Irish Rowing Championships: Commercial see off Skibbereen

O’Donovan brothers among beaten senior eight crew in spectacular end to competition

Gary and Paul O’Donovan were among the beaten Skibbereen crew in the men’s senior eight final at the Irish Rowing Championships. Photograph: Srdjan Stevanovic/Inpho

The men’s senior eight final provided a spectacular final highlight for the Irish Rowing Championships. In bright sunshine at the National Rowing Centre, Commercial beat a Skibbereen eight with four Ireland stars: Paul and Gary O’Donovan; Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan. The Dublin club eked out a lead at the start and refused to let NUIG and then Skibbereen take it from them in an exciting finish.

“We knew it was going to be a really tough race,” said Commercial’s Shane Mac Eoin. “We’ve been training hard all year for this. Getting together every day. Working full-time jobs; working crazy hours, fitting in rowing every second we could. We believed we could do this. And it just proves senior rowing is for club rowers. We can do it.

“It means a lot that we can come out here and beat Olympians. Beat world medallists. And just because we wanted it. It means a world to us, a world to the club.”

The day had started early with deferred racing from Saturday, and UCD’s women’s pair of Eimear Lambe and Aileen Crowley had beaten Skibbereen by 10 seconds. It was the shape of things to come: UCD allied with the Old Collegians pair of Sanita Puspure and Claire Lambe to win the women’s senior eight from Skibbereen/UCC.


“We were down from the start,” said Eimear Lambe. “It was really a case of trying to claw it back. By halfway we were up on (Skibbereen/UCC). They retaliated. We had to meet their pushes with more pushes.”

Enniskillen took the junior eights for men and women, while Bann’s Hannah Scott took the junior single.

Puspure carried off the women’s senior single and Denise Walsh and Gary O’Donovan had won the lightweight single sculls to help bring Skibbereen’s total to seven.

NUIG topped them with nine.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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