A Final Places for Doyle and Lynch and for Puspure

Philip Doyle and Daire Lynch (above) eased their way into the A Final of double sculls at the second time of asking with a fine win in their repechage at the World Cup regatta in Varese today. Two crews would go on to join the Netherlands and Italy in the medal race, and Lynch and Doyle took and then held the lead right through. They let Australia One and Britain fight it out behind them – Australia’s Oscar McGuinness and Mitchell Reinhard won that battle.
Sanita Puspure also reached Sunday’s A Final, but the Ireland single sculler’s route was very different. Norway’s Inger Seim Kavlie dominated this semi-final, and Puspure’s push came late – she took second with a very fast final 500 metres.
As with the men’s double, the big tip for gold in the women’s single is the Dutch crew; in this case Karolien Florijn, who won the first semi-final in a fast time, looking untroubled.
Two other Ireland crews go for gold on Sunday: the women’s pair (Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh) in a straight six-boat race, and the new-look women’s four, which were such impressive winners of their heat on Friday.
Three Ireland crews slipped into B Finals in Saturday’s action.
The Ireland men’s pair have struggled with illness (Ross Corrigan had Covid in January) and a more recent injury suffered by Nathan Timoney. They finished third in their repechage, with the top two going to the A Final.
The men’s four looked in contention for the vital top-two spot in their repechage in the middle stages of their repechage. But it was Ukraine who powered through to take second behind the Netherlands, with Ireland back in fourth.
Konan Pazzaia did not lack for spirit in his semi-final of the single sculls. As Oli Zeidler showed his muscles at the front, Pazzaia hung in there in a battle with the Netherlands and Britain for a top-three place. He could not quite close it out, and was fourth.
Brian Colsh had finished his programme in the single with a second-place finish in the C Final, 14th overall.

Women’s Four and Puspure Win Heats at World Cup

The Ireland women’s four and single sculler Sanita Puspure opened their campaign for the season with heat wins at the World Cup in Varese, Italy, today.
The new combination in the four of Imogen Magner, Eimear Lambe, Natalie Long and Emily Hegarty (above) came from behind to beat the Netherlands, the world champions, in a stirring finish to their heat. This Ireland crew now looks set to compete at the Olympic qualification regatta in Lucerne in May – with real hopes of heading for Paris.
Puspure has similar ambitions in the single. She produced a fine final 500 metres to produce the second fastest time in the heats, behind Karolien Florijn of the Netherlands, a hot tip for gold in Varese.
Philip Doyle and Daire Lynch in the men’s double had to settle for second in their heat and face into a repechage. The women’s pair of Fiona Murtagh and Aifric Keogh also took second in a race for lanes – with just six crews competing, there will be a straight final on Sunday.
Nathan Timoney and Ross Corrigan placed fourth in their heat of the men’s pair and must take first or second in their repechage to make the A Final. The men’s four also face into a repechage after placing fifth in their heat.
Konan Pazzaia came through both the heat and the quarter-finals of the single sculls to qualify for the semis, but Brian Colsh missed out and will compete in the C Final on Saturday.

UCD Justify Favourites Tag in Colours Races

It was a day of wickedly changeable weather, but there was no alteration in the pattern at the Colours Races on the Liffey today. UCD came in as favourites for the big prizes, and so it proved.
UCD’s senior men secured the Gannon Cup, their fourth in-a-row (albeit with a Covid break in 2020 and 2021). In a torrential downpour, they fashioned an early lead and effectively burnt off the Trinity challenge by half-way.
There was pathos in the win, as the crew wore a Roscommon badge in memory of coach Martin Feeley, who died last December. Feeley represented Ireland at the Olympic Games and won a Ladies’ Plate with UCD at Henley. But it was as a coach these young men remembered him and his death was a blow. “It is a huge loss,” said Paul Flood, in the number five seat on the day. UCD are now just one shy of Trinity’s 36 Gannon Cup wins.
As expected, Trinity started well in the Corcoran Cup for senior women. But their opponents in blue and saffron covered it and then laid down the pattern which the men would follow, pushing into a good lead in the middle of the race. Sarah Daly, the stroke woman, and her twin Alison, in the seven seat, were winning their third Corcoran Cups.
The sole win for Trinity came in the novice men’s race, and it followed the template of the day; passing the Four Courts, the eventual winners were set fair for the win. UCD’s novice women also won well in a race which went off early – another pattern for the day.
The pattern in the Boat Races on the Thames was so very different: Cambridge came from behind to win an excellent women’s race – with huge credit due to cox Hannah Murphy. The men’s race was also a good battle … and Cambridge also won.

