Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen continue quest for honours

Skibbereen/Lee double crew competing in World Junior Championships in Lithuania

Another weekend, another Ireland crew in contention at an international event. This time it is the double of Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen at the World Junior Championships in Trakai in Lithuania.

The Skibbereen/Lee crew will compete in the quarter-final at 10.06 on Friday. They must place in the top three to move into Saturday’s semi-final.

Casey and Cremen were third in their heat on Wednesday, but taking third or better in the quarter-final may actually be easier – they took on Britain and Germany, two of the best crews around, in the heat.

Both were faster than Canada and the Netherlands, the heat winners who Ireland take on today. The Ireland double had the sixth fastest time overall in the heats and should go through.


Back in Ireland, the National Rowing Centre has been thrumming with activity. Crews are preparing for the World Championships in September/October in the United States, which will be covered on television by RTÉ.

An interested visitor last week to the NRC was the incoming high performance director Antonio Maurogiovanni. The Italian takes up his post officially on Monday, August 21st.

The Irish Rowing Championships have had a knock-on effect, with one club official paying a fine and some clubs fined for crews not appearing after they were declared.

The upswing in Ireland rowing has been matched by an increase in funding from the Sports Council – but only to a degree. The funding for the high performance programme this year is €525,000, up €125,000 on 2016.

However, the historical perspective is interesting.

Chief coach

In 2008, the Irish Amateur Rowing Union, as it was then, was given €720,000 in performance funding and athletes in the carding scheme were allocated €240,000. This was, it is true, an Olympic year. In 2010, the performance funding was €550,000, still better than in 2017. And there is a lot more going on now.

Trinity have appointed a new chief coach. Richard Ruggieri is an American who has coached at college level there with the University of Louisville, Clemson University and Tulsa University.

The draw for the huge Irish Coastal Rowing Championships will be held on Saturday in Portlaoise. The championships will be held on August 18th to 20th in Ballyshannon.

The Cairndhu club in Antrim was suspended by its local association after it affiliated to Rowing Ireland, but it looks as if Cairndhu will be able to compete at Ballyshannon as it has now affiliated directly to the Irish Coastal Rowing Federation.

Rowing Ireland has this year made it a requirement that clubs which compete in Fisa events affiliate to it for this activity.

This Sunday, August 6th, Carrick-on-Shannon hold their sprint regatta. The regatta will also host the final leg of the Waterways League, a competition for junior 14 and junior 15 competitors.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in rowing