Busy weekend for Irish elite rowers

Final World Cup Regatta in Lucerne along with Irish Rowing Championships taking place

 Paul O’Donovan: favoured for the men’s senior single title.  Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Paul O’Donovan: favoured for the men’s senior single title. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

 

Ireland crews take on competitors at the very peak of the global sport on the first day of the final World Cup Regatta in Lucerne today, while at the National Rowing Centre in Cork club rowers find their summit at the three-day Irish Rowing Championships.

The Swiss venue provides another stage on which single sculler Sanita Puspure can prove herself. The European bronze medallist lines up in a heat alongside Kim Crow, the reigning world champion and the golden girl of single sculling. “It’s another chance to learn something,” a relaxed Puspure told The Irish Times yesterday. But two go directly to tomorrow’s semi-finals, and Puspure has every chance of being the one to join Crow there and then qualify for Sunday’s A Final.

In the women’s pair, Ireland’s Leonora Kennedy and Lisa Dilleen take on Olympic champions Heather Stanning and Helen Glover. The British will be hot favourites to take the one direct qualification spot for the A Final. Ireland can negotiate the repechages into the A Final.

Stirring ties

The entry for the men’s senior four today has just two crews - Gráinne Mhaol and Old Collegians - but this is a battle between eight of the most experienced and decorated oarsmen in the country.

The result should give a strong indicator of the likely outcome in Sunday’s eights final – these fours backbone the NUIG/Gráinne Mhaol and UCD/Old Collegians crews, with Trinity’s younger eight hoping to beat both. The Galway men are going for three-in-a-row.

The women’s eight should go to NUIG/Cork, a ‘super composite’ with a strong international flavour, though UCD and Trinity would enjoy upsetting the more experienced women.

Saturday’s finals include the men’s senior quadruple sculls, where a UCD crew featuring World Under-23 medallist Paul O’Donovan takes on the Queen’s University crew which was seeded at Henley. The women’s lightweight sculls could see Catríona Jennings, an Ireland Olympian in 2012 in the marathon, take her first rowing title.

The women’s senior single take place on Sunday,as does the men’s senior single which might, at last, go to Paul O’Donovan, the best lightweight in the country.

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