Espersen sets out to rebuild coaching roles
ROWING:A new chapter in Irish rowing begins today when Morten Espersen takes up the post of high-performance director. Espersen, who played a big part in building the system in Denmark which has yielded multiple Olympic medals, has to throw himself quickly into building a coaching structure, but he is expecting to succeed: “I’m 100 per cent sure it will go well.”
Ireland lead coach Adrian Cassidy is stepping down and the post has been advertised. There have been 43 applications from home and abroad, and Espersen went to Norway on Wednesday to review them with international coach Thor Nilsen, who oversaw Irish rowing for years and continues to have a strong interest.
Other coaching roles have been advertised, but how many more will be appointed is dependent on funding, which Espersen is certain will be set in place by the end of the month. He is open to the idea of regional coaches, and this should go down well with club coaches who feel the effective sequestering of top athletes at the National Rowing Centre in Cork in the last Olympiad was a bad idea.
The domestic scene is set to get a big lift off tomorrow with the St Michael’s Head of the River at O’Brien’s Bridge. It has a big entry, particularly of eights.
Ireland have the edge over Estonia in Group Two tie
DAVIS CUP TENNIS: Ireland kick off against Estonia in Riverview this afternoon in their first Davis Cup tie of 2013 in the Euro-African Group Two division. James McGee leads the team in the opening match which begins at 4pm.
The Irish number one faces Jaan Kononov before Sam Barry faces Vladimir Ivanov in the second singles match. The doubles take place tomorrow when James Cluskey and Colin O’Brien meet the Estonian pair of Ivanov and Marek Marksoo.
Last time out Ireland won the decisive fifth rubber on a Monday after rain had interrupted their tie against Egypt. Wimbledon and US Open qualifier Conor Niland lost his opening rubber in that one and was later forced to retire from tennis due to a persistent injury. However McGee rose to the challenge winning his singles and with Barry also won the doubles.
The home advantage and the higher rankings give Ireland a distinct advantage. Mc Gee is the highest placed player in the draw at 342 in the singles with Barry at 604. Estonia’s best player, Ivanov, is 451 and Kononov has no world singles ranking.
DAVIS CUP (at Riverview): Day One – J McGee (Ire) v J Kononov (Est), 4pm; S Barry (Ire) v V Ivanov (Est) to follow.