Dave Mannion has been appointed Connacht development coach. The role is a full-time post, involving work at NUIG and Coláiste Iognáid as well as co-ordinating Rowing Ireland groups. It was facilitated in part by backing from college alumni.
Connacht has had a good week, with NUIG and Gráinne Mhaol hosting a function at the weekend which included the presentation of Irish Championship pots to winning crews. Young NUIG oarsmen were also prominent at the Neptune Head of the River at Blessington, and Lisa Dilleen of Gráinne Mhaol shone in the women's single sculls. The new men's heavyweight group met on the Sunday, with an encouraging turnout of 18 athletes.
Further afield, the Ireland performance director, Morten Espersen has been busy. He was honoured by the Danish Sports Federation recently at his home club, Bagsvaerd, and was also one of the guest speakers at the Fisa World Coaches Conference in Rio de Janeiro. Awards New Zealand shone in the 2014 World Rowing Awards which were presented at the conference: the pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray were the men's crew of the year, while single sculler Emma Twigg was the women's winner. Bent Fransson of Denmark was the coach of the year.
Delegates discovered that rowers contending with the damp depths of western European winter right now can target sunshine and outdoor buzz at the Olympic Games in 2016. The rowing course is much more central than those used for recent Games. The Lagoa de Freitas is just 15 minutes by foot from Ipanema and Copacabana beaches and is looked down on by the Christ the Redeemer statue – and the Olympic Village is just 35 minutes drive away.
Any Ireland youngster who makes it to the World Junior Championships in nine months’ time will get a sneak preview: the Championships are the traditional test for the Olympic course.
Back in Ireland, the action on the water this weekend will be in Coleraine. The Bann Head of the River has drawn an entry exclusively from Ulster.