 

The full Skibbereen team taking part at the 2018 Irish Rowing Championships from Friday to Sunday is as follows:

Senior women: Niamh Casey, Aine McCarthy, Lydia Heaphy, Orla Hayes, Marie Pigott, Gillian Hosford, Natalie Long, Ber Walsh, Denise Walsh, Aoife Casey, Alicia O’Neill and Caoimhe Casey.

Senior men: Justin Ryan, Kealan Mannix, Diarmuid O’Driscoll, Aodhan Burns, Jake McCarthy and Fintan McCarthy.

Junior women: Aoibhinn Keating, Aine Barry, Sinead Coakley, Lucy Cannon, Kelly Oferji, Aleesha Hurley, Claire Griffin, Louise Murran, Lorna Nugent and Ali O’Shea.

Junior men: Shane Cotter, James Robey, Alex Lockwood, Fionn O’Regan, Daire Kavanagh, Finn O’Reilly, Ethan O’Connor, Jack Conway, Sam Field, Sam Nugent, Greg Robey, Conor Smyth, Alan Cotter, Oisin Boyle, Eoin Murran, Dominic Casey, Cathal O’Donovan, Christopher O’Donovan, Gavin Coakley and Eoghan Barry.

Masters’ women: Michelle O’Shea, Janet Murran, Collette Cawley, Barbara Nugent, Sharon Murphy, Margaret Fitzgerald, Pauline Daly, Katrina Willsher, Norma Casey, Majella O’Neill, Catherine Harte and Emily Dulohery.

Coaches involved with Skibbereen include Ellen McCarthy, Emily Dulohery, Richard Keating, Sean O’Brien, Mike Cotter and TJ Ryan. 

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