The Irish University Championships were cancelled after just three events last weekend, but a new date has been pencilled in, and it looks like the remaining 21 championship events will be held. The date of June 9th has been agreed.
The original venue of Lough Rinn is free, though some participants wish to switch to the National Rowing Centre in Cork. It is understood that this is also free on the date. The chair of the domestic events committee, Brenda Ewing, says she will discuss the arrangements with those involved.
Lough Rinn is a stunning course, with the huge advantage of being owned by the municipal authority Leitrim County Council. A disruptive, gusting wind swept across it on Saturday. Sunday was cold, wet and windy, and this led to the cancellation of Lough Rinn Regatta for the second year in a row.
Most unusually, this venue does not have a club or set of rowers who are based there regularly. When and if this happens the on-site rowers and coaches could interpret a weather forecast during the week, and say with confidence if conditions would be fine, if some rowing was possible or if wind would make the course impossible.
Communication at the venue also needs to improve. A good start would be a board with regularly updated results and announcements, and a public address – perhaps further out towards the start – which can be heard by all even when there is a wind blowing down the course.
Experienced coaches have been questioning whether the big lake regattas are suitable for those below junior 16 level. Perhaps younger rowers competing in Ireland should row at river regattas, at least while the season does not include much of July and the whole of August.
The weather has not been kind to rowing in recent years. Last year, 2018, had a spectacular summer yet most of the lake regattas had to be cancelled. The president of Rowing Ireland, Eamonn Colclough, told The Irish Times there would be a workshop on the issues this September with event organisers and club representatives.
The honour of the first Grand League event of the year now falls to Skibbereen at the NRC on May 4th and May 5th.
The weather has been less of a concern for the Ireland squad who have been based in Varese, Italy. On-the-water conditions have been good. Gary O'Donovan, Denise Walsh and Aoife Casey joined the camp on Monday after the Memorial Paolo d'Aloja regatta, where the Ireland team had generally good results.
Plans for a new pedestrian bridge across the Liffey at Islandbridge are well in train. It will run from east of UCD Boat Club to Memorial Park on the southside of the river.