Leonora Kennedy has no regrets as she heads to Korea for the senior World Championships
Claire Lambe competes in a lightweight single scull, prior to departing for Australia
Irish crews will compete in two World Championships over the next two weeks, while the programme for next season has been announced – and it begins next month.
The Ireland crews which will depart on Monday for the senior World Championships in Chungju in Korea, features two women on the move.
Leonora Kennedy, who joined the Ireland team from the British three months ago, forms a double scull with Monika Dukarska, while Claire Lambe competes in a lightweight single scull, prior to departing for Australia.
Ireland high performance director Morten Espersen said yesterday that Lambe will be available for Ireland next season and will compete in the first World Cup in Sydney in late March.
The plan is that she will come back into the Ireland system later in the season. “My only concern really is if she meets a nice Australian boy!” Espersen joked.
Kennedy was in the bow seat of the British eight which won gold at the European Championships last season – and faces the prospect of taking on her team-mate, Victoria Meyer-Laker, when the World Championships begin on Sunday week.
Meyer-Laker and Frances Houghton form a formidable British double.
Kennedy has not regretted her switch to the Ireland system, which has been facilitated by support from the Mary Peters Trust. “I’m really happy I made the move,” she said yesterday.
This weekend, Ireland sends three boats, all from the Arklow club, to the World Coastal Rowing Championships in Helsinborg in Sweden. Cormac Kelly and Jeanne O’Gorman will compete in single sculls and Jessie Lee and Deirdre Maghery will go in a double.
The timing of the Championships does not suit Irish coastal rowers – it comes just a week before the biggest event of the year, the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships in Carnlough in Antrim, a huge event after a great year for the sport.
“The number of crews now is incredible,” says Eamon Kavanagh of Arklow. (The sport) is really going forward. There are a lot of new boats around.”
Bringing in new talent is also a key aim for Espersen, who heads up the Olympic side of the sport here.
The trials process he announced yesterday features early formation of crews and the active encouragement of athletes who are close to but not yet up to world senior or under-23 level.