Commercial senior four cruise into quarter-finals at Henley

Clonmel’s junior four lose out after epic fightback

Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Commercial’s senior four cruised into Friday’s quarter-finals at Henley Royal Regatta, but Clonmel’s junior quadruple were beaten in one of the races of the regatta so far.

The race seemed over for the Tipperary men in the Fawley Cup when Tideway Scullers took a length out of them early on. Foot by foot, Clonmel fought back and drew level as the crews passed the cheering crowds in the enclosures. In the last few strokes, Tideway Scullers pushed again and after one mile and 550 yards, the verdict was four feet.

The Trinity Temple Cup eight were beaten well by the University of California, Berkeley. The heavier crew prevailed, too, in the Diamond Sculls, where Jonathan Stimpson (98 kg) beat Niall Kenny (75 kg).

Commercial’s Wyfold Cup crew can face Thames on Friday in reasonably confident mood. They won as they liked against Curlew, who veered off to their right at the start.

Matthew Dundon, the stroke of the Clonmel quadruple, will be part of the Ireland quad which will compete in the Coupe de la Jeunesse, a European junior tournament, in July.

Georgia O’Brien of Kenmare was added to the Coupe team as a single sculler after the Cork Grand League regatta. Noel Casey, who coaches O’Brien, is an erudite man and an esteemed coach: he is 84. Rory Quinn and Oisín Clune of Three Castles, who had been in the mix for the Coupe team were not chosen. They have been named in the team for the Home International Regatta in Scotland on July 22nd.

Two of Ireland’s top teenage rowers, Alannah Scott of Bann and Dáire Lynch of Clonmel, have been recruited by American universities. Princeton has landed Scott, while Lynch will go to Yale. For the international system this may be a blow – top talent has not returned in recent years – but it surely underline for parents how the very best schools in the world open their arms (and their coffers) to those who row well.

Cork Regatta demonstrated all the advantages of the Grand League, with a huge programme and close races. However, the very size of the event makes it unwieldy and hard to fathom for those who come to the sport from outside – and some came to the National Rowing Centre just to see stars such as Paul and Gary O’Donovan. A trimming of the number of grades would be a step forward in promoting the sport.

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