Plenty of Fight in UCD and Shandon As They Bow Out

The good runs at Henley Royal Regatta by Shandon’s men’s four and UCD’s women’s eight ended with battling defeats, while Commercial’s Niall Beggan (pictured) was beaten in the Diamond Sculls.

 Upper Thames pulled it together very well to beat Shandon in the Wyfold for club fours. The crowd had something to cheer in this race, as the two crews overlapped for much of the 2112 metres. Both  started well, and Shandon edged into a very slight lead. The local crew matched them, caught them and then steadily built a lead. Only in the very final stages, after they had repulsed a Shandon push, did Upper Thames draw clear. They won by one and two-thirds lengths.    

 Aegir from Groningen in the Netherlands beat UCD in the Island for women’s student eights. UCD did well early against the selected crew. The Dutch took a lead and once they wrested control from the Irish, the outcome was decided, though UCD, to their credit, came back and closed the gap as the crews passed the Enclosures at the finish.  

 Beggan’s bid in the Diamonds ended at the hands of Quentin Antognelli of Monaco. The Oxford Brookes man was a finalist in the Double Sculls last year and he was a selected (seeded) oarsmen in the Diamonds. He won by five lengths.

 The morning started with good results for Northern Ireland rowers. Hannah Scott of Bann was a big winner in the Princess Royal for single sculls, and Nathan Hull of Queen’s won in the Double Sculls.

 Bann’s Katie Shirlow and Rebecca Logan lost out in the Hambleden pairs. In an unusual race, the University of Washington steered really poorly at the start and Bann took a clearwater lead. However, Washington then rowed through them and won well.


Henley Royal Regatta, Day Three (Irish interest)

Double Sculls (Men, Open): N Hull (Queen’s) and A Thomspon bt S Rosts and A Krol 1½l 7:31  

Princess Royal (Women’s Single Sculls, Open): Bann (H Scott) bt R Thompson (University of Queensland) Easily 8:41

Island (Student Women’s Eight): GSR Aegir bt UCD 1¼l 7:32

Hambleden (Women’s Pairs, Open): University of Washington bt Bann (K Shirlow, R Logan) 5l 8:45

 Wyfolds (Men’s Club Four): Upper Thames bt Shandon 1 2/3 l 7:06

Diamond Sculls (Men’s Single, Open): Oxford Brookes (Q Antognelli) bt Commercial (N Beggan) 5l 7:52

UCD and Shandon Light Up Henley for Irish

UCD’s women’s eight and Shandon’s men’s four gave Irish rowing a real lift at Henley Royal Regatta today.

 Shandon, who are new to the regatta, have looked right at home over this course and distance. The Wyfold club four of Colm Hennessy in bow and Stephen O’Sullivan in stroke (pictured), with Conor Butler (two) and Ciarán Brady (three), won convincingly for the second day in succession.

 Today, City of Cambridge provided the opposition. While the Irish crew started well and kept a very steady line in the choppy water and windy conditions, the Cambridge men were off line early on and when they finally built up momentum they never really troubled the men in blue.

 In the Island for women’s student eights, UCD also looked the part. They rowed off the Bucks station but were not inhibited – indeed, driven by Alison Daly in the stroke seat, they set a rating of 37 and got out in front of Oxford University Women’s Boat Club. They then dug in, rating in the mid 30s, and were never caught. They won by one length in a good time of 7 minutes 54 seconds. They go on to meet Yale, who are a selected (seeded) crew.

 The first four races involving Ireland men’s crews brought less joy.

 In the Visitors’ Cup, UCD’s men’s four were the selected crew, but they lost out to Cambridge University. UCD steered poorly.

 Not every crew makes a good go of starting off the Bucks station, but Vesta did in their race against Commercial. This round of the Britannia was a good contest from there. Vesta built a lead of three-quarters of a length. The Commercial crew of Patrick Moreau, Sam Kennedy, Colm Dowling, stroke Jack Smith and cox Elizabeth Moody pushed hard in the Enclosures, but could not catch Vesta, who were given the verdict by half a length.   

