Two big heads of the river give Irish rowers plenty of chances to get out on the water and compete over the next eight days.
The St Michael’s head of the river on Saturday at O’Brien’s Bridge in Co Clare has entries from all four provinces and a very strong underage representation.
The Erne head a week later may give strong pointer as to how some of the top clashes of the season could unfold – and has a number of Rowing Ireland entries for good measure.
The eights entry for the Enniskillen event is fascinating. Senior crews from Trinity and NUIG head the list, squaring up for the first time this year, while Portora, Bann and St Joseph’s give their junior crews some early-season action.
There are two Rowing Ireland eights, a heavyweight crew put together by James Mangan and a lightweight one formed by John Holland.
The Ireland trial last weekend featured the formation of a promising double of John Keohane and Philip Doyle, and Mangan teams them with Turlough Hughes and Dave Neale in a quadruple.
Holland’s eight is an attempt to get ambitious lightweights competing, though some of the top names will be unavailable. The big news of the Ireland trial was the emergence of a nominated lightweight four of
, Mark O’Donovan,
and Shane O’Driscoll, and Holland gave some detail on how this crew may progress.
English and Kenny are based in Britain, but while English is set to be available for blocks of time training in Ireland, Kenny, who is a teacher in London, has been given until Easter to decide whether he can commit.
Meanwhile, Some of the top Irish internationals are in camp at Varese in Italy, and the weather and water conditions are reportedly good.
Denise Walsh was set to train in a lightweight double with Claire Lambe and the Skibbereen woman did no harm to her chances of making the Ireland crew for the season ahead by producing the best time trial performance of the weekend. She reached 90.65 per cent of projected World gold medal-winning time in the lightweight single.