Meegan and Rafferty Take Second Coupe Gold

Two A Finals, two gold medals. Zach Meegan and Shane Rafferty could not have done any better for the Ireland team at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in Castrelo de Mino in Spain.
Britain have been outstanding at the European junior tournament, and their double of Harvey Orskov and Edward Andrews, who took silver on Saturday behind Meegan and Rafferty, were not going to give Ireland an easy time on the Sunday. They took the race to the Irish in the middle stages, but the Athlone/St Michael’s combination were ready. They raced well in the final two quarters and said they knew they had the British bested in the final quarter. Switzerland took silver and Britain bronze.
The Ireland junior men’s coxed four were contenders for a medal in their A Final. Christopher O’Donovan, Harry Feeney, Andrew O’Leary, James Young and cox Noah Giltinan were just three seconds away from a bronze in a close race won by Hungary, with Britain taking silver and France bronze.
The women’s four of Amy Barrett, Kelly Oforji, Alannah O’Donohoe and Ranya Praxmarer finished sixth in their final, as did Rohan O’Hara Nolan in the junior single sculls.

Coupe de la Jeunesse, Castrelo de Mino, Spain (Sunday, Irish interest)
Men, Junior
Four, coxed – Heat Two: 1 Ireland 7:07.45. A Final: 5 Ireland 6:54.68
Double – Heat One: 2 Ireland 7:08.67. A Final: 1 Ireland (Z Meegan, S Rafferty) 6:53.15.
Single – Heat One: 3 Ireland (R O’Hara Nolan) 7:51.81. A Final: 6 Ireland 7:51.34.
Women, Junior
Four – Heat Two: 2 Ireland 7:26.13. A Final: 6 Ireland 7:26.92

Gold for Ireland Double at Coupe de la Jeunesse

Ireland’s junior men’s double of Shane Rafferty and Zach Meegan won gold, and two other crews reached A Finals on the first day of the Coupe de la Jeunesse at Castrelo de Mino, Spain, today.
Rafferty and Meegan nailed their race plan as they won. They led early on, and while Belgium took over the lead at the 1,000 metre marker, Ireland shot into the lead again and won from Britain and Belgium (our picture shows Rafferty and Meegan (gold) with Britain, silver, and Belgium, bronze).
Rafferty was part of the junior quadruple which won the Irish Championships this year for St Michael’s of Limerick, while Meegan’s Athlone crew finished second.
Rohan O’Hara Nolan from Sligo Rowing Club finished fifth in an excellent A Final of the men’s single. Britain had been winning final after final and James Graham led this race coming into the final quarter. However, Italy’s Marco Gilardoni had been tracking him all the way and pushed him into second by .2 of a second. The Irish sculler won his battle with Florian Groenewegen of the Netherlands for fifth.
The men’s coxed four took sixth in their A Final, having finished second in their heat.
The women’s four took fourth in their heat and thus missed the A Final. However, they won their B Final by over 17 seconds from the Netherlands.

Coupe de la Jeunesse, Castrelo de Mino, Spain
Men, Junior
Four, coxed – Heat Two: 2 Ireland 6:58.81. A Final: 6 Ireland 6:57.13
Single Sculls – Heat Two: 3 Ireland (R O’Hara Nolan) 7:42.20. A Final: 5 O’Hara Nolan 7:55.53.
Double Sculls – Heat One: 2 Ireland 7:00.08. A Final: 1 Ireland 6:55.14.
Women, Junior
Four – Heat Two: 4 Ireland 7:24.66. B Final: 1 Ireland 7:42.41

