Mary McLachlan’s arrival set to boost Irish coaching set-up

Successful performance coach in the British system to join a team headed by her huband, Don

Britain's loss is set to become Ireland's gain – on the double. Mary McLachlan, who has been a successful coach in the British system, has joined the Rowing Ireland international high performance coaching system on a voluntary basis. She is married to Ireland lead coach, Don McLachlan, who moved from Britain earlier this year.

Mary McLachlan has been a performance coach in the British system since 2009.

She worked with para rowing crews, coaching the Britain legs, trunks and arms mixed four to a succession of wins – most recently they took gold at the Paralympics in 2012 and at the World Championships in 2013.

She comes into a system where much of the potential lies on the women's side of the sport. Limerick woman Ailish Sheehan (20) stroked the Notre Dame crew to sixth in Women's Championships Eight at the Head of the Charles in Boston on Sunday. The top crews featured a roll call of the most successful women rowers in the world.

Took third
In the men's masters eights, Shannon took third, while Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan was part of the Boston University crew which finished 16th in the men's championship eights.


Sheehan's colleague in Ireland colours this year, Leonora Kennedy, has been granted £1,000 (€1,170) by the Dale Farm Athletes Academy. The award is for Northern Ireland athletes who have potential to perform well in international competition.

The 26-year-old Enniskillen woman, who is supported by the Mary Peters Trust, joined the Ireland system from the British this year and teamed up with Killorglin's Monika Dukarska to finish 10th at the World Championships in the double sculls. The crew had finished sixth at the World Cup at Dorney Lake.

Other athletes
Among other athletes who have received backing from Dale Farm are Paddy Barnes, Ciara Mageean and triathlete Aileen Reid.

Peter Shakespear, an Australian who is a world expert on talent identification, will give seminars on the subject in all four provinces next month, starting in UCD on November 13th. As performance development manager with the British rowing federation, Shakespear established World Class Start, which identified and developed athletes who went onto Olympic success last year.

The new rules on status for domestic rowers will no doubt take time to bed in, but Rowing Ireland announced this week that the matrix for taking account of wins in the new system will be live by December 1st. The tracker system is being upgraded. Athletes will be able to register and pay online.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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