Queen's University sharp look at Henley as other Irish struggle

 

ROWING:QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY got off to a flier in their first outing in the Visitors’ Cup for intermediate fours at Henley Royal Regatta and won much as they liked.

There was disappointment, however, for the three other Irish crews, with lion-hearted John Keohane and Colin Williamson exiting the Diamond Sculls, the open competition for single scullers, and the Cork Boat club four reaching the end of their run in the Wyfold.

In difficult conditions, with a headwind and testing flow on the river, the Queen’s University crew of Matt McKibbin, Trevor McKnight, Damian Hannon and Donald Evans started so well they built up a one-length lead over Nottingham in the very early stages and were not troubled again.

Today they take on Durham University, who caused a major surprise when they outclassed selected (seeded) crew Oxford University and Isis BC. Cork’s challenge in the Wyfold for club fours ended with defeat to the bigger men from Rob Roy from Cambridge. John Paul Collins, Stephen Carroll, Colm Dowling and Shane Mac Eoin fell behind early but continued to mount pushes into the headwind. In the final stages Rob Roy managed to break clear, and the verdict was four and a half lengths.

The two Irish clubs had quite different races in the Diamond Sculls. Colin Williamson of Queen’s University lost to Roberto Lopez of El Salvador in a surprisingly one-sided contest. Lopez, who will represent his country in the Olympic Games led all the way and won by a wide margin.

John Keohane also fell behind early against powerful teenager Luke Moon of Tideway Scullers’ but the Lee