Maurogiovanni seeks the perfect women’s quartet for Tokyo 2020

Rowing: Four of the top contenders for Olympic qualification to race on Saturday

Aifric Keogh, Sanita Puspure and Monika Dukarska: Keogh and Dukarska will join with Aileen Crowley and Emily Hegarty to form a women’s four which they hope will book a place in Tokyo 2020. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Aifric Keogh, Sanita Puspure and Monika Dukarska: Keogh and Dukarska will join with Aileen Crowley and Emily Hegarty to form a women’s four which they hope will book a place in Tokyo 2020. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Ireland’s bid to find a fifth boat for the Olympic Games will be one of the central concerns of the trial at the National Rowing Centre this weekend. Ireland high performance director Antonio Maurogiovanni is intent on forming a women’s four which can book a place in Tokyo, and Saturday sees four of the top contenders race together.

Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley, who qualified the women’s pair at the World Championships, will join Aifric Keogh and Emily Hegarty. This could well be the boat which carries Irish hopes come the Olympic qualifier in May.

Maurogiovanni claims that the decision is some way away.

“At the moment we are just mixing [the rowers] and trying different combinations.” He said there will be a different line-up come Sunday.

Interestingly, he says the decision has not yet been made as to which boat – the pair or four – will eventually be the priority boat.

Lightweight pair

Denise Walsh and Niamh Casey will trial in a lightweight pair. They could take this boat all the way to the World Championships for non-Olympic events in August in Slovenia.

Mark O’Donovan returns from heavyweight ranks to trial in a lightweight single.

Top junior sculler Molly Curry is set to compete. Maurogiovanni hopes she will find a place in an Irish university next year.

Ireland have three nominees at the World Rowing Awards. The presentation will be made on Friday night in London.

The weather may be a factor in determining the shape of the trials – something not at issue at the Provinces Indoor Rowing Competition at the University of Limerick on Saturday. Organiser Joe Cantillon says the entry of 1,150 is well up on last year. He has added races for those with intellectual disabilities.

Groundwork

The club workshop on the rowing calendar laid some groundwork which may yield results in the future. Long regatta days are unpopular: the 2021 season might see junior 15 and below taken away from the grand league regattas.

Trinity’s efforts to release their athletes to the international system but call on them for the Championships made no headway.

Peadar Casey (86), who has died, gave a huge amount of time on a volunteer basis to rowing. He was honorary treasurer of both the Irish Amateur Rowing Union and of the Olympic Council of Ireland for long periods. He was chef de mission for the Ireland team in Sydney 2000 and rowing team manager in 1980 and 1984.

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