McKeown signs up for second indoor test

McLachlan says heavyweights must improve

Richard Coakley (bow) with his brother Eugene  (stroke).

Richard Coakley (bow) with his brother Eugene (stroke).


Sam McKeown, who topped the rankings of on-the-water rowers at the Irish Indoor Championships last weekend, is set to be back on the ergometer tomorrow at the Ulster Indoor Rowing Event at Queen’s University.

The big Portadown under-23 athlete, who won the novice single sculls title at the Irish Championships this year year – a first for his club – set a time of six minutes and nine seconds in Limerick and could be a top performer again tomorrow.

The Belfast event, which is part of the Rowing Ireland trials process, also serves as a leg of the British Universities indoor rowing series.

Last weekend’s results in Limerick were generally not encouraging for Rowing Ireland squad members. Ireland lead coach Don McLachlan said yesterday that the heavyweight men were off the top standard and there was “some work to be done”.

Specially organised test
Finnbarr Manning, who could not compete at the weekend, was scheduled to have a specially organised test yesterday in Limerick. McLachlan says that Matthew Wray, who has done well in British tests, and Boston University student Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan may be among the top Ireland scorers in this category.

The proposed international programme for the year ahead, published yesterday by Rowing Ireland, is weighed down by the heavy hand of budget constraints.

Ireland look set to send a full team to only one World Cup regatta, the middle one of three in Aiguebelette in France in June. The closing showpiece, in Lucerne in July, may be missed.

At the first World Cup, in Sydney in late March, Claire Lambe, who has been based in Australia, may represent Ireland – and Richard Coakley could join her. The 30-year-old Skibbereen lightweight last rowed for Ireland at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. He has lived in Australia for much of the time since and has been impressing in the Australian trials system and is on the national team’s radar.

There will be a strong Cork interest in the elite quadruple competition in tomorrow’s Fours Head of the River in London. UCC have entered a crew and Skibbereen’s Eugene Coakley, elder brother of Richard, is part of the University of London/London Boat Club unit. The second crew away, Tideway Scullers’, features four of the best scullers in the world, with Alan Campbell and Ondrej Synek both involved.