Ireland hopefuls relish World Cup test

Progressive Puspure and Pair ready to move up a level

 

The Ireland team goes into this weekend’s World Cup in Aiguebelette in France with a sense of anticipation which has been absent for many years.

It is a bumper weekend for rowing, with Cork Regatta bringing the Grand League to a close and Women’s Henley sprinkled with good Irish oarswomen.

In France, two of the eight Ireland crews have realistic hopes of medalling. Single sculler Sanita Puspure took bronze at the recent European Championships, while the women’s pair of Leonora Kennedy and Lisa Dilleen were a close-up fourth.

Emma Twigg of New Zealand, who won at the first World Cup in Sydney, and China’s Jingli Duan, who took bronze, strengthen the field in the single sculls. Puspure will take on Jingli Duan in her heat with two going through to semi-finals, while the pair should also come through their heat.

The new lightweight women’s double scull of Claire Lambe and Denise Walsh was formed after trials. Siobhán McCrohan

did not make the weight for those trials.

Niall Kenny had to pull out of the lightweight pair, but his proposed partner, Mark O’Donovan, is set to compete in a lightweight single scull. The action in Aiguebelette started last night with the para rowing heats.

McCrohan is entered in the elite lightweight single scull at Women’s Henley, joining a talented Irish composite which is entered in the elite fours and a Cork Boat Club crew in the elite lightweight pairs. UCD and Trinity are on different sides of the senior eights draw.

Cork Regatta, tomorrow and Sunday at the National Rowing Centre, is huge. There are 12 Division One eights entered, with NUIG/Gráinne Mhaol the clear favourites. Of the 47 entries in the men’s Division One single sculls, the seniors Eimantas Grigalius and Dave Neale of Three Castles and Tim Harnedy stand out. The men’s Division Two coxed quadruple sculls has an entry of 26 – that is 130 competitors.

Battleborn, flying the Irish flag, has had a good week in the Great Pacific Rowing Race. After Day 10, they stood a clear second and gaining on leaders Uniting Nations. They had also set a record for the race so far of 46 nautical miles in one day (a nautical mile is 1.15 miles or 1.852km

).

They have had to make several repairs to their boat, Patience, but are coping. Surprisingly, in a race from California to Hawaii, one of the discomforts is cold at night.

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