Big draw expected for national trials

British-based rowers to make trip to NRC in bid to make Irish team

High ambitions in December could be a good or bad thing for an outdoor sport, but there is certainly a buzz about Irish rowing at the moment.

The Irish trial comes up next weekend, December 20th and 21st, and will draw a big group of competitors to the National Rowing Centre (NRC) – and the enthusiasm among the lightweight men is such that three British-based athletes (Anthony English, Nathan O'Reilly and Niall Kenny) are travelling over this weekend and next.

"There will be a (lightweight) four next season," said coach John Holland. "Though whether or not they are good enough we will have to see."

Holland has been particularly impressed by the under-23 athletes, and says there will possibly be an under-23 quadruple in this age group.

Ireland performance director Morten Espersen says that Gary and Paul O'Donovan will be the only crew to trial in the lightweight double.

By the February assessment he hopes to have crews formed which may then go on to represent Ireland for the 2015 season, with the final trial in March set to be a test for the already-formed crews.

This Sunday, RTÉ2 will broadcast Sarah McCann's One Ocean: No Limits, which follows Adam Burke from Skerries on his row across the Atlantic in 2011. Burke and Rob Byrne, from Bray, were part of the crew of the Sara G which set a record when it crossed from Morocco to Barbados. The documentary will go out at 8pm.

Back home, the weather at the NRC has been good, and Muckross Head of the River ran a full programme on Saturday. Skibbereen and Lee each won five pennants, while Trinity's women's eight and their pair of Gill Crowe and Aoife Leahy were the fastest on the day.

Rowing Ireland is to consider a bid to host the Fisa World Masters regatta. It is understood that this is at the exploratory stage as this is one of the biggest rowing events in the world in terms of numbers.

Delegates from clubs will get to vote on two important changes to the entry for the Irish Championships in 2015. The Championship committee has proposed that Ireland squad members should only be able to compete as seniors, and that a rower will only be eligible to compete if they have previously taken part in four Irish regattas in their lifetime.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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