Neptune survive the battle of attrition


IN the space of a third of a length, Neptune found the winning formula that had eluded them this year as their latest senior eight line up came through a tight race of attrition to narrowly beat Trinity in Saturday's Carlsberg Trinity regatta final.

From the start, neither crew were about to concede anything, and oars clashed early on as Neptune tried to force Trinity out of their flow on the first north station curve. Neptune made their advantage count around the opposite Blue House bend, and coming into the straight they had a canvass lead, which they extended, seat by seat, while under rating Trinity by 34 to 38 strokes a minute.

Trinity went into their last bend three quarters of a length down and came out of it still behind by a few feet. Gary O'Neill was rowing number seven in the Neptune boat: "By the last 500 metres there was nothing in it. We had managed to hold their advantage in the final bend and did our own push coming out on the finishing straight," he said.

The final, third of a length margin was enough for his coach, Peter Buckley, to take some satisfaction from after a string of performances where his crews had struggled to meet the race pace. Describing the race as one of the best he had seen, Buckley hinted at further fine tuning to come: "That may be the fastest combination, but you have to keep people on their toes."

In the novice eights, UCD and Neptune fought out their final matching the seniors for excitement. Head to head out of the Blue House bend with both crews having already taken and levelled leads, Neptune made a push for 20 strokes and mid way into the long straight had taken a half length advantage. UCD kept their composure and at a slower stroke rate were moving through a tiring Neptune crew by the final bend to set up a dash to the finish line: UCD won by a canvass.

Frank Sheridan, who lost his place in the Neptune senior eight, turned in a winning display in the Senior I pairs in front of watching junior national coach, Tom Fennessey. Teamed up with Caiman Maloney, the Neptune pair where two and a half lengths up half way into the race before Trinity closed the gap with a thrilling finish.

Apart from Andrew Coleman's novice sculling win over Neptune's David Kelly (who later was compensated when he stepped up a status to SIII), Trinity's successes came from the efforts of their women.

DULBC met Neptune in both of the senior fours finals, with Claire Magee, Jane Millar and Sally Moorhead joined in the Senior III race by Nessa Foley in bow and Ruth Doyle.

Plagued by steering problems, Neptune's SIs ended up on the riverbank three times before eventually making the 150 metre mark with a two foot lead. The advantage was soon reversed by Trinity making clear water along the straight and at the end finishing four lengths ahead.