Rowing: Skibbereen head blown off course

Saturday’s event cancelled due to forecast high winds

The Skibbereen Head of the River, set for the National Rowing Centre on Saturday, has fallen victim to a forecast of high winds. The gusts could reach 50 kilometres per hour at the venue in Farran Woods.

The option of moving the event to the Marina in Cork - where it has been held, successfully, in recent years - was considered, but the easterly winds might have also been a problem there and so the head was cancelled.

The day may still have rowing, as the Bann Head is scheduled to be held. A call on whether the Coleraine event goes ahead will be made at lunchtime on Friday.

The line-ups on the tracker system, meanwhile, for the Ireland trial on Saturday week (November 24th) at the NRC is interesting. The only crew in opposition to Shane O'Driscoll and Mark O'Donovan in the men's pair is a UCD one - but it is not the world under-23 lightweight champions, Shane Mulvaney and David O'Malley. Instead the pair of Andrew Goff and Shane O'Connell fill the slot. It is understood that O'Malley, a medical student, has exams.

The women's pairs also contain a surprise. Aifric Keogh and Emily Hegarty reached the A Final of the World Championships, but Keogh has been paired with Monika Dukarska and Hegarty with another Skibbereen rower, Niamh Casey. Interestingly, Sunday week will see the formation of fours.

In the under-23 women's pair, the new partnership of Claire Feerick of Neptune and Eimear Lambe of UCD are set to take on six other crews, including Katie Shirlow of Bann and Clara O'Brien of Castleconnell. Shirlow and Feerick had been making long trips to train together.

Two groups of elite athletes have avoided the worst of the weather here. One set has been training in Italy a second in Spain.

The honours season will soon be in full flow. Sanita Puspure, who is in Italy training, is starting early: she was named the Cork Person of the Month for November and the World Rowing Rower of the Month.

One other winner is the Lough Rinn rowing and canoeing course. It was given the Local Authority Engineering Initiative Award at the Engineers Ireland Excellence awards.

Rowing Ireland is working on putting in place a strategic plan and there will be a roadshow on this.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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

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