 UCD came up against a selected crew in University of Washington in the first round of the Prince Albert for student coxed fours. The American crew, on the Bucks station, started a little better than UCD and took the lead. They pushed on and built it into a win by two and a quarter lengths.  

 Eton are going for their third successive trophy in the Princess Elizabeth for junior men’s eights. Their win over Enniskillen in the Princess Elizabeth was expected – but remained impressive. The boys in light blue were strong and long in their stroke, building a lead steadily. Enniskillen could not bite into it and were almost four lengths behind at the finish line. 

 In the final race of the day with Irish involvement, Enniskillen lost to Headington in the Prince Philip for junior women’s eights. The Irish crew started crisply but could not deal with the speed of the bigger Headington crew. Headington are the defending champions. 

Henley Royal Regatta

 Thursday Programme (Irish interest)

  9.45 – Double Sculls: S Rosts and A Krol v N Hull and A Thompson

  9.50 – Princess Royal: R Thompson v H Scott

 10.00 – Island: GSR Aegir v UCD

 10.50 – Hambleden: K Shirlow and R Logan v S Mirfin and M Frampton

 2.00 – Wyfolds: Shandon v Upper Thames

 4.15 – Diamond Sculls: Q Antognelli v N Beggan


Wednesday Results (Irish interest)


Prince Albert (Men’s Fours, coxed, Student): University of Washington  bt University College, Dublin 2¼l 7 min 19 sec


Britannia (Men’s Four, coxed, Club): Vesta bt Commercial ½ l 7:25


Princess Elizabeth (Junior Men’s Eight): Eton College bt Enniskillen RBC 3¼l 7.00


Visitors (Men’s Four, Intermediate): Cambridge University bt UCD 2½l 7:16


Wyfold (Men’s Four, Club): Shandon bt City of Cambridge 1¾l 7:50


Island (Women’s Eights, Student): UCD bt Oxford University Women’s Boat Club 1l 7:54

Major Changes Proposed for Rowing Ireland

The new president of Rowing Ireland will not be elected until November under a proposal made by the board. The president, Susan Dunlea, resigned in March. The board has also lost its secretary.

 A letter sent to clubs proposes radical changes at Rowing Ireland, citing a report which found that there were GDPR breaches and that Rowing Ireland systems were used to share derogatory and offensive material. The specifics are not given, nor details of action taken or sanctions implemented for these breaches.

 The letter states that Sport Ireland, which is the major funding body,  needs to see radically improved governance from the board through committees and clubs and that this must be done by the end of 2022. The constitution and articles of association would be changed and new rules introduced.  

 The letter is signed by Martin Hogan, who has been appointed by the board as Interim Chair of Rowing Ireland and John McCarthy, who will chair the governance committee.

 There will be a series of consultation workshops for clubs. A general meeting would then vote on the proposed changes and electing a president on the first weekend of November.

 This weekend might also see a rowing congress which would look at the sport and consider its future.

Good Start by Irish Crews at Henley Royal Regatta

Two selected (seeded) Irish crews were amongst three to progress with ease on the first day of Henley Royal Regatta. The men’s fours from Commercial and Shandon looked impressive and the draw and their competitive qualities could see them all the way to the weekend. Enniskillen’s boys’ eight (pictured, courtesy HRR/ERBC) also won well, but the next round of the Princess Elizabeth pits them against champions Eton.

 Queen’s and Methody made their exits in the Temple and Fawley.   

 The weather was cool all day, but the morning was particularly windy.  Commercial’s coxed four in the Britannia made light of this. They had the Berkshire station and took the lead early against Elizabethan Rowing Club. Apart from some urgings by the umpire to keep them in their lane, they were in command. They won by three lengths.

 Shandon’s men’s four were similarly emphatic in their win in the Wyfold Cup for club crews. Cantabrigian’s steering was wayward and they made a poor start; the men from Cork made good use of their Berkshire station, keeping a steady, straight course and winning a one-sided encounter.  

