O’Donovan and O’Driscoll best medal prospects at University Worlds

New course at Lough Rinn to be officially opened on October 3rd

Ireland compete at the World University

Championships in Gravelines in France this weekend with a reasonable prospect of at least one medal.

The lightweight double scull of Gary O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll finished 10th at the World Under-23 Championships, and look the most likely of Ireland’s six crews to find a way to the rostrum.

"I would be hopeful the double would be at the top end of the A Final and that the other crews could also make A Finals," said Ireland team manager Andrew Coleman yesterday.


Training together

Most of the Ireland crews have spent a week training together at the

National Rowing Centre

in Cork and the Ireland women’s four of

Shelly Dineen


Orla Finnegan


Grace Collins


Natalie Long

also spent a week preparing at the Olympic venue of Dorney Lake.

Long is a student at University of London, as is Orla Hayes, who teams up with Ruth Morris in a lightweight double. Chris Beck and Sinead Dolan compete in lightweight singles and Turlough Hughes returns to Ireland duty as a heavyweight single sculler.

The team, which goes into action today, is sponsored by Rowcatcher, a new Irish startup which allows coaches to create and distribute training plans using mobile phones, the web and cloud computing.

The smartphones of the athletes are set to record their actual training, including speed, stroke-rate, heart-rate and distances covered, and coaches get to see how effective their plans are with charts showing athletes' progress. The man behind Rowcather is Commercial rowing coach Cormac Keogh, who lectures at IT Tallaght.

The new rowing and canoeing course at Lough Rinn in Leitrim will be officially opened on October 3rd. Rowing Ireland representatives recently met with Leitrim County Council, who say they will welcome clubs who wish to use the venue.

The Irish Canoe Sprint Championships were held there at the end of last month and Lough Rinn could host big events in both sports in the future.

Plans for the next phase of development at the National Rowing Centre are also being drawn up. The recent meeting of the board of Rowing Ireland was also told of two donations of €15,000 and $30,000 (€23,200).

Top coaches

The first will be used to fund, with NUIG, a new full-time coach and a development position in Galway. The US contribution will help to fund the purchase of boats for heavyweight men on the Rowing Ireland programme.

One of Ireland's top coaches, Joe Schmidt, the Ireland rugby supremo, is the standout name in the lineup of speakers for the Rowing Ireland club and coaches conference next month.

Fisa coach Thor Nilsen, who has provided thought-provoking presentations at previous conferences, will also address the delegates. The conference will be held at the Red Cow Hotel in Dublin on October 11th.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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