Ireland Enter Women’s Eight for European Rowing Championships

UPDATE: The Ireland team for the European Rowing Championships in Munich will be made up of eight crews. There are six women’s crews, including a women’s eight.Twelve crews are entered, but high performance director Antonio Maurogiovanni has decided that the men’s heavyweight four, double and single will not compete, and the entry of Fintan McCarthy in the lightweight single is also not in the team. 
The eight draws on the strengths of the women’s sweep and sculling crews which are also set to compete. Zoe Hyde and Sanita Puspure (pic) from the women’s double join with the women’s pair of Emily Hegarty and Fiona Murtagh and the four of Natalie Long, Aifric Keogh, Tara Hanlon and stroke Eimear Lambe. It will be coxed by Leah O’Regan.
The women’s lightweight double of Lydia Heaphy and Margaret Cremen and lightweight single sculler Aoife Casey are also entered.
Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan both won medals in World Cup regattas this season, but as lightweight single scullers. They are entered for Munich in the crew in which they took gold at the Olympic Games, the lightweight double. A set of men’s heavyweight 

The pararowing crew of Steve McGowan and Katie O’Brien is also entered.

Ireland Rowing Team  for European Rowing Championships, Munich, August 11th-14th

Eight: Z Hyde, N Long, T Hanlon, S Puspure, A Keogh, F Murtagh, E Hegarty, E Lambe. cox: L O’Regan.
Four: Long, Keogh, Hanlon, Lambe.
Pair: Hegarty, Murtagh.
Double: Puspure, Hyde.
Lightweight Double: L Heaphy, M Cremen.
Lightweight Single: A Casey
Lightweight Double: F McCarthy, P O’Donovan

PR2 Mixed Double: K O’Brien, S McGowan.

Ireland Complete Under-19 Championships with Sixth, Ninth and C Final Win

Ireland recorded sixth, ninth and 13th placings at the Under-19th World Championships in Varese, Italy.
The sixth placing came in the women’s double. Holly Davis, a 17-year-old who won a medal at this level last year, teamed up with Anna Keating in the A Final. They would have hoped to reach the podium, but they could not force themselves into a race in which Greece raced away to win gold in a new world best time.
The women’s quadruple, a young and inexperienced crew, finished third in their B Final and thus took ninth, while the day had started with a good win the in C Final for Fergus Bryce of Coleraine Grammar School and Ciarán O’Sullivan of Lee (pic) in the men’s double, placing them 13th.

Four Medals for Ireland at World Under-23 Championships

Another remarkable day for Irish rowing. In little more than an hour at a major championships, Ireland contested four finals and landed four podium finishes.
Brian Colsh of NUIG and Konan Pazzaia started the run at the World Under-23 Championships in Varese with a bronze in the men’s double. Ireland were in fifth at halfway, with Moldova and Belgium contending at the head of the field. But then Ireland moved – and fast. They took out Germany and were challenging Moldova for silver coming to the line, as Belgium took gold.
Ireland quickly added a second bronze medal through the men’s four. The crew of Adam Murphy, Nathan Timoney, Andrew Sheehan and John Kearney (pic, courtesy WorldRowing) were never out of the running for a medal, holding third behind Britain and New Zealand in a leading group which formed early. Ireland pushed hard to up the colour of the medal, but the order stayed the same on the line.
The lightweight men’s double of Ciarán Purdy and Hugh Moore well deserved their silver. Again the work was done in the middle stages of the race. Spain were leaders early on, but as Italy moved into the gold medal spot, Ireland took over in second. The two Queen’s University men then hunted down the host nation, but Italy upped their race to 43 strokes per minute and thrilled their supporters with the win.
The women’s single sculls gave Alexandra Foester the chance to show what a good racer she is. The defending champion and gold medallist from the World Cup in Lucerne this month could only take second to the fast-finishing Alison Bergin in the semi-final, but the German gave no chance to the woman in green in the final. Foester was supreme and won well. Bergin, who had been solidly in third through the race, closed hard on Aurelia-Maxima Janzen of Switzerland coming to the line but could not quite catch her.
The session of finals had been brought forward because of concerns about the weather.
In the Junior 19 World Championships, Ireland’s Holly Davis and Anna Keating qualified for the A Final. The Netherlands won this semi-final with an imperious display. Ireland, who had been fifth after 500 metres, came through the middle stages with real intent, edging into third by 1,000 metres. They pushed passed Lithuania and France and up on the Dutch, who were not to be beaten. France took third.
This was the slower of the semi-finals – indeed, Greece set a new World Best Time in the other semi-final. They were followed in by Germany and Italy – all inside the winning time in Ireland’s semi.
The Greek crew is young: Styliani Natsioula is 17, Sofia Dalidou is 16.
The Ireland junior quadruple had hopes of making the A Final, but their semi-final got away from them. Britain, the United States and Poland got a firm hold on the top three places, while the young Ireland crew remained stuck in fifth.
They will contest the B Final on Sunday (9.55 Irish time), while the junior men’s double is in action in the C Final (9.15) . The women’s double A Final is scheduled for 12.40.

