The conquering heroes of the World Championships received a rapturous reception in a homecoming event at the National Rowing Centre, while out on the water the stars of tomorrow strove to impress in the first trial of the season.
The World Championship team were exempt from competing at the Irish Open and All Ireland Junior Regatta, but Fintan McCarthy of Skibbereen decided to blow the early season cobwebs away and won the men's open single sculls. Margaret Cremen of Lee, who did not make the Ireland team for Plovdiv, won the women's single and said the event had been a good motivator for her.
The junior side looked very promising. Two young men who competed for Ireland at the top level in the 2018 season, Jack Dorney of Shandon and James O'Donovan of Castleconnell, finished first and second in the junior single, while Aoife Lynch of Lee was the top junior woman, less than a length ahead of Lauren O'Brien of Castleconnell.
Inside the NRC, the Minister of State for Sport, Brendan Griffin, addressed the crowds which surrounded World gold medallist Paul and Gary O'Donovan and Sanita Puspure.