Galway Crews and Trinity Do Well at Erne Fours Head

Galway crews had a good outing at the Erne Fours Head today. The University of Galway senior womens’ quad was the fastest women’s crew by 14 seconds from from Queen’s senior quad in the women’s fours head, run in flat-calm conditions (pic courtesy Her Sport live coverage).
The fastest men’s four were the University of Galway’s senior men’s crew, while the St Joseph’s men’s junior 18 quadruple were the fast winners at their level.
Trinity’s men’s senior quadruple came home fastest of all, in 16 minutes 50.1 seconds, in more windy conditions.
Castleconnell women’s quads took the honours at the both the junior 18 and junior 16 level.

Big Issues Before Rowing Ireland AGM

Votes on constitutional change and elections for president, secretary and treasurer make Sunday’s agm of Rowing Ireland one of the most momentous in its history.

 The changes, which require 75 per cent support to be adopted, concern removing the power of the president to automatically chair Board meetings; dispensing with the post of honorary treasurer and adopting a new way of nominating directors, which would cut the provincial representation and add nominations from coastal/offshore and athletes. The fourth change up for consideration from club delegates concerns a reform of the constitution.

 There have been a series of roadshows on the proposed changes.

 Sport Ireland has made it clear that present funding is not directly linked to any change. Funding for carded High Performance athletes is unaffected by policies of governing bodies.

 The presidential race pits two men with very different profiles against each other.

  Neville Maxwell has been an international athlete and a long-time Board member, chairing the High Performance Committee of Rowing Ireland. He was a major player in bringing on board the present high performance director, Antonio Maurogiovanni.

 Mick O’Callaghan, though heavily involved with international rowing for years and a force behind the development of the National Rowing Centre, has been a critic of the Board and has run his campaign on the need to put clubs and volunteers at the centre of thinking going forward.

 The Board has been without a president since March, when Susan Dunlea resigned.

 The election for Secretary sees Emily Dulohery take on Nessa Foley and Paul Kavanagh challenges Leo Gibson for the Treasurer’s post.

 The reports to the agm include a characteristically strong one from Maurogiovanni: under his charge 15 athletes in Olympic-class boats won medals this year – in total, Ireland crews won 19 medals. He says 27 athletes should qualify for carding.

 His worries include the shape of the domestic season, with an Irish Championships in July clashing with his plans for international athletes – the programme for the 2023 season will be adopted before the agm.

 Maurogiovanni also says that ‘exclusive use” of the National Rowing Centre was a positive factor in moving on from the “toxic environment” which was found to have existed in the run to Rio 2016.

 This week a review found continuing reservations amongst athletes about the environment in the present high performance programme.  

 Maurogiovanni has a bigger team and says it is clear that funding must increase, or the “difficult decision to downsize the team” would have to be made.

 The reports to the agm contain myriad details. The pay of the employees of Rowing Ireland is outlined: at the top end, one person earns between €110,000 and €120,000, two are on €70,000 to €80,000 and one is on €80,000 to €90,000.

 Rowing Ireland ran a small surplus, €4,353, for 2021.

Skibbereen and Erne Fours Heads Draw Big Entries

Two big events in Munster and Ulster should give a lift-off to the rowing season on Saturday.
The Skibbereen Head of the River at the Marina in Cork has 521 crews entered, with approximately 300 in fixed heads. One interesting entry is the composite quadruple featuring Gary O’Donovan and Ronan Byrne, with Ryan Spelman and Colm Hennessy.
The forecast is for wet and sometimes windy weather, but the Marina has a good record of holding events in weather which would be difficult at other venues.
Enniskillen Fours Head has 62 men’s crews entered and 57 women’s.
The first head of the day is the women’s race, which goes off at 11 o’clock, with the senior quadruple from the University of Galway (the former NUIG) leading it out. The men’s race off at 2 o’clock. The senior Queen’s quadruple is the first crew off.

