Ireland junior crew secure European silver in Germany
Germany come home to take gold after fantastic battle in Essen
Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Ireland secured a silver medal at the European Junior Rowing Championships in Essen, Germany on Sunday.
The Ireland and German junior coxed fours produced a thrilling finish after they had punched it out through the race, with Germany marginally ahead coming into the final 200 metres.
Ireland sprinted, only to fall short by three tenths of a second. Turkey took bronze.
The Ireland coach, Fran Keane, said his charges were “delighted” with the result. The crew of Matt Gallagher, James O’Donovan, Jack Dorney, John Kearney and cox Leah O’Regan has been pre-selected for the World Junior Championships in Tokyo in August, and they remain fixed on the goal of performing there.
“Our aim when we came here was to get to the A Final. It was great to get the silver. So close to the gold you’ll always have a bit of regret, but it is a building block to the World Championships. That’s what we were here for and we got a lot out of it, learned a lot, and got some good racing.”
They beat Germany in the heats, but the hosts were always the biggest challenge.
“We knew they’d have another gear. That’s what we expected. We gave them a good push at the end, it was exciting.
“We’ll celebrate it, but we’ve got to get back on track for the Worlds.”
Keane said that there will be more tests in Tokyo, with big players including Australia, Canada, China and Britain, who did not show up in numbers in Essen, all coming into the fray.
The junior men’s coxed four is not the strongest event in rowing, but it gives a talented group of Irish juniors a chance of a podium finish on the biggest stage for under-18 rowers.
This crew were remarkable in that it was formed from representatives from five different clubs, yet was a remarkably strong unit at the Ireland trials.
Kearney is from Cork Boat Club, Dorney and O’Regan are from Shandon; Gallagher is from St Joseph’s in Galway and O’Donovan comes from Castleconnell.
The Limerick club held its sprint regatta on Saturday – there were over 500 entries and a race ever four minutes from 9am to 6.30pm.
Busy times in rowing.
EUROPEAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Essen, Germany
Men’s Junior Four, coxed – A Final:
1 Germany 6:19.88, 2 Ireland (M Gallagher, J O’Donovan, J Dorney, J Kearney; cox: L O’Regan) 6:20.18, 3 Turkey 6:22.12.