Colours Races 2024

Gannon Cup (senior men’s eight): UCD (D Crooks, S Daly, A Carroll, C Conway, P Flood, R Mason, E McGrath, D Murray; cox R Nelson) bt Trinity.
Corcoran Cup (senior women’s eight): UCD (N Campbell, J Farrell, N Allison, T Phelan, D O’Brien, L Roche, A Daly, S Daly; cox L Ryan) bt Trinity.
Novice Men (Dan Quinn Shield): Trinity bt UCD.
Novice Women (Sally Moorhead Trophy): UCD bt Trinity.

Commercial Men’s Eight Fastest at Erne Head

Commercial’s men’s senior eight (above) were the fastest on the day at the Erne Head of the River on Saturday. Trinity’s senior eight (pictured below)  were the fastest women’s crew.
There was snow in Enniskillen on Friday, but Saturday had different tests. The women’s head was preceded by a heavy shower and both men’s and women’s crews had to deal with a stiff headwind.
Commercial covered the course in a competitive 19 minutes and 11.2 seconds. St Joseph’s won the junior 18 men’s category, while Neptune’s junior 16 crew recorded an impressive time.
The women competitors had to deal with trickier conditions, but it did not deter Trinity, who looked good in their win in 22 minutes 25.4 seconds. Enniskillen’s junior 18 eight placed a very good third, in 22:47.2.
The organisers of Cork head of the river had to change the start of the second fixed head because of a sad incident, unconnected to the event, in which a car drove into the river. This made judging the winners of the categories a very difficult process, and results were slow in coming out.
Shandon’s men’s masters eight had done well in the first head, while Waterford’s junior 18 women’s quad were clocked marginally ahead of the UCC women’s senior quad as the fastest of the women’s crews.

Old and Young Hit Marks at Indoor Championships

There were notable results at both end of the age scale at the Irish Indoor Rowing Championships at the University Limerick.
Richard Morgan, at 93, is drawing international attention for his feats in indoor rowing. He completed 500 metres in two minutes 55 seconds flat.
At around one sixth of his age, junior 16 rower Mattias Cogan of Skibbereen (pictured, courtesy Rowfit) covered the 2,000 metres in an excellent time of 6:13.7.
Denis Crowley of Commercial, a multiple winner of World Masters titles, won the 60-69 lightweight men’s 2,000 metres title with a fine time of 6 minutes 44.4 seconds. Crowley holds the world record for a lightweight man between 60 to 64 (6:40.9).
The men’s 50 to 59 openweight class was also won in a good time: Albert Maher covered the 2,000 metres in 6:27.6.
Pararower Shane Ryan of Castleconnell set a record time of 6:49.2 for the men’s LTA 2,000 metres.
The women’s open 2,000 metres was won by Julie Moran of Fermoy in seven minutes 4.6 seconds, while Thomas Hume of University of Galway won the men’s open.
The best under-23 woman over 2,000 metres was Ayla O’Neill of Kenmare, who clocked 7.07.1. The men’s under-23 2,000 metres was won by Liam Walter, in a time of six minutes 7.5 seconds.

New Rowing Ireland Awards Ceremony Here to Stay

The Rowing Ireland Awards Ceremony at Portlaoise hit the mark so well that it raised the question as to why this was, effectively, an inaugural event.
Not all the award winners were available, and there were some technical glitches. The choices might be put out to a wider panel and to some public voting in the future. But there was a good buzz about the event – and a green tinge to the lighting!
The main picture shows award winners Siobhán McCrohan, Steven McGowan and Alison Bergin. Below, Holly Davis and her mother, Catherine Cashman, and Fergus Hannon, Athlone, with Enniskillen coach Derek Holland, who accepted the award on behalf of Thor Nilsen, who died earlier this year. 

The Award Winners, in order of presentation, were:

President’s Awards

Brenda Ewing 

Thor Nilsen RIP

Volunteer of Year

Michelle McDonagh

Umpire of Year

Andrew Tubman

Women in Sport Advocate

Aifric Keogh

Rowability of the Year

Steven McGowan

Up and Coming Rower of Year

Alison Bergin

Senior Female Rower of Year

Siobhán McCrohan

Senior Male Rower of Year

Fintan McCarthy

Junior Female Rower

Holly Davis

Junior Male Rower

Shane Rafferty

Coach of Year

Fergus Hannon, Athlone

Club of Year

University of Limerick

Celebration Night For UCD Boat Clubs

UCD can justifiably claim to be the most successful rowing club in the country. The annual dinner of the men’s and ladies’ boat clubs was a celebratory affair, with Old Collegians hosting. The president of Rowing Ireland, Neville Maxwell, and the UCD director of student services and facilities, Dominic O’Keeffe (pictured below), attended. The men’s rower of the year was Mikey Campion, while the women’s award went to Kate Douglas. The women’s captain, Sarah Daly, paid tribute to Des Harrold, who passed on this year, while Barry Doyle RIP, a former president of OC, was also honoured. 
Here is a selection of pictures from the event, which marked a year in which the men’s eight won their fourth consecutive Irish senior title and the men’s and ladies’ clubs won the Gannon and Corcoran Cups and were overall champions at the University Championships. The Head of the Charles Regatta saw an Old Collegian’s women’s alumnae eight place seventh.
The 50th anniversary of the ‘animals’ crew winning the ‘Big Pot’ was marked, with the surviving members attending.
Pictures: Conamonsta.com and Liam Gorman

