Dambuster head of the river cancelled due to forecast of high winds

Maurogiovanni defends tough junior programme following criticism

The Dambuster head of the river scheduled for Saturday has been cancelled because of a forecast of high winds.

Yet last weekend's Irish Indoor Championships were held on a day with little in the way of a breeze – outside the venue at least.

Carlow's plan for their inaugural head at Blessington Lakes has been on calendars four times. It has never been held.

It was scheduled for December 2017, deferred to early 2018 because of weather concerns, only to fall again. The head was again set up to take place in December 2018, then pushed to this month. Yesterday that was lost because winds were set to reach 33km per hour.


An open door in the gym in the University of Limerick helped to ventilate the gym and ensure a very successful indoor championships. The top women shot the lights out, with personal bests across the board and a new Ireland record for Sanita Puspure.

Aileen Crowley had not made the camp in Italy because of a rib injury, but is reportedly recovering. Injury and illness kept out Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne. Doyle, a doctor, is working and training in Belfast.

Paul O'Donovan set a new record for a lightweight man at the championships, and told The Irish Times afterwards that even if lightweights are cut from the Olympic programme in the future he plans to continue rowing.

The tough junior programme set down by Ireland high performance director, Antonio Maurogiovanni, has drawn criticism.

Molly Curry was injured in the run-up to the indoors, and though she competed (she finished fourth), her coach Jeremy Johnston, complained that the programme had worked the Coleraine girl too hard.

Henrik Merz, the club coach of Jack Dorney, who missed the indoors because of a leg injury which needed stitches, concurs.

“I think it’s too heavy a programme for that age group,” he said.

Excellent time

But Maurogiovanni maintained the programme if properly done by athletes who are able for it should guard against injury.

He also says it is necessary for ambitious young men and women to lay down the work if they are to make the next step up.

“If they are thinking 2024 [the Paris Olympics] they need to be ready to transition successfully into the under-23 programme,” he said.

Neptune's Tristan Orlic, who turns 17 next month, was the top boys' competitor, clocking 6:16.7, while Zoe McCutcheon was the top girl, with an excellent time of 7:12.4.

However, she will not be going into the Ireland programme. Her Enniskillen coach Derek Holland – a former Ireland international – said his charges found the travel commitments for the Ireland programme run at the National Rowing Centre in Cork too expensive.

The prospects of an international Coastal Rowing event in Ireland this year look good. They rest on a decision by British Rowing this Saturday. The board of Rowing Ireland have backed the idea. The match between England, Wales, Ireland and the Channel Islands could be held in September.

Rowing Ireland is set to announce a new sponsor in the next week.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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