Courses at Lough Rynn and NRC in Cork to be busy this weekend

Kerry Head of the River set for March 24th has been cancelled

The two big courses at Lough Rynn and the National Rowing Centre in Cork will be busy this weekend. The Tribesmen head of the river gives Lough Rynn a chance to show it can stage a big spring event, while athletes with international ambitions battle it out at the Ireland Assessment at the NRC.

The list of rowers invited to the trial runs to 141, but coaches who strongly believe that they have an athlete or athletes not on the list but who could make their mark have been told they can enter them. The 141 also includes a small number who are overseas – and some of the best are competing, and impressing at the Sydney International Regatta. The double of Gary and Paul O’Donovan compete in the A Final on Friday morning, local time.

The Ireland high performance director, Antonio Maurogiovanni, praised Paul O'Donovan for his fifth-placing in the men's Open single sculls final. The pair of Mark O'Donovan and Shane O'Driscoll, world champions as lightweights, have been less effective in proving themselves against heavyweights, though this is the boat they have chosen to campaign in. The won the B Final, taking ninth overall.

Maurogiovanni, who has long experience in Australia, says that this was “quite a good placing” given the high standard of sweep oarsmen in the crews ahead of them.


Heavyweight pair

Asked what the criteria is for O’Driscoll and O’Donovan to be chosen to represent Ireland as a heavyweight pair at the World Cup regattas this season, Maurogiovanni said that they must be the best heavyweight pair in Ireland and they will be tested on their percentage of the performance of the lightweight double, a proven world-class crew, in the same conditions.

“We want to have a crew or crews at the World Championships. We will do everything in our power to have one or two heavyweight [men’s]crews. They will have to be capable of making the first 11 [at the World Championships],” he said.

The high performance team has outlined the criteria under which international rowers will be allowed to compete at the Irish Championships in July. Juniors and under-23 men can take part in two events; seniors will not be allowed to compete and under-23 women may also miss out due to international commitments. The hope is that the championships will be moved next year – but this may be easier said than done.


The boat races on the Thames in London on Saturday provide a highlight of the early season. Last year an Ireland rower had a central place: Claire Lambe won with Cambridge in the women's boat race. It was a dramatic contest in which Oxford never recovered from a poor start. That race starts at 4.31 this year, while the men's race follows an hour and a minute later.

The Kerry Head of the River, set for Saturday (March 24th), has been cancelled. The organisers say there is a forecast of high winds.

The Get Going, Get Rowing programme has been busy. It has been holding a series of Blitzit events; it has received sponsorship of £6,000 (€6,900) from Sport NI; it has been nominated by Fisa for the Women in Sport award run by the International Olympic Committee.

Interviews for the post of chief executive of Rowing Ireland take place next week.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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