O’Donovan brothers on a ‘higher level’ than last year

High-performance director Morten Espersen gives good report from warm weather training camp

Ireland’s Olympic medal winning brothers, Gary and Paul O’Donovan, have excelled at warm weather training in Seville, Spain. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho.

Ireland’s Olympic medal winning brothers, Gary and Paul O’Donovan, have excelled at warm weather training in Seville, Spain. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho.

 

A year ago, at the start of what would be a spectacular season for them, Paul and Gary O’Donovan made major strides in their warm weather training camp in Spain. This year it has happened again.

“They are on a higher level than last year,” the Irish high-performance director Morten Espersen told The Irish Times from Seville. “They are cruising.”

The Ireland squad returns on Sunday and faces a compulsory test at the Irish Indoor Championships on Saturday in Limerick.

Shane O’Driscoll was under the weather early in the camp, but has recovered. He “stars” alongside the O’Donovans in an online jape where they try to carry huge items in small shopping trollies.

UCD, Queen’s and NUIG also trained in Seville. Espersen has organised a testing and strength and conditioning session for university rowers at the Institute of Sport on Friday, January 20th. Unfortunately, Queen’s have abandoned plans to host their regatta, the one multi-lane regatta run by a university club.

Queen’s was once part of the Grand League series, but those days have gone. Metro regatta also looks in doubt: water levels in Blessington are extremely low. At least one Grand League regatta should be sited at the new course in Lough Rynn in Leitrim, though major work is needed to facilitate more parking of boat trailers.

Serious progress

After a tough few days, when headwinds cut pushed his mileage-per-day into the 30s, Gavan Hennigan is back making serious progress in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. He remains 54 nautical miles (100km) ahead of the nearest challenger for third, the South African trio Facing It.

Dermot Henihan has been nominated for the post of honorary general secretary – not president – of the Olympic Council of Ireland by Rowing Ireland. He emerged from rowing and has maintained his links.

He served as president of the Irish Amateur Rowing Union from 1989 to 1995. He is a St Michael’s man – for a time he virtually was St Michael’s. He served as club coach, captain and president. He coached the first junior crew from the Limerick club to win at the Irish Championships (1979, junior eight), the first intermediate crew (1980, inter eight) and the first senior crew (1993, senior pair). He managed the Ireland team but left after a dispute in 1999. He went on to become a key player in the OCI and served as chef de mission of the Ireland Olympic team in 2008. He provides commentary on the Irish Rowing Championships each year.

Rowing Ireland has nominated outgoing RI president Con Cronin to serve on the OCI board. An early candidate for the vacant president’s role is Kieran Kerr, a Fisa umpire who has been selected to officiate at the World Championships this year.

Seamus Scully has been selected to umpire at the European Junior Championships and Lisa O’ Callaghan as a reserve umpire for the first World Cup regatta.

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