 Enniskillen Royal Boat Club were completely in command in their heat against 1863, a club which has grown from the old boys club of The Oratory School. Defending champions Eton won their heat in a better time; the clash of the two will be a big test for the Fermanagh club.  

 Queen’s fell behind University of London B right from the start in the Temple Cup for men’s student eights. The strongly-built London crew, on the Buckinghamsire station, made a big effort to take the early lead. Once they had achieved this, they led through the main markers and had clear water at the end.   

 Methodist gave it a good lash in the Fawley for junior men’s quads. After reasonably good starts for both crews, the Tideway Scullers’ School moved into the lead, but the Belfast boys stayed at it, even as the impressive young Londoners swept to their win.


Henley Royal Regatta, Day One (Irish interest)

Britannia (Men’s Four, coxed, Club): Commercial bt Elizabethan BC 3l, 7 min 50 sec

Princess Elizabeth (Junior Men’s Eights): Enniskillen RBC  bt The 1863 Club, easily 7:18

Temple (Men’s Student Eight): University of London B bt Queen’s University 2¾ l 7:10.  

Wyfolds (Men’s Four, Club): Shandon bt Cantabrigian 2¾ l 8:08.  

Fawley (Junior Men’s Quadruple): Tideways Scullers’ School bt Methodist College, Belfast 3l 7:33

Irish Go For It On Expanded Henley Programme

Henley Royal Regatta adds an extra day this year. Five crews from Ireland go into action on Tuesday, and in total 10 crews travelling from Ireland will race [See Draw and Timetable below].

 While all the Irish crews cherish hopes of good runs, three are selected (seeded): UCD in the Visitors’ for men’s intermediate fours, along with two men’s club fours – Shandon’s coxless four in the Wyfolds and Commercial’s coxed four in the Britannia.

 These crews would seem to hold the strongest chances at the regatta, and two take to the water on Tuesday with good draws. Commercial are quickly into the fray as they take on Elizabethan Boat Club at 9.40. Shandon compete at 7.10 pm against Cantabrigian.

 It would be no surprise if all five Irish crews on Tuesday make it though. Eniskillen’s men’s junior eight will fancy their chances when they take on The 1863 Club in the Princess Elizabeth, while Queen’s in the Temple Cup and Methody in the Fawley also take on unseeded opposition.

 UCD’s men and women will be worth watching as the regatta unfolds. The UCD women’s eight should hardly be fearful of Oxford’s B crew in the Island (a class which is only a year in existence). Strong Dutch opposition, in the shape of seeded crew Aegir from Groningen in the Netherlands, are the likely opponents if they come through. This might be the test which shows UCD’s true colours.

 In the Visitors’ for men’s intermediate fours, UCD’s selected crew comes up against Cambridge University, who are not selected. Again, UCD’s big test may be in latter rounds against Dutch opposition.

 Unfortunately, the shoe is on the other foot for UCD’s student coxed four in the Prince Albert – they are drawn against an American seeded crew, the University of Washington. Barring a big shock the Americans will progress.

 Enniskillen are double handed at the regatta, but their junior women’s eight also faces a seeded crew on their first outing. Headington School from Oxford are powerful opponents and should progress.

 Being able to produce power and speed over the 2112 metres, especially in headwind conditions, is often a problem for lightweight crews at Henley. Niall Beggan (pictured) has been one of Ireland’s best rowers, and has silver and bronze medals at World Under-23 level to prove it. The Commercial man is entered in the Diamond Sculls for single scullers, a tough event likely to be won by the giant German, Olli Ziedler.    


