Ireland squad stay focused despite uncertainty over World Cup events

Fisa say World Cup, and following one in Varese in the Lombardy region in May, would go ahead

The Ireland squad is in going full steam in training in Spain and Ireland, even as the doubts build over some of their programme this season.

The initial international target of the Ireland team this Olympic season is the first World Cup in Sabaudia in Italy, which is just five weeks’ away, from April 10th to 12th. Sabaudia is 100kms south of Rome.

Fisa, the world governing body for rowing, stated last week this World Cup, and the following one in Varese in the Lombardy region in early May, would go ahead. They intend to make no statement this week, but with Covid-19 and the reaction to it both moving fast, the chances of a cancellation or cancellations must be rising.

In Seville and in Cork, the work goes on for the Irish, who already have four boats qualified for Tokyo 2020.


Six key lightweights are based in Seville. The O'Donovan brothers, Paul and Gary, and the McCarthy twins, Fintan and Jake, are each seeking the edge which could land them a spot in the men's Olympic lightweight double. Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey hope to compete in the Olympic qualifier for the women's lightweight double in May.

The balance of the squad train at the National Rowing centre.

Domestic season

The domestic season so far has been destroyed by floods and high winds, but there is an event this weekend, in the shape of Cork Head of the River.

Erne head of the river in Enniskillen was also set for this Saturday and promised good competition between top crews, but the water level was too high to run a safe event. In over 60 years Erne Head has been cancelled only three times - two of those have been in the last seven years (2014 and 2020). The other occasion was due to the Foot and Mouth epidemic.

To the rescue comes Cork Head of the River, which was postponed from last week, but barring any unexpected development should be held on Saturday at the Marina.

"At the moment, we are going ahead," Susan Dunlea, the event secretary, said on Thursday. The outlook is for a cold day, but rowers can prepare for this.

The flooding along the Shannon is coming down, and the clubs have being making tentative plans to put boats out again. Carrick on Shannon hope to reach this milestone in about a week. For Castleconnell it might take longer, depending on decisions by the ESB, who control the level of the river.

Trinity won the men’s toss and UCD the women’s for the Colours Boat Races on the Liffey, which are set for Saturday, March 14th. Both opted for North Station.

Spectators for the Boat Races in London on March 29th will not be allowed on Hammersmith Bridge due to safety concerns. Ireland may have a strong interest on the day. Caoimhe Dempsey and Andrew Goff have been strong contenders in the Cambridge women's and men's boats.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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