McCrohan recovers well to earn passage to semi-final


ROWING: COMPETITION WAS hot in both senses of the word on the first day of the World Cup regatta in Lucerne. Temperatures soared into the 30s over the 12 hours of the event, but Irish crews put in good performances, and two compete today with the prospect of making an A Final this evening.

Galway woman Siobhan McCrohan won her morning heat to qualify for the quarter-finals of the lightweight single scull. She dominated in the early stages of the quarters, but was passed after halfway by Erika Bello of Italy and then Fabiana Beltrame of Brazil. McCrohan recovered to take the third place she needed to make this morning’s semi-final.

“She went off very hard, and as she came through a thousand (metres) she found it difficult to maintain the rhythm,” explained Martin McElroy, the team’s performance director. “She over-worked it. She had a dodgy patch of about 300 metres or so and then she started to find it again.”

Ireland’s young lightweight men’s quadruple showed fire in their heat, finishing a close-up second to world champions Italy. The Italians, with three of that crew, just landed the one qualification place, while Niall Kenny, Michael Maher, Mark O’Donovan and Justin Ryan will compete in this morning’s repechage with every hope of nailing one of the four places in the A final. Their time was the second fastest in the event. The performance was encouraging as this crew travel to the World Under-23 Championships at the end of the month.

The two other crews using this to test themselves before the championships in Belarus were not outclassed. The lightweight men’s pair of Peter Hanily and Anthony English finished fourth in their heat but in a very fast repechage they finished fast and were just beaten out of third by Hong Kong.

The lightweight women’s double of Claire Lambe and Sarah Dolan finished fourth in their heat and were unlucky enough to come up against Poland in the repechage. Magdalena Kemnitz and Agnieszka Renc, the world championship silver medallists from last year, bossed the race. They were beaten twice by girls in green in the first World Cup in Bled. In the event the giant-killing crew in Bled was Lambe and McCrohan.

The men’s pair of Cormac Folan (who turned 27 yesterday) and single sculler Sanita Puspure, along with lightweight single sculler Cathal Moynihan failed to make it through last evening’s repechages and quarter-finals.

But for McElroy, the key factor was that the tone was positive. “They’re looking on the experience really positively, which for us (the backroom team) has been great.”