Henley Royal Regatta, Draw (Irish interest)


Temple Cup (Men’s Eights, Student): Queen’s, Belfast v University of London B


The Island Cup (Women’s Eights, Student): UCD v Oxford University Women B


Princess Elizabeth (Junior Men’s Eights): Enniskillen RBC v The 1863 Club


Prince Philip (Junior Women’s Eights): Headington School v Enniskillen RBC


The Visitors’ Cup (Men’s Four, Intermediate): Cambridge University v UCD (selected)


Wyfold Cup (Men’s Four, Club): Shandon (selected) v Cantabrigian


The Fawley Cup (Junior Men’s Quadruple): Methodist College, Belfast v Tideway Scullers’


The Britannia (Men’s Four, coxed, Club): Commercial (selected) v Elizabethan BC


The Prince Albert (Men’s Fours, coxed, Student): UCD v University of Washington


Hambleden Pairs (Women, Open): K Shirlow and R Logan v S Mirfin and M Frampton


Double Sculls Cup (Men): N Hull and A Thompson v S Rosts and A Krol


Diamond Sculls (Men’s Single Sculls, Open): Q Antognelli v N Beggan


Princess Royal (Women’s Single Sculls, Open): R Thompson v H Scott


Programme of Racing on First Day (Tuesday) Irish Interest

9:40 – Britannia: Commercial v Elizabethan BC

2:05 – Princess Elizabeth: Enniskillen v The 1863 Club

6:50 – Temple: Queen’s v University of London B

7:10 – Wyfolds: Shandon v Cantabrigian

7:45 – Fawley: Methodist College, Belfast v Tideway Scullers’




Ireland Raise Haul to Six Medals at World Cup in Poznan

Four medals added to the two won on Saturday made it a great Sunday for Ireland at the World Cup Regatta in Poznan, Poland.

 The silver amongst the three bronze medals came in the women’s double scull. Sanita Puspure and Zoe Hyde raced very well. The 40-year-old former world champion in the single and the debutant 25-year-old showed great cohesion. Roos de Jong and Laila Youssifou of the Netherlands looked uncatchable from early on, with Ireland grabbing hold of second and not letting go, despite pushes by China and US One, who took bronze.  

 Emily Hegarty and Fiona Murtagh, who were part of the Ireland four which took bronze at the Olympic Games, also took bronze in the pair in Poland. At the head of the field, the United State One and the Netherlands engaged in a battle for gold, with the Dutch winning. Hegarty and Murtagh got out in front of the rest and took a clear third place.

 The women’s four of Natalie Long, Aifric Keogh, Tara Hanlon and Eimear Lambe (pic) had to work hard in their race to reach the podium. They established themselves in third behind Australia and the Netherlands, who went on to take gold and silver. But this position only held to half way, as New Zealand drove past the Irish. The advantage had gone, and it became a battle for bronze between New Zealand, the United States and Ireland. The women in green won that fight through a better finish – they came strong when it mattered and secured the fourth podium finish of the day for Ireland.

 The bronze in the lightweight women’s double came in a race in which Lydia Heaphy and Margaret Cremen featured a wonderful start and a photo finish. They bounced off the start, rating 53 strokes per minute. They then belied the expectation of their outside lane by pushing into and holding second behind Mary Reckford and Michelle Sechser of the United States down the course. China challenged them and passed them, and then Australia did the same. But Heaphy and Cremen pushed again. Australia just held on to second, with Ireland pipping China for bronze.

 On Saturday, Fintan McCarthy had taken silver in the lightweight single and Katie O’Brien gold in the PR2 single. However, the PR2 mixed double, in which O’Brien teamed up with Steven McGowan, could not get beyond fourth on Sunday. In the hot weather it was quite a challenge for O’Brien, who set a new World Best Time on the evening before.

 At Henley Women’s Regatta, Cliodhna Nolan of NUIG reached the final of the Championship Lightweight Single. She was beaten by 2½ lengths by Olivia Bates of Notts County RA in a good time of 5:36.6. The regatta is run over 1500 metres.  

 Roisin Merz of Shandon made her bow at the semi-final stage on Sunday as did the eights from Enniskillen and NUIG.

Gold and Silver for Ireland at World Cup

A gold and silver medal made it a very good Saturday at the Poznan World Cup for the Ireland rowing team.