Presidential Candidates Make Their Case

The two candidates for President of Rowing Ireland outlined their policy positions. Here they are in full:

Michael (Mick) O Callaghan, rowing supporter & candidate for President
I joined Shandon Boat Club on the Marina, Cork as a Junior rower in 1963 and was honoured to be elected as a Life Member in 1989. I enjoyed my time as a rower, committee member, Secretary, Captain and coach of this great club. When the Irish Amateur Rowing Union decided to establish the National Rowing and Community Resource Centre in Farran Woods, FISA advised it would be essential to have a local rowing club attached to the centre to ensure the success of the development. As there was no rowing club in the Mid-Cork area, I agreed to take on this task. With the support of the local Community, Lee Valley Rowing Club was established, and the club has indeed proved that FISA were correct.

With the experience gained in the various roles in both clubs and other committees, I have gained a good knowledge of how to lead a successful NGB of Sport. I was honoured to be elected as provincial representative and vice-president on the Rowing Ireland Board. During my term on the Board, I played a significant role in a decision that has had a major impact on the sport, the developing the National Rowing Centre. When the Irish Sports Council was established the Minister for Sport appointed me to the High Performance sub-committee as one of two representatives from HP sports. This committee played a major role in establishing the criteria for funding of High Performance Sport and the Athlete Carding Scheme.

I have coached and managed with success at club and international level and have been Chairperson of the Championships, Home International and Coupe organising committee I have a clear understanding of the supports required to ensure that our sport continues to develop at all levels.

Like all sports rowing has made progress in the recent past with Government support through Sport Ireland. Targeted support for specific programmes like coach education, women in sport, child protection, etc. have been excellent. Rowing Ireland administration and High Performance staff has been professionalised and while this is a welcome development, volunteers have been almost totally excluded. This and the proposals to reduce the influence of the clubs on decision making has resulted in a lowering of morale, a disconnect with the clubs and a reluctance of members to volunteer for rowing events and other committees. This oversight will have an adverse effect on the sport in the future.

For 120 years, Rowing Ireland has been governed excellently by a Board chaired by the President elected by the affiliated rowing clubs. Every President elected was a real rowing person who could relate to the needs of our clubs. This has meant that transparency, accountability and consultation has always been to the fore. If elected as President, I guarantee this long tradition will continue.

Mick O Callaghan

Neville Maxwell Candidate for President of Rowing Ireland 

I am writing to you to ask for your club’s support and vote in the upcoming election for President of Rowing Ireland. In what follows I will outline my background in the sport and present my future strategy as President of Rowing Ireland which will be built on inclusion, collaboration and teamwork. 

My Backgroun

Born and raised in Galway, rowing has always been in my family, and I have been involved in the world of rowing from a young age. 

i competed as a rower for St Joseph’s RC, UCG, and Neptune Rowing Club, winning 23 Irish Championships. I competed internationally for Ireland at Home International, Junior, and Senior World Championship levels, winning 2 silver and 2 bronze medals in the LWT Men’s 2-. Without doubt, the pinnacle of my career was the opportunity to compete at two Olympic Games in 1996 and 2000, while rowing in the LWT men’s 4-. I owe so much to my club coaches, crewmates, and the volunteers who supported us for the successes achieved in my rowing career. Whenever I reflect on these experiences, it is clear our success was built upon a solid foundation of collaboration and teamwork. 

Professionally I have worked with New Ireland Assurance for over 20 years in various roles, and now I have responsibility for the distribution of our National Pension Master Trust. I have been a volunteer board member of Rowing Ireland since 2016, when I was co-opted on as an independent director before moving to the role of Connaught representative. I was brought onto the board due to my knowledge of high-performance rowing and my experiences of working in business, to lead the review of our then HP system. I used such experience in business management and my understanding of our sport to create a working group that undertook this review. Through speaking with athletes, coaches, and clubs, we oversaw the creation of a sustainable HP Team structure that is now producing results previously only dreamt of. 

Every club and rower across this country has contributed to the success Irish rowing has become in the last few years and long may it continue. The benefits of the structure are something I am immensely proud of, and I hope that same sense of pride is felt in your own club as well. I stepped down as chair in 2021 after four fulfilling years in this role and I believe now is the time to use my experience, knowledge, and passion for our sport to support every single one of our rowing clubs. 