Bronze Medal for Lynch and Doyle at World Championships

Daire Lynch and Philip Doyle raced to bronze at the World Rowing Championships in Belgrade today.
The Netherlands were the dominant men’s double, but Ireland raced well to put serious pressure on Croatia’s Valent and Martin Sinkovic, who held out to take the silver.
Lynch, who only returned to the Ireland system from the United States earlier this year, said the crew was “delighted”.
He said they had come into the regatta only a few weeks after heavy training and were not pleased with their heat here. “We felt better and better through the regatta.” The performance of the pair, who took a bronze medal, confirmed that they had not timed it wrong.
“The fact that they won the medal yesterday, we knew we could perform. We knew we could have a good go off the Dutch, because in the semi-final we didn’t unleash a sprint but we were pretty close to them But (after final) I guess their experience maybe (gives them an edge).”
Zoe Hyde and Alison Bergin were just one place off a medal in their doubles final. They were happy enough, as they are a new crew and had already achieved the big aim of qualifying the boat for Paris 2024. 

 Picture: Daire Lynch and his girlfriend Martina Roman, who flew in from the US for the event. Either side is Niall Lynch, Daire’s father, and Daire’s brother Brian. 


Images From A Golden Day at World Rowing Championships

In the great history of Irish rowing, Saturday, September 9th, 2023 was special. Across a range of crews, Ireland again showed that it is a power in the international game. Here are some images from here in Belgrade; thanks to the Rowing Ireland team for their coverage.
Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan, gold medallists in the lightweight double, celebrate.
The young Ireland pair of Ross Corrigan and Nathan Timoney, who took a bronze medal, celebrate on the podium with Switzerland (gold), Britain (silver).
Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen smile at their wonderful achievement of winning a place for their lightweight double at Paris 2024. They won the B Final.
Niccolo Maurogiovanni, their coach, hugs Nathan Timoney and Ross Corrigan.
Paul O’Donovan celebrates with close supporters and back on the water with  Fintan McCarthy. (These two pictures copyright Liam Gorman). 


World Championships Gold and Bronze for Ireland and Sixth Qualifier for Paris

Eight crews competed for Ireland on the second-last day of the World Rowing Championships here in Belgrade, and the team in green came away with gold and bronze medals and a hugely creditable Olympic qualification spot for the lightweight women’s double.
Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey had to win their B Final, which was full of talent. What nerves there were they used to drive them on after a tough year. Casey had overcome a gym accident just prior to the lightweight camp in Spain, and when they got to the semi-final here they had just lost out on an A Final spot.
They raced confidently and well in the B Final. France faltered, but it was hardly decisive. Casey and Cremen were bent on that winning spot and they got it.
The men’s lightweight double banished doubts about their status with their A Final win. Switzerland’s Jan Schaeuble and Raphael Ahumada Ireland will not let them rest, but Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy were game for the fight. Their last 500 metres was stunning; they stood up for the World Championship gold they deserve. Italy’s Stefano Oppo and Gabriel Soares took the bronze (see picture).
Interestingly, Mexico won the B Final to qualify their boat for Paris.
The Ireland men’s pair cited the achievement of the lightweight double in 2016 (then the O’Donovan brothers) in the aftermath of their surprise bronze medal. It was no shock to 23-year-old Nathan Timoney and 24-year-old Ross Corrigan. The Fermanagh men explained that while they are together only three months in this configuration, they targeted this race from early on. The doubled down on their gritty and brave performance in the semi-final, leading out the field in the final, and only conceding gold and silver to Switzerland and Britain late on.
Ireland’s two other A Finalists, the women’s pair of Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh and the PR2 mixed double of Steven McGowan and Katie O’Brien finished fourth and fifth, respectively. They had qualified their boats for the Paris Olympics and Paralympics by fighting their way to this elevated stage.
The women’s four – Natalie Long, Imogen Magner, Sanita Puspure and Eimear Lambe – took third in their B Final. It looks like this might be Puspure’s last Worlds; she won two World Championship golds in the single scull.
The men’s quadruple ended on a high, with a win in their C Final. The men’s four took third in theirs.