 The gold came courtesy of Katie O’Brien, who had left over 100 metres between her and her two competitors, both Ukranian, in the final of the PR2 single sculls.

 The conditions were hot – and O’Brien used the good water to set a new World Best Time for the event.

 Fintan McCarthy led his final of the lightweight single sculls for long stages, but he had the gold snatched away from him when he was passed by Matt Dunham of New Zealand coming to the line.

 The positions had been reversed in the semi-final, as Dunham slotted into second behind McCarthy. Gary O’Donovan was also in this semi-final, but could only take fifth. He finished fifth again in the B Final, placing him 11th overall.

 O’Brien will race with partner Steven McGowan in the PR2 mixed double final on Sunday, and Ireland secured four other A Final places with two wins, a second and a third in racing on Saturday.

 The women’s pair of Emily Hegarty and Fiona Murtagh had to come through a repechage, as they had not won their heat on Thursday night. The new crew had to finish in the top two, but they won convincingly.

 The women’s four, from which Hegarty and Murtagh were drawn, also won. Their semi-final looked like it might be Canada’s race, but the Ireland four had taken a bronze Medal at Tokyo 2020 by being racy, and they followed the same pattern in this race – they passed the Canadians in the third quarter and stayed out in front.

 The second place for the new double of Sanita Puspure and Zoe Hyde got them through to the A Final. The Netherlands were not to be headed and won by three lengths.

 Ireland’s Lydia Heaphy and Margaret Cremen robbed the hosts of a place in the A Final of the lightweight double sculls. At the end of an exciting semi-final, Australia, Ireland, Poland and Switzerland drove for the line – but only three could qualify. Switzerland won from Australia.


World Cup Regatta, Poznan, Poland (Irish interest, Saturday)



Lightweight Single Sculls – Semi-Final One (Three to A Final): 1 Ireland One (F McCarthy) 7:01.00; 5 Ireland Two (G O’Donovan) 7:09.11.

A Final: 1 New Zealand (M Dunham) 6:43.07, 2 McCarthy 6:44.50, 3 Uruguay Two (F Ferreira) 6:46.86. B Final (places 7 to 12): 5 O’Donovan 6:55.27.



Four – Semi-Final Two (Three to A Final): 1 Ireland (N Long, A Keogh, T Hanlon, E Lambe) 6:31.03

Pair – Repechage Two (Two to A Final): 1 Ireland (E Hegarty, F Murtagh) 7:09.75.

Double – Semi-Final One (Three to A Final): 2 Ireland (S Puspure, Z Hyde) 6:57.31

Lightweight Double – Semi-Final Two (Three to A Final): 3 Ireland (L Heaphy, M Cremen) 7:02.14

PR2 Single Sculls – Final: 1 Ireland (K O’Brien) 9:14.65 [New World Best Time]

Ireland Crews Stay in the Hunt for Medals

The early racing on Saturday gave Ireland plenty to cheer about at the World Cup regatta in Poznan, Poland. The aim was to qualify boats for A Finals, and five of the six Irish boats hit the target.

 The first lightweight single sculls semi-final pitted Gary O’Donovan against Fintan McCarthy, with just three places available in the final. McCarthy, the gold medallist in the lightweight double from Tokyo 2020, made the race his own from the very start. Matt Dunham of New Zealand slotted into the second qualification spot. O’Donovan was in with a shout through the middle of the race, but in the finishing burst he could not push himself into the crucial third spot and he finished fifth and is set for the B Final.

 Ireland’s four other A Final places came through two wins, a second and a third.

 The women’s pair of Emily Hegarty and Fiona Murtagh had to come through a repechage, as they had not won their heat on Thursday night. The new crew had to finish in the top two, but they won convincingly.

 The women’s four, from which Hegarty and Murtagh were drawn, also won. Their semi-final looked like it might be Canada’s race, but the Ireland four had taken a bronze Medal at Tokyo 2020 by being racy, and they followed the same pattern in this race – they passed the Canadians in the third quarter and stayed out in front. Eimear Lambe (pictured) and Aifric Keogh from the Tokyo four have been joined by Tara Hanlon and Natalie Long. 