Clubs The Backbone of Rowing in Ireland 

The strengths of our clubs are clear to all, but that is not to say there are no more obstacles to overcome. The biggest of these being how to reconnect and support one another in a postCovid landscape. Clubs are the lifeblood and foundation of our sport. Club membership is growing across flatwater and coastal rowing, junior to senior, and masters to recreational rowing. Our clubs are held together by volunteers who selflessly dedicate their time to creating a safe and fun environment for us all to participate, and I believe it is essential that we as Rowing Ireland work together to provide support and assistance when needed. I will ensure that we are all working collectively and support one another to underpin the great work being done by all our clubs in the North and South, the East and West. The pandemic prevented many of us from getting out onto the water and interacting with our communities, so I believe now is the time to properly reconnect with and rediscover our shared passion for rowing. 

My Strategy 

I am dedicated to serving you and making your clubs and community strong by leading and creating a forward-looking strategy that is shaped by our clubs, committees, branches, staff, and board. This strategy must take the successful policies and directives currently implemented in some areas of our sport and recreate them in areas previously neglected. This must be done in all spheres of our sport

  1.  Coaching and Volunteers Facilitate the sharing of best practice across our clubs and national team
  2.  Income Generation for clubs Create sustainable business plans for our clubs to thrive.
  3. Events and Domestic Calendar Shape it to our needs and create a calendar that suits all thprovinces.
  4. Facilities and EquipmentEnsure Government grants and supports are maintained to assist all our clubs, along with a subsidised equipment purchase scheme for all clubs.
  5.  Safety Ensuring all our members participate in a safe sporting environment

To deliver a coherent plan it is key that we work together as a collective to achieve our goals on and off the water. This can only be done through open and honest dialogue that involves all of us. 

Commercial and Developmental Relationships 

We are currently in the perfect place to attract investment into the sport. This has been created through the recognition of rowing as not only our top performing Olympic sport, but also as a sport that enhances and betters our communities. We have established key relationships with various government and commercial partners, and as President I will build on these relationships initiated by past presidents to ensure that funding goes directly to clubs. Growth and development of rowing at the grassroots level that is pursued with your needs in mind can only benefit the sports overall progression and evolution. 

Collaboration 

The main thing to know about me for those of you I have not yet met is that I have rowing in my heart. I want to take on the role of president for the single goal of improving the sport that I love. We can only be successful by listening and taking each other’s opinions on board, by remaining open to communication and by keeping connected. 

I can assure you that I will work tirelessly with high energy and total commitment to our sport and to you, our clubs. I am running for this position solely to support you and make all levels and areas of our sport great. 

I will be a leader for all clubs and provinces. 

Yours in rowing, 

Neville Maxwell 

Neville Maxwell Neptune Rowing Club 

 

Mannix Comes Up Just Short of Bronze at European Beach Sprints

“I’m delighted to be here and to be in for a medal,” Kealan Mannix (pictured) told the interviewer just before his race in the B Final of the men’s solo at the European Rowing Beach Sprint Championships in San Sebastian in Spain.
In the event, the Irishman fell just short. He was beaten by Ales Susky of the Czech Republic in that B Final, so finishing fourth overall.
Mannix had shown persistence and skill to come through to that stage. In the last 16 he took on Karl Schulze of Germany, who had a better time in the time trials. But Mannix was better in the race, especially in transfers into and out of the boat on the beach, and won well.
The Corkman came from behind to win his quarter-final. Austria’s physically impressive Iurii Suchak hit the beach well in the lead, but Mannix jumped out of his boat swiftly and strode across the finish line just ahead of Suchak’s unavailing dive.
In the semi-final, Mannix had hit a buoy and lost out to Zygimantas Galisankis of Lithuania, who would go on to win gold in the A Final, ahead of Spain’s Carlos Gonzalez Buzon.
The venue was spectacular and the event was a success, though more thought needs to be put into coverage and the general organisation if more events of this sort are to held in San Sebastian.
Ireland took a medal on Friday in the endurance events through Ronan Byrne and Natalie Long, but the Beach Sprints were not as productive. Xena Jordan lost to multiple medallist Janneke van der Meulen of the Netherlands in the women’s solo last 16. The Dutch competitor rounded the turning buoy much better and gained an advantage she did not lose.
Michael O’Boyle was beaten in the quarter-final of the Junior (under-19) solo by William Burrows of Britain. A false start seemed to unnerve O’Boyle.
In the mixed double, the Czech Republic were too strong for Miriam Sheehan and David Hussey in the last 16 round.

