Hopes for Kenny in Rio may be scuttled but Puspure wins funding

Entries up for Saturday’s earlier edition of the Liffey Descent

The project to form a men's crew that could qualify a boat for the 2016 Olympic Games was dealt a blow by the news that one of Ireland's top international oarsmen plans to move to Britain to find work.

Niall Kenny, a silver medallist at the world under-23 level and World Championship oarsman this year, would be a key figure in the formation of a lightweight four.

However, despite completing a professional diploma in education, the UCD graduate has been unable to find suitable work in Ireland. He has a number of interviews in London, where there is a demand for teachers.

It is understood that Kenny intends to row and train in the UK and fly to the National Rowing Centre in Cork for international trials. However, the prospects of putting together a lightweight four in these circumstances would take a big step backwards.


A step in the other direction will be taken today when the Lough Rinn rowing and canoeing facility will be opened in Co Leitrim. The facility has already hosted the Irish Canoe Sprint Championships, and the buoyed course for rowing will be top class.

The backers have been locking in funding for the next phase, which should see the course (a two- hour drive from Dublin and very accessible from most of the country) host international events.

Funds for rower


Sanita Puspure

, who is one of Ireland’s brightest hopes for Rio 2016, has been chosen as one of eight athletes for the Rio Scholarship programmes.

The Olympic Council of Ireland, in association with the International Olympic Committee’s solidarity programme, provides €100,000, which goes towards the support of the athlete.

Canoeist Liam Jegou is also on the list.

Meanwhile, tomorrow’s Liffey Descent has moved back from its traditional September date to draw more international paddlers, but the time of the race itself has moved forward – it will leave the start near the K Club at 11 am, which is 90 minutes earlier than usual. The change of time is to ensure that paddlers are off the water before darkness falls.

The entry for the race is up this year, and there is a big international component, from continental Europe all the way to South Africa and Australia. Canoeing Ireland targeted this sector and bought boats so that they could provide them for overseas competitors.

Last year’s race suffered from very low water levels, as the ESB released only half the usual flood, and there were some spectacular capsizes and crashes at the start and at Lucan weir. “We will have a full flood this year,” said Karl Dunne of the organisers yesterday.

The race runs the 28.2 kilometres down the Liffey to the Garda Boat Club at Islandbridge in Dublin. Lucan weir provides one of the most spectacular viewing points.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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