New president of Rowing Ireland to be elected on Sunday
Battle between Kieran Kerr and Eamonn Colclough one feature of a busy weekend
Sanita Puspure: her ergometer tests this week produced an outstanding personal best of 6:35.9. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
A new president of Rowing Ireland will be elected at the organisation’s agm on Sunday, but such is the volume of activity this weekend that the battle between Kieran Kerr and Eamonn Colclough is almost overshadowed.
Two big events go head to head on Saturday. The Ireland trial at the National Rowing Centre features elite athletes in top form. The ergometer tests this week featured outstanding personal bests for Sanita Puspure (6:35.9) and UCD’s Eoghan O’Connor (5:56.9). Daire Lynch also set a PB – the 18-year-old from Clonmel just a couple of seconds off breaking six minutes.
Puspure acknowledges that coach Sean Casey, who has just signed a contract with Rowing Ireland to run until Tokyo 2020, has brought her along, and that the competition from Monika Dukarska has been positive. Dukarska and the women’s pair of Aoife Feeley and Aifric Keogh will compete with the aim of demonstrating that they must be included on Ireland teams this season.
The other event tomorrow is the huge Eights Head of the River in London. Irish champions Commercial have been given an impressive place of 12th crew away, with their second crew 27th. Trinity go in 28th, UCD 29th and Neptune 53rd.
UCD, who were outstanding in difficult conditions in their Gannon Cup victory last Saturday, are frustrated that they will have to take on this test without some of their best oarsmen, who will be trialling in Cork.
Conditions in London could be quite difficult, but one club showed the Irish the way on Thursday.
The Offaly Head of the River, and the Dublin Head, both set for Saturday, were cancelled. However, Garda Boat Club will be busy, as they host the Rowing Ireland agm on Sunday.
The reports to the agm reflect the rise of the sport, but note that it needs more funding. A group of Irish-based sponsors contributed over €40,000, which was crucial.
The outgoing high performance director, Morten Espersen, says: “To be honest, this is not the way to operate [a high performance system] if we are to sustain a high level of results.”
Motions which may be contentious include one on term limits for officers and (from Skibbereen) on introducing an under-21 grade.
Colclough and Kerr are good candidates for the presidential role. Colclough, Dublin-born and based in the west, wants decentralisation. Kerr, with an impressive history running the Irish Championships, stresses retention of athletes.
Meanwhile, Paul O’Donovan is the World Rowing Athlete of the Month on the Fisa website. He is asked would he row with a partner other than his brother and replies: “Gary is quite fast so I often row the double scull with him but if I could row with someone faster I would be happy”.
Fifteen candidates have applied for the position of Ireland high performance director, some with multiple Olympic gold medals as competitors. External consultants have been engaged to help secure the best person for the job.
The programme for the year is already in place.
The first domestic regatta of the year, at Neptune on April 1st, has its biggest ever entry.