O’Callaghan and Maxwell Enter Presidential Race

Neville Maxwell and Mick O’Callaghan (above) have entered the race for President of Rowing Ireland.
Maxwell was a double Olympian and is the former chair of the High Performance Committee of Rowing Ireland. O’Callaghan played a big part in the development of the National Rowing Centre in Cork.
The Rowing Ireland agm, set for November 20th, will be an important one, as it will bring centre stage the moves to reform the constitution. The role of the president is also to be decided: whether they will continue to be the chair of the board or hold a more honorary role.

Byrne and Long Race to Bronze at European Coastal and Beach Sprint Championships

Ireland landed one podium finish on the second day of the European Rowing Coastal and Beach Sprint Championships – and might well have had a second.
Natalie Long and Ronan Byrne showed grit and determination to take bronze for Lee Valley and Shandon in the club mixed double. They demonstrated good tactical sense to edge their way into third by one kilometre into the six-kilometre race. They then fought off challenges to maintain that slot behind two crews from Spain.
British-Irish relations were certainly not at their best in the first race of the day.
Patrick Boomer and Miriam Sheehan led the way in the final of the national mixed doubles. France were their main challengers in the fifth kilometre of the six kilometre race. As they rounded a turning buoy Britain came through on the inside, ploughed into the Irish and robbed them of their chance of a medal.
France and Spain swept past as the Irish tried to extricate themselves. The Ireland crew did their best, but Sheehan lost an oar. France won from Spain, while Sheehan and Boomer got home in 10th.
In the club men’s double, Ireland placed sixth through Luke Keaney and David Hussey of Portmagee and Donegal Bay. Sionna Healy of Arklow also took sixth in the club women’s single.

Ireland Draw Blank on First Day of European Coastal And Beach Sprints

Ireland’s results on the first day of the European Rowing and Beach Sprints Championships in Spain were promising but not spectacular. In the national solo endurance final for men, Kealan Mannix was seventh and Patrick Boomer eighth, while Miriam Sheehan and Sionna Healy (pictured) were ninth and 13th respectively in the equivalent women’s final.
Adrian Quiroga, representing Spain, won gold in the men’s race. He showed great tactical awareness to swiftly move from third to first two-thirds of the way through the six kilometre course and stayed in charge from there to the finish line. Quiroga took gold for Wicklow Rowing Club and Ireland at the World Coastal Championships earlier this month.
Chiara Halama of Austria beat Maria Berg of Sweden in the beach sprint to win gold in the women’s final.
Ronan Byrne of Shandon and Natalie Long of Lee Valley, both proven internationals, raced to an impressvie second place in their heat of the club mixed doubles.

Dorney Does Well at Head of the Charles

Harvard A finished fourth in the Championship Eights at the Head of the Charles in Boston today. Jack Dorney (pictured), who competed for Ireland at the World Championships last month, was named in the bow of the boat.

 Dorney was part of the very good Irish men’s four which just missed out on an A Final place at the World Championships, and finished eighth overall. He returned to Harvard immediately after the event in the Czech Republic had finished.

 In the Women’s Championships Eights in Boston, Zoe McCutcheon was named in the USC A crew which finished 12th.

 An Irish Masters A crew fifth in Men’s Senior Masters Eights.

