Rowing: Early leads the key on day two of Irish Championships

NUIG continued their excellent week with a fifth title thanks to their women’s novice eight

Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll won the men’s pairs on day two of the Irish Rowing Championships. Photo: EPA

Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll won the men’s pairs on day two of the Irish Rowing Championships. Photo: EPA

 

Strong winds forced the cancellation of a big part of the programme at the Irish Rowing Championships. The organisers suspended racing in the afternoon and later refixed a number of finals for very early – between 7am and 8am – on Sunday.

Conditions for the finals held earlier in the day had suited crews which set off fast and took a big lead.

Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll won the senior pair for Skibbereen with plenty to spare. The men who have won four gold medals for Ireland at international regattas this season were clapped home by the crowd.

Hannah Scott of Bann, a young woman who will soon take up a scholarship place at Princeton, was also quite dominant in winning the junior single sculls.

Enniskillen in the men’s junior coxed four and NUIG’s women’s novice eight also followed the pattern, as did Cork Boat Club’s Lisa Dilleen and Chloe Mehigan in the women’s intermediate double.

The one tight race of the morning session came in the men’s club single, where David Higgins of Presentation Cork had to fight off challengers as he came up to the line to win.

UCD had earlier won the men’s intermediate eight, their A crew just pipping their B crew to take the title.

Irish Rowing Championships, Day Two (Selected Results)

Men

Eight - Intermediate: UCD 5:50.02.

Four - Junior, coxed: Enniskillen 6:22.94.

Pair - Senior: Skibbereen 6:59.69.

Sculling, Single - Club: Cork (D Higgins) 7:26.59.

Women

Eight - Novice: NUIG 6:38.95.

Sculling, Double - Intermediate: Cork 7:09.95.

Single - Junior: Bann (H Scott) 7:41.22.

O’Donovans dominate on opening day

Meanwhile, on the opening day, reigning world lightweight champion Paul O’Donovan took advantage of a strong tailwind to set a course record as he won the single sculls; he had also set a record while teaming up with Mark O’Donovan, Shane O’Driscoll and his brother Gary – just 30 minutes before – in he senior four. Gary and Paul had also won the doubles title for Skibbereen.

His schedule involved five races and about 20 kilometres of rowing, but Paul shrugged it off. “We’re used to 40 to 50 kilometres a day in training,” he said.

Denise Walsh is part of that hard-working Skibbereen group, and she teamed up with Aoife and Niamh Casey and Emily Hegarty to add the women’s four to Skibbereen’s roll of honour. Again it was done in a course record.

Casey’s former crewmate in the Ireland women’s lightweight double, Claire Lambe, did her own bit of record breaking in conjunction with Sanita Puspure. They won the women’s double for Old Collegians with plenty to spare from St Michael’s, who featured Sinead Lynch – a third Olympian in this race.

NUIG had an excellent day: they put back-to-back wins together in the morning session through the men’s intermediate coxed four and the women’s club coxed four, and did it again in the evening when they won the men’s club eight and women’s novice coxed quadruple. Cork Boat Club were too good for them in the women’s intermediate eight.

Juniors provided some of the best races of the day. Barry O’Flynn of Cork, the favourite, beat Jack Dorney of Shandon despite being passed with just a few hundred metres to go. O’Flynn came back to win by a length.

The junior men’s eight was also a good race, with Enniskillen showing their class to win, adding it to their victory in the women’s junior four. Lee’s Margaret Cremen – soon to represent Ireland at the World Junior Championships – teamed up with Aoife Lynch to win the junior women’s double and Bann’s Hannah Scott partnered Katie Shirlow in a top-class intermediate pair.

The first race of the day had also involved a breakthrough – UCC hit the mark at novice level as they won the men’s novice coxed quadruple.

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