Rowing: High Performance time trials loom large on horizon

Formidable line-up of invitations adds to anticipation of National Rowing Centre event

Mark O’Donovan (left) and Shane O’Driscoll are pencilled in to take on David O’Malley and Shane Mulvaney in the High Performance time trials. Photograph: Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

Mark O’Donovan (left) and Shane O’Driscoll are pencilled in to take on David O’Malley and Shane Mulvaney in the High Performance time trials. Photograph: Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

 

The invitations for the High Performance time trials in two weeks’ time (February 23rd and 24th) have just been published. It is an impressive list: there are four heavyweight women’s pairs listed, including the promising under-23 crew of Eimear Lamb and Claire Feerick, while UCD men David O’Malley and Shane Mulvaney are pencilled in to take on Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan in the men’s pair. Some athletes, including the impressive Aileen Crowley, have been recovering from injury, so the final line-up at the National Rowing Centre will be interesting.

Two top under-23 rowers, Daire Lynch and James Quinlan, though based in the United States, have been able to do at least some training here and may yet make the World Under-23 Championships in Florida in late July.

James Mangan and Giuseppi de Vita are working with this group. Another Italian, Ciro Prisco, has joined NUIG as head coach. He has been working at Newcastle University.

A call on Saturday's Skibbereen Head of the River at the National Rowing Centre will be made on Friday morning. Event secretary TJ Ryan says that the chances are 50-50.

Saturday's  Lagan Head lost its battle to the elements late on Thursday night when the deisions was made call it off due the forecast of high winds..

Fermoy Rowing Club has serious concerns that the weir on the River Blackwater may deteriorate so much that rowing will be badly affected. A part of the weir has broken down and more damage could be done if there is flooding. Work on the weir has been promised for years.

The Cork Local Sports Partnership (LSP) launched its strategic plan at the National Rowing Centre on Thursday. The links between this body and Rowing Ireland have strengthened: the co-ordinator of the LSP, Kristine Meenaghan and Rowing Ireland chief executive Michelle Carpenter, are both Limerick women.

Set to bring changes

The National Rowing Centre is into its twelfth year – it was officially opened in 2007 – and 2019 is set to bring changes.

Carpenter said that the NRC may be opened up, so that athletes from other disciplines can use the gym facilities.

One ongoing problem is the lack of dependable wifi. Carpenter says she has been trying to convince Eir to provide the wiring for this. At present the NRC, which is based in Farran Wood park, is dependent on a satellite signal. The chief executive of Eir, Carolan Lennon – another woman breaking new ground – could make herself some very fit fans if she sorts this out. Rowing Ireland is an outlier in that it is a national governing body which does not have its headquarters in Dublin.

Carpenter said that Rowing Ireland would have liked more funding from the Sport Ireland grants, but was “delighted” to have received the increased grants which were announced on Wednesday. The governing body is looking for an operational manager for the high performance programme.

The present chief executive played a huge part in building the Get Going, Get Rowing programme. It is now a driver of the big numbers coming into the sport. She said yesterday that it has been integrated into Rowing Ireland as a core programme.

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