O’Reilly and Reidy Win Cork Sculling Ladder Time Trial

Finn O’Reilly of Skibbereen Rowing Club won the 51st Cork Sculling Ladder Time Trial on the 1800 metre Marina course, Cork on Saturday. Conditions for sculling were perfect on an incoming tide for the event which is sponsored by Argos Fires and Safety.
O’Reilly won with a time of 6 minutes 58.0 seconds. Ronan Byrne of Shandon Boat Club was just 1.2 seconds back on 6:59.2. Byrne, an Olympian, won the 2021-2022 Sculling Ladder.
Kate Reidy (pictured) of Lee Rowing Club (8 mins 1.2 sec) won the women’s section by 4.7 seconds from Holly Davis (Lee Valley Rowing Club). One hundred and nineteen single scullers participated.
This year the Cork Sculling Ladder ran its first Mixed Double Sculls Time Trial. The strong combination of European silver medalist, Natalie Long (Lee Valley) and Byrne won. Their time of 6:38.8 was 21.1 seconds faster than that of Kelly Oforji (UCC Rowing Club) and James Young (Cork Boat Club). Jane Rodgers and Robert Butler, both Shandon Boat Club, took third in 7:12.2.
Tony Corcoran of Lee Valley and Caroline Gordon (Cappoquin), who are World Masters winners, combined to finish in 17th to win the Masters section. Thirty boats competed.
Simon Coveney, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, presented the tankards to the Time Trial winners at the prizegiving ceremony at Cork Boat Club.
The Minister also presented tankards to three successful internationals who have have participated in the Cork Sculling Ladder.
Andrew Sheehan of Lee and UCC was a bronze medallist at the 2022 World Rowing Under-23 Championships; Natalie Long a silver medallist at the 2022 European Rowing Championships; Margaret Cremen of UCC took bronze at the 2022 World Rowing Championships.

RESULTS
Top 10 men and women.
1. Finn O’Reilly.  Skibbereen RC. 6:58.0
2. Ronan Byrne. Shandon BC. 6:59.2
3. Ciaran O’Sullivan.  Lee RC. 7:01.7
4. Michal Cronin. Cork BC. 7: 05.4
5. Barry O’Flynn. Cork BC. 7:05.7
6. Jonny Cuddy. Cork BC. 7:07.6
7. Ciaran Brady. Cork BC. 7:13.7
8. Kevin McColgan. Lee RC. 7:29.7
9. Matthew Murray. Lee RC. 7:31.9
10. Andrew O’Leary. Pres. Coll. RC. 7:34.6

       25. (1) Kate Reidy. Lee RC. 8:01.2
       31. (2) Holly Davis. Lee Valley RC. 8:05.9
       37. (3) Ciara Browne. UCC RC. 8:16.9
       38. (4) Keelin Keating. Lee Valley RC. 8:18.0
       40. (5) Sophia Monahan. Lee Valley RC. 8:18.7
       51. (6) Anne Sheehan. Lee RC. 8:28.1
       52. (7) Tamsin Rainsford. Lee RC. 8:29.4
       55. (8) Emma Zanen. UCC RC. 8:33.9
       56. (9) Eimear O’Flaherty. Lee RC. 8:36.1
       59. (10) Selma Bouanane. UCC RC. 8:41.0
       60. (11) Paula Moloney. Tralee RC. 8:41.2

199 participated.

Mixed Double Sculls.
Top 6 open.

1. Natalie Long / Ronan Byrne. Lee Valley RC/Shandon BC. 6:38.8
2. Kelly Oforji / James Young. UCC RC / Cork BC. 7:07.9
3. Jane Rodgers / Robert Butler. Shandon BC. 7:12.2
4. Jennifer Crowley / Tom Lorde. UCC RC. 7:23.2
5. Aine Gaffney / Olan Bradley. Shandon BC. 7:26.1
6. Isabella Ross-Chu / Daniel Butler. Shandon BC. 7:40.8
Masters.
      17. (1) Tony Corcoran / Caroline Gordon. Lee Valley RC/Cappoquin RC. 8:59.6
      24. (2) Catriona Dorgan / Chris Dorgan. Shandon BC. 10:35.1

30 participated.