Maurogiovanni optimistic about future of Irish rowing

Ireland performance director aiming to oversee a better system for emerging talent

Ireland’s Paul O’Donovan and Gary O’Donovan  celebrate winning silver in the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls at the Rio Olympics. Photograph: MIke Egerton/PA

Ireland’s Paul O’Donovan and Gary O’Donovan celebrate winning silver in the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls at the Rio Olympics. Photograph: MIke Egerton/PA

 

The new Ireland performance director has been getting his feet under the table at the National Rowing Centre in Cork.

Antonio Maurogiovanni is an Italian who has just come from working in the Australian system and he has also worked in the Netherlands. After just a few days in the job, he spoke briefly to The Irish Times about his hopes for his time here.

“The aim is to create and to facilitate Rowing Ireland in having a better system to find athletes and develop them for more success,” he says.

The focus, as with any Olympic sport, is on the culmination of this cycle. So what is his definition of success in Tokyo 2020?

“The goal of the federation I think is to definitely confirm the medal that has been won in Rio and then have one more crew – to have four crews overall qualified for Tokyo. This would be what we aim for at the moment.”

He said this means that there would be two heavyweight crews and two lightweight crews.

To succeed there must be support from clubs and colleges “from everyone”, he says. “It will not be easy. Olympic level is quite tough.”

Maurogiovanni will travel with the Ireland team to the World Championships in Florida next month.

The Ireland squad departs on Monday for Banyoles in Spain to complete a 19-day training camp. The acclimatisation aspect is important – Cork has not been much like Florida in recent weeks. The squad returns to Ireland on September 15th and then heads for the World Championships on the following Monday.

Next up on the international programme is the European Under-23 Championships in Poland on September 2nd and 3rd. Ireland will be represented by a lightweight men’s double and a women’s eight.

On the home front, St Michael’s hold their inaugural Masters Regatta this Saturday, August 26th. It is an evening event. The regatta taps a growth area in Irish rowing in the run-up to the biggest event of the year, the World Masters Regatta in Slovenia from September 6th to 10th.

Two of the best young rowers in the country can also look forward to the week ahead. Margaret Cremen (18) of Lee and Ronan Byrne (19) of UCC will be honoured as the top performers on the Cork Sculling Ladder at a presentation on Friday, September 1st. Despite their youth, both retained the titles they won the previous year.

Fittingly, the presentation will be made the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney. Byrne and Cremen have both represented Ireland internationally.

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