Defeats for gutsy Irish crews at Henley Royal Regatta

Portora Royal School and Trinity put in impressive performances but fail to shine

Henley Royal Regatta: Portora Royal School were beaten by one of the best American schoolboy crews, Gonzaga College. Photograph:  Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Henley Royal Regatta: Portora Royal School were beaten by one of the best American schoolboy crews, Gonzaga College. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

 

Two gutsy performances but two defeats: this summed up the second day at Henley Royal Regatta for Irish crews.

There was particular encouragement, however, for Portora Royal School, a young crew which qualified but then lost to one of the best American schoolboy crews, Gonzaga College.

Trinity’s eight in the Temple Cup also showed spirit in testing Cornell University, a selected (seeded) crew.

The New York state college crew are a lightweight unit with an excellent record, and they started well. Trinity kept up the pressure down the 2,112-metre course, depriving the American crew of a clearwater lead, but had problems with their steering. Cornell held off a late push to win by two-thirds of a length.

Portora put in a performance to be proud of in their narrow loss to Gonzaga in the second round of the Princess Elizabeth Cup for schoolboy eights.

The pattern of big American crews leaving others in their wake can become repetitive at Henley but Portora would have none of it.

Repeated pushes

“We had a good row,’ said Derek Holland, the former Ireland international and Portora coach. “We knew we had to put them under pressure. We’re very pleased overall.”

Trinity will now target winning the senior eights title at the Irish Championships on July 10th-12th.

The line-up promises serious competition: the UCD crew, which has rowed as an intermediate unit this year, will be bolstered by Dave Neale, Sean Jacob and Albert Maher to form a UCD/Old Collegians unit. This crew has a huge age range – Maher and Jacob are both 42 – and will be real contenders.

The defending champions, NUIG/Gráinne Mhaol, also mix experience and youth, and have the 6ft 5in Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan back from Boston University.

A UCC composite with David and Brian Keohane of Presentation Brothers completes the line-up.

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