The National Rowing Centre buzzes this weekend with Ireland senior and junior trials. The first World Cup regatta, in Varese in Italy, is in just four weeks' time (April 15th to 17th) and rowers wishing to represent Ireland at under-23 and university level will also be out to impress.
The core crews of the Ireland senior team – the two Olympic lightweight doubles, single sculler Sanita Puspure, the women’s pair and the lightweight men’s four – face speed tests. The latter two crews hope to fashion a pathway to the Olympic qualification regatta alongside Puspure, who will join the lightweight doubles at a camp in Italy before the World Cup.
Denise Walsh and Siobhán McCrohan will battle to represent Ireland in the women's lightweight single in Varese, as Sarah Dolan, who has been ill, misses out. Because of worries about the weather, all the adult events, bar the under-23 heavyweight men's double trial, will take place on Sunday.
The junior trials have a big entry – 100 boys and 60 girls – and will start on Saturday, running to Wednesday for rowers who progress. Sunday onwards will be about crew formation, with the most promising units being tested against the senior crews.
Ireland junior coach Pat McInerney says that a small boat or boats (pairs, doubles or singles) may emerge which could be good enough to go the World Championships. The crew or crews would be tested in regattas, probably in Ireland. If the standard is not high enough, the rowers will return to the level of the Coupe de la Jeunesse.
The Galway Head, set for this Saturday, has been cancelled. Coming fast on the abandonment of the St Michael’s Head and the Dublin Head, this hollows out the pre-regatta season.
The huge eights Head of the River in London this Saturday may also be cancelled because of the weather, with a review to be held on Friday. There is a strong Irish interest, with UCD and Trinity involved. UCD took the Gannon Cup last Saturday, with Trinity feeling that they underperformed.