Sam McKeown and Sanita Puspure do the business at Irish Championships
McKeown broke his own Irish record, setting a time for the 2,000 metres of five minutes 53 seconds
Sanita Puspure, with Ireland lightweight coach Dominic Casey assisting, competes at the Irish Indoor Rowing Championships. Photo: Liam Gorman
The top heavyweights, Sam McKeown and Sanita Puspure, produced the goods at the Irish Indoor Rowing Championships at the University of Limerick on Saturday. McKeown broke his own Irish record, setting a time for the 2,000 metres of five minutes 53 seconds, while Puspure’s 6:39.8 was also a fine time.
Puspure, who had Dominic Casey as her coach on the day, can be content that the women’s ranks below her are buzzing. Aileen Crowley, the second-best open sculler, set a new personal best; Emily Hegarty won the under-23 section in a new best time for her, and the first 12 women at junior 18 level came in under seven minutes and 35 seconds.
At lightweight level, Denise Walsh and Aoife Casey, who may form a lightweight double this season, won the open and under-23 sections well.
The men’s ranks, especially at heavyweight level, looked worryingly sparse. McKeown had over 14 seconds to spare over his nearest rival, Shane Haugh, in the open section. The winner of the under-23 section, Conor Egan of Athlone credited huge mileage in the gym and on the water for his winning time of 6:08.1. At junior 18 level, Alex Byrne of Shandon was the top man. His nearest rival was 15-year-old Tristan Orlic, a Croatian who measures in at two metres (6ft 7in).
The lightweight section was Hamlet without the princes – Gary and Paul O’Donovan are based in New Zealand at the moment.