 The second place for the new double of Sanita Puspure and Zoe Hyde got them through to the A Final. The Netherlands were not to be headed and won by three lengths.

 Ireland’s Lydia Heaphy and Margaret Cremen robbed the hosts of a place in the A Final of the lightweight double sculls. At the end of an exciting semi-final, Australia, Ireland, Poland and Switzerland drove for the line – but only three could qualify. Switzerland won from Australia and Ireland. Poland were .23 seconds behind Cremen and Heaphy.

 Ireland have two A Finals to come today. Katie O’Brien is set to medal in the three-boat PR2 single sculls (2.20 Irish time), while Fintan McCarthy competes at 3.35. The B Final for Gary O’Donovan is set for 2.05.     

Five Ireland Crews Nail Semi-Final Places at World Cup

There were a string of good results for Ireland at the World Cup regatta in Poznan today. All five crews in heats qualified directly for semi-finals.

 Fintan McCarthy won his heat of the lightweight single sculls in a good time, while Gary O’Donovan also qualified. He needed – and produced – a sprint finish to take the crucial second place by one tenth of a second from American James McCullough.

 Sanita Puspure’s return to the fray was a winning one. The 40-year-old former World Champion in the single sculls teamed up with a debutant at this level, Zoe Hyde (25), in the double to good effect. They dominated their heat, leading through all the quarters and winning by three and a half seconds. Germany and Switzerland took the other two semi-final places from this heat.  

 The Ireland women’s four also took second and qualified comfortably. The bulk of the race featured a stirring battle between three crews, but sense prevailed: with three crews all going through, Ireland followed the Netherlands in second, with China II third.  

 Margaret Cremen and Lydia Heaphy took a close-up second in their heat of the lightweight women’s double. Just two crews took automatic qualifying spots and the Netherlands set the early pace, with Ireland closest to them. But China shattered this pattern, passing both crews. As the Netherlands faded back – they would finish fourth – Ireland clung on to second.

 This was encouraging. Aoife Casey had held a place in this boat, but could not trial and Heaphy has come in and done well.

 Pararower Katie O’Brien won her Test race of the PR2 women’s single and teamed up with Steven McGowan to finish fourth in the Test race of the PR2 Mixed Double.

 The new women’s pair of Emily Hegarty and Fiona Murtagh had finished third in their heat on Thursday evening. They get their chance to qualify for their semi-final through their repechage tomorrow (Saturday).

Irish Bring Home Medals and Lessons from Dorney Lake

Irish crews turned out in huge numbers at the big Metropolitan Regatta on Dorney Lake on Saturday and Sunday – over 50 crews from this island competed on both days – and there was a good haul of medals.

 The placings gave a telling indication of the relative positions of Irish crews in the run-up to Henley Royal Regatta and the Irish Championships next month. They were a major part of an event where not all the top British crews participated.

 The organisers put out a call for volunteers and it was well subscribed. Conditions on the Saturday were difficult, with a crosswind.  

 Ronan Gibbon of New Ross (pictured) was the fastest junior single sculler on both Saturday and Sunday, with Lee’s Ciarán O’Sullivan and Kevin McColgan taking the other podium places on the Sunday.

 The University of Limerick had some very good results. On Saturday they won the women’s coxed four, and Kealan Mannix of UL took a silver medal in the Open Championship single, a medal matched by the UL women’s quad on both days. They also took silver in the men’s doubles on Sunday.

 Shandon won the women’s coxed four on a good weekend for them, while Cork Boat Club won the men’s club four on the Saturday and took a bronze medal on the Sunday in the Open Fours.

 NUIG were also podium finishers. They took bronze in the women’s double on the Sunday.

 UCD were impressive in the battle of the Irish eights. Their top men’s eight took bronze in the Championship eights on Sunday, behind Thames and London University. Cork Boat Club were sixth and Trinity seventh.