Colours race first up as Niall Kenny prepares for busy season

Galway lightweight to stroke the UCD men’s eight on the Liffey on Sunday morning


These are busy times for Ireland international Niall Kenny. The Galway lightweight, who was a silver medallist at the World Under-23 Championships in 2010, will hope to be in top form for the Ireland trial later this month, but first up he will stroke the UCD men’s eight in the Colours Races on the Liffey on Sunday morning.

UCD have been dominant in these races in recent years and are aiming to win the Gannon Cup for men’s senior eights for a record-equalling seventh time – Trinity did this between 1976 and 1982. There is, however, no form this year – the weather destroyed the pre-season calendar of events and the crews have had no racing.

In the women’s senior race, UCD’s bigger crew will be favourites to win their fourth consecutive Corcoran Cup. Trinity suffered a blow yesterday when Aoife Leahy pulled out because of injury. The shape of Ireland crews for the seasons ahead may be glimpsed in the list of invitees to the Ireland Trials at the National Rowing Centre in Cork in two weeks’ time.

Best lightweights
The Ireland performance director, Morten Espersen, is aiming to qualify a men’s lightweight four in addition to a lightweight double scull at the 2016 Olympics. Some of the best lightweights – headed up by Kenny – have been asked to sweep row at the trials.

In the women’s openweight group, the single and double sculls have been competitive in recent years, and they could be joined by a pair or a four. Lisa Dilleen has moved to Cork and this week she has trained at the NRC in a pair with former Britain international Leonora Kennedy. Siobhán McCrohan, a World Cup medallist in 2011, and Catríona Jennings have pushed their way into contention in a competitive women’s lightweight group.

Claire Lambe will return to Ireland next month after representing Ireland at the first World Cup in Australia.

Here there is only one Olympic boat, a lightweight double, and if it is not formed this year it will be by next season, which is the qualification year for Rio 2016.

“I’m 100 per cent convinced we will have a double next year,” Espersen says. “We have five or six candidates who have really good quality. An outsider is Sarah Quinn; another outsider is Catríona Jennings.”

McCrohan, who was cut from the previous system after weight issues is “starting from scratch” in the new regime, Espersen says.

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