UCD and Commercial brace for senior eights battle at Metropolitan Regatta

Rowing: Champions Commercial are down four men for Blessington meeting

The clash of senior eights rivals UCD and Commercial should be a highlight of Metropolitan (Metro) Regatta on Saturday in Blessington. Last time out, at Skibbereen Regatta, the Irish champions Commercial came out on top – by 1.75 seconds as UCD swiftly cut into their lead in the final quarter.

UCD, with Max Murphy back, will hope to improve; Commercial are down four men due to a wedding, but welcome back World Under-23 medallist Niall Beggan. "We'll give it a good shot," says Commercial coach Dermot Keogh.

The senior women’s eights from Trinity and UCD go head to head – but Bann’s junior 18 eight could be players.

Some of the top junior rowers will be competing at the National Schools Regatta at Dorney Lake in England, yet the entry at Blessington is big – the well of juniors is deep. Belfast Sprint Regatta has also drawn some.


James O'Donovan competes in the Division One single sculls at Blessington. The Castleconnell man was part of the junior men's coxed four which took a superb silver at the European Junior Championships at the weekend.

Standout name

The women's pair has been withdrawn from the senior European Championships in Switzerland next weekend. Aifric Keogh, who was set to team up with Monika Dukarska, has been ill. The pair and a women's four will now go to the second World Cup on June 21st to 23rd. Ireland high performance director Antonio Maurogiovanni told The Irish Times that the four will be named next week.

Molly Curry is the standout name of a very strong Irish entry at the National Schools Regatta. The Coleraine Grammar School girl, who is on course to represent Ireland in a double at the World Junior Championships, is entered in the Championship Single (Internationals Cup). Her main rival should be Lauren Henry, one of the top Britain juniors.

In championship events alone, the Irish entry is big.

St Michael’s of Limerick are entered in the Championship Girls’ Eight, Four and Pair and their boys are in the Championship Quadruple, Championship Double – in which they have entered two crews – and the Championship Single (Ryan Spelman). Neptune also have a junior quad.

Enniskillen have 20 crews in all. They are in the Championship Fours, the Championship Pairs, the Championship double and Championship Single (Michael Stewart) and Championship Girls Quad and Double (Maeve Donnelly and Zoe McCutcheon).

Coleraine have a Championship Pair as well as Curry in the single.

St Joseph’s, Galway, are in the Championship coxed four and the Championship single (Alexey Kolyzaev).

The expansion of numbers at junior level is a factor across Irish rowing. Clubs are at the pin of their collar to keep up with the need for boats and equipment. Some hoped that grants from the Sports Capital Programme would ease the situation, but while coastal rowing clubs figure prominently on the long list, some Olympic-class rowing clubs were disappointed.

There was better news at the headquarters for the sport. The National Rowing Centre received a grant for work in upgrading the slips. An application has been made for further upgrades.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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