Women’s rowing team to send three boats ‘at least’ to Rio Olympics

Oxford beats Cambridge by 11 lengths in Boat Race, while Kenny McDonald breaks Irish indoor record

The high performance director of Rowing Ireland, Morten Espersen, told

its agm yesterday that he expected the women’s side would be sending “three boats at least” to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

He was hopeful of lightweight men’s participation as well.

In an upbeat meeting at Garda Boat Club, the Rowing Ireland board reported a cash surplus and two motions were passed by assent: Just Sport Ireland will be adopted as the final arbitrator in grievance procedures in the sport and the agm may be called at any time through the year.


The presence of well over 100 competitors from Portora of Enniskillen and Coleraine club Bann gave Neptune regatta at Islandbridge on Saturday a big boost.

Portora had a string of good victories, but one of the best races of the day saw Bann’s junior 18 women’s eight beat their North of Ireland rivals by one quarter of a length.

The men's senior eights final was also a close race. An experienced composite crew drawn from Commercial and Old Collegians – which provided power in the form of Sean Jacob and David Neale – beat Trinity by half a length.

Michael Maher won the men's senior single sculls, beating Gianluca Como of Trinity, while Holly Nixon of Portora – soon to trial in the British system – beat Commercial's Eimear Lambe (who is just 16) in the women's club one single sculls.

Oxford won the seventh Boat Race of the last 10 with an 11-length win over Cambridge. The two boats were courting a clash from early on, and the contest effectively ended on five minutes when the blade of Luke Juckett in the Cambridge boat caught that of Sam O’Connor of Oxford. Juckett lost his seat and a number of strokes and Oxford, who had already been leading, moved away to win. An objection by Cambridge was overruled.

It was a bad day overall for Cambridge, as their reserve boat, Goldie , also lost heavily. Irishman Chris Black, a medical student at Cambridge, was in the bow of Goldie . Black and another man from Bann Rowing Club, Joel Cassells, formed the Ireland pair which finished second at the World Junior Championships in 2012.

Irish record
Meanwhile, Kenny McDonald yesterday broke the Irish indoor rowing record in the lightweight 40 to 49 class. The Shannon man, the world champion at this level, set a time of six minutes 20.7 seconds at St Michael's Rowing Club in Limerick. The previous record was 6:21.7. Jonathan Doyle also competed and clocked 6:24.0. The world record is 6:16.8.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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