Bergin Lays Down Marker with Semi-Final Win at World Under-23 Championships

Alison Bergin of Fermoy laid down quite a marker as she won the semi-final of the single sculls at the World Under-23 Championships in Varese in Italy today.

 On the first day of the Championships, Alexandra Foester of Germany blew the field away in the heat. It was to be expected: the German had come to the event after winning at Lucerne World Cup. Bergin finished fourth.

 Bergin went on to win her repechage and qualify for the semi-final – only to draw Foester again. The Irishwoman, in lane six, started very well and led at 500 metres. Foester, in the middle of the course, took over in the lead by 1500 metres, with Bergin seemingly battling with Spain and Switzerland to secure the top-three spot that would take her to the final.   

 But then the Cork sculler wound up and launched into a remarkable drive for the line. She left the Swiss and Spanish scullers behind – and passed Foester.

 Bergin’s time (7 min 24.89) was by far the faster winning time in the semi-finals and a World Championship best time – beating the time set by Foester in the heat. Dovile Rimkute of Lithuania won the first semi in 7:33.39. The final is set for 5.17 (Irish time) on Saturday.   

 Earlier, the Ireland men’s double of Ciarán O’Sullivan and Fergus Brice lost out on qualifying for the semi-finals by a tiny margin in the World Under-19 Championships.

 In by far the best of the quarter-finals, Germany started brilliantly and were not to be headed. Croatia stayed in touch, with Ireland and the United States battling for third. At 1200 metres Ireland took over in third and then pushed on, looking set to take second. But in in the scramble for the line, the US and Croatia drove into second and third – the margin between Croatia in third and Ireland in fourth was just .24 of a second.

 Ireland’s time would have qualified them in all three of the other quarters – and would have won two of them.

Pic: Fermoy Rowing Club/Facebook 


Three Ireland Under-23 Crews Make A Finals While Juniors Learn Winning Ways

Another excellent day for Ireland at the World Under-23 and Under-19 Championships at Varese in Italy.
Two boats joined the men’s four in qualifying for Under-23 A Finals on Saturday – single sculler Alison Bergin gets the chance to join them from her semi-final at the rescheduled time of 9.30am tomorrow – while both Under-19 crews won to progress to semi-finals.
Konan Pazzaia and Brian Colsh took third in the men’s double semi-final. Belgium, Germany and Ireland raced each other until they were clear of the field. Belgium broke away and won, while Germany then took second and Ireland the final A Final place.
In the men’s lightweight double sculls, Ciarán Purdy and Hugh Moore raced well to take second in a tight race. Four boats were in the hunt for the three A Final places. Turkey took the lead at 850 metres, while Ireland, France and Belgium chased them. The Turks held off a really good finish by Ireland to win, while France won their own battle with Belgium for third.
The Ireland under-19 women’s quadruple (pictured) got the day off to a spectacular start. Stroke Kate Reidy of Lee celebrated her 17th birthday memorably as the crew won. They came out of the pack just after half way and kept that lead. Behind them, Canada lost out on a direct qualification place for the semi-finals, as South Africa and New Zealand took second and third.
This is a really high-class event. In the other two heats, won by Germany and Romania, the six qualifying crews all came home inside Ireland’s time – but Ireland had over a length to spare in their win. The semi-finals should be interesting!
There were no second chances for Holly Davis and Anna Keating in the repechage of the Under-19 double sculls – finish in the top two or drop to the C Final. The best way to do this was to win. The two 17-year-olds saw it that way too: they duelled with Switzerland to 60 metres short of halfway, then took over. They had clear water over the Swiss at the end.

