Weather conditions force cancellation of St Michael’s Head of River rowing event

St Michael’s club secretary calls for change to race calendar following latest cancellation

Sixty-five people with specific jobs to do, months of planning, a big commitment of funds and a promise of a great day out all went west when the weather forecast changed and St Michael's Head of the River was cancelled on Thursday.

The organisers approached clubs about coming to Limerick for a rescheduled event on Monday, but not enough could.

Year after year, plans for events in the early part of the year have had to be cancelled because of climate change. "Rowing Ireland and the clubs have to start looking at shifting the season," said Pierce McGann, the regatta secretary. He sees rowing through the summer as the way forward.

A change to the season is a constant theme for Ireland high performance director Antonio Maurogiovanni. In a very comprehensive report on an extraordinary season for the upcoming agm (March 31st), he says that the domestic calendar should use the international one as the base, and that the Irish Championships should move from July to September/October or April/May.



He lists off a string of successful results in 2018, from the senior World Championships (two golds) and Under-23 Worlds (gold and silver) through the other events. He says that the aim at junior level is for one female and one male crew to make the top 10 places in the world.

Maurogiovanni goes through the detailed efforts to align coaching structures in the clubs and the high performance system. “An Olympic medal must be the goal for all Irish rowing clubs, schools, universities, coaches and athletes,” he contends.

He says that there has not been an “adequate” increase in funding given the increase in numbers of carded athletes – in 2018 15 athletes were granted €252,000, in 2019 it is 22 with funding of €290,000.

“We have more athletes on the carding scheme to support with a not related funding injection.”

He thanks Sport Ireland for their support, but says that the system will “need to rely on a funding injection from different sources”.

Leo Gibson of Old Collegians is set to take over as treasurer of Rowing Ireland. He is the one nominee for the post vacated by Dan Buckley of Lee.

The National Rowing Centre hosts a camp for juniors and under-23 athletes this weekend.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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