Rowing: Trinity look strong enough to defend Gannon Cup

UCD could break run of wins for rivals in Corcoran Cup

 

Trinity made history at the Colours races on the Liffey last year, taking all four titles on offer for the first time, matching UCD’s achievement of 2008. On Saturday, UCD will do all in their power to wrest back at least some of the glory.

This will be quite a task in the Gannon Cup for senior men’s eights. Trinity’s win last year overturned a series of seven wins for their great rivals, but it looked like a changing of the guard. Trinity had started the season well with a record-breaking win at Erne Head of the River and they finished it by becoming champions of Ireland.

This year’s crew also arrives on the back of a win at Enniskillen and has just two changes from the crew which won the Big Pot at the Irish Championships: the new bow pair of Alex McEllroy and Josh Norton. The cox, Haily Mulvany, is also new and Gearóid Mahon comes in for James Magan from the crew which won last year’s Gannon.

However, UCD’s crew features some of the strongest Irish juniors of recent years in stroke man David O’Malley, Shane Mulvaney and Andrew Griffin. They have five of the crew named last year and in Turlough Hughes, they have another Gannon Cup veteran. They won the toss and will take the favoured North Station.

Last season Trinity seemed to gain an edge because they raced in the early season, while UCD did not. The profile this year is similar, and Trinity get the nod.

The Corcoran Cup could go the other way. Last year’s was one of the outstanding races in the series, with Trinity’s lighter crew coming from behind to win.

Five rowers from UCD and four from Trinity return, though Ruth Morris, the winning stroke, does not. UCD bring in Eimear Lambe, a veteran of the Youth Olympics and sister to Rio-bound Claire, and Siofra Bennett, who is one of the most experienced of all over this course, having rowed for UCD and Trinity. Cox Jane Gilligan also returns. Should this unit get a good start, UCD may be about to break the Trinity sequence of two wins.

Gardaí have warned cyclists that they will not be allowed follow the race and this will be strictly enforced – this reporter can vouch for how close cyclists have come to injury or worse. Six buses will follow the races. The programme begins at noon, with the Corcoran Cup set for 1pm and the Gannon an hour later.

The rescheduled St Michael’s Head of the River, set for Saturday, has been cancelled because of increased water levels at O’Brien’s Bridge. The Dublin Head of the River, fixed for March 26th, has also been cancelled. Jane Riordan of the organisers said that conditions on the weir at Islandbridge would not be safe for some of the 30 boats. Offaly head, on this date, will accept entries for all except eights.

The Crossing the Line summit fixed for May 28th at Trinity College, Dublin, has an exceptional line-up. Greg Louganis and Ben Johnson head the list of speakers addressing the concerns about retirement from top-class sport. Former international oarsmen Gearóid Towey and Niall O’Toole are chief organisers of the event.

COLOURS RACES 2016

Gannon Cup (senior men’s eights) – Trinity: A McEllroy, J Norton, G Mahon, M Corcoran, P Moreau, M Kelly, L Hawkes, D Butler; cox: H Mulvany.

UCD: E Gleeson, D Somers, T Hughes, A Griffin, E O’Connor, M Murphy, S Mulvaney, D O’Malley; cox: O Reid.

Corcoran Cup (senior women’s eights) – Trinity: L McHugh, C Buttenshaw, N Fisher, C Dempsey, H McCarthy, A Leahy, S O’Brien, S Higgins; cox: N Williams.

UCD: D Callanan, J Coleman, A O’Riordan, E Lambe, O Finnegan, R Gilligan, S Bennett, K O’Connor; cox: J Gilligan.

Schedule, March 12th (O’Connell Bridge to St James’s Gate): 12:00: Sally Moorhead Trophy (novice women). 12:30: Dan Quinn Shield (novice men). 13:00: Corcoran Cup. 13:30: Gannon Cup.

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