Four Reach World Under-23 Final on Good Day for Ireland

A good day for Ireland at the World Under-23 Championships in Varese in Italy. The men’s four qualified for the final and the lightweight double won their repechage to make the semi-finals.
The all-Queen’s University double of Ciarán Purdy and Hugh Moore drew plaudits from the commentators at Varese for their win. They started with a rating in the high forties and made it count. They pulled clear and left Japan, Germany and the United States fighting for the other two qualification places: Germany fell back and the US and Japan took second and third.
Italy had a similar race pattern in their win in the men’s four repechage. Two places in the A Final were at stake. Germany and Ireland looked best placed to join Italy, but while Ireland pushed up on Italy coming to the line – they were just under a second behind – Germany faded to third.
Ireland had men’s and women’s doubles in action in the two Under-19 events in the morning.
In the Under-19 women’s double, only a heat win would do to qualify at the first attempt for the A/B semi-final. Greece made it theirs with a stunning performance, leading all the way. Anna Keating and Holly Davis took second, but were over seven seconds behind them at the finish and go to a repechage.
It was a case of ‘don’t finish last’ in the men’s doubles heat. Four of the five crews in Ireland’s race would go on to the quarter final. This time it was Turkey which dominated the race, with Ireland’s Ciarán O’Sullivan and Fergus Bryce battling with Poland for second; the Poles came through to push Ireland into third. 

 Picture courtesy Rowing Ireland 


Colsh and Pazzaia Win Heat at World Under-23 Championships

Ireland had a super start to the second day of the World Under-23 Championships. Brian Colsh and Konan Pazzaia blasted into the lead of their heat of the men’s double sculls and never lost it. With just two crews going directly to the final it worked well – Switzerland won a battle with Croatia and Britain and took second.
 Ireland had to settle for second in the heat of the men’s four. Britain were simply better here, and took the one qualification spot for the A Final. They nudged ahead of Australia and Ireland at the 500 metres mark and built their lead from there. Ireland, stroked by John Kearney (pic), were the best of the rest, snatching second from the Australians.
 The lightweight double of Hugh Moore and Ciarán Purdy also missed out on automatic qualification by one place. Two semi-final places were on offer in this heat. The Netherlands were the hot crew early on, with Greece and Belgium their closest rivals. Belgium pushed into the lead in the second half, but the Netherlands passed them and took first to their second. Ireland pushed on to take third ahead of Greece. 

 Alison Bergin had a huge win in the repechage of the women’s single sculls. The woman from Fermoy Rowing Club raced all alone in the lead for much of the race, guaranteeing herself a semi-final place on Thursday. Peru’s Adriana Maria Sangueneti Velasco took a distant second and also qualified.

Good Wins in Eights for Ireland But England on Top at Home International

Ireland had some standout results and won eight gold medals at the Home International Regatta at London Docklands today. However, England topped the rankings across the board when the overall totals were calculated.

 Two Ireland eights won. The women’s senior eight pipped England by six tenths of a second in a fine race. The crew was coxed by Shauna Fitzsimons of UCD and was made up of rowers from NUIG, University of Limerick and Trinity.

 The junior men’s eight, with a strong St Joseph’s base and augmented by St Michael’s of Limerick, had exactly a second more to spare over England in their win.

 Ireland’s junior men also won the coxed four and the sprint event over 500 metres for quadruples and the junior men’s B single scull. They came closest to catching England in the rankings: they were just three points away, with 29 to England’s 32. The senior men and senior women also finished second, with the junior women third.

 The senior men gained two good wins: the coxless four, with rowers from Trinity, and the double scull of Tom Kelly and Rory O’Neill from University of Limerick.

 The senior women’s pair of Emma Waters and Eabha Benson, both from NUIG, took gold with a big win.