Monika Dukraska the stand-out name at indoor championships

Rowing Ireland hope to unearth top competitors with new talent identification programme

Other sports may hibernate at this time of year: rowing can go indoors. The provinces indoor rowing championships at University of Limerick and the Ulster equivalent in Queen's University, Belfast, are both set for Saturday.

The Limerick event has hundreds of entrants at underage level. Ireland squad member Monika Dukarska is the standout name in the women's open category and Síobhán McCrohan should be the top lightweight woman.

Ergometer test

Rowers who hope to compete for Ireland in the season ahead are required to do an ergometer test either this weekend or next (there is a Leinster event at the Garda Boat Club on November 28th). The bulk of the present squad will do their test at the National Rowing Centre this Saturday.

Gary and Paul O'Donovan, along with Sinéad Jennings, Claire Lambe and Sanita Puspure then head for a training camp in Seville, starting on Thursday.


At the other end of the scale, Rowing Ireland will have a new talent identification programme. The Limerick Rowing Academy hopes to find new rowers who will become "podium competitive at junior, under-23 and senior level on an international stage", according to high performance director Morten Espersen.

James Mangan has been named at the talent development coach. Athletes of 15 and above who show the required potential will be given a specific programme and allowed to use the boathouse at University of Limerick and the Castleconnell club. The programme will be run in conjunction with local secondary schools.

The inaugural Indoor Rowing Blitz in Trinity was a success, drawing participants from around the country, and setting up the prospect of a series of such events. Laurel Hill of Limerick were among the top performers.

Another big positive was the enthusiastic report on RTÉ’s News2day. It follows some good coverage of rowing on Newstalk recently.

Barbara Feeney's piece with the women rowers on Pat Kenny's show reflected the sacrifices – physical and monetary – made by Puspure, Jennings and Lambe, while Off the Ball carried an interview with Niall O'Toole.

Coastal clubs

The World Coastal Rowing Championships in


had Irish winners – even if not from an Irish club. Dervla and Oisín Forde were part of the winning Spanish coxed quadruple.

A number of Irish coastal clubs competed in Peru. Courtmacsherry finished 10th in the men's double sculls, John Keohane 14th in the men's solo and Laura O'Neill of Kilmacsimon 12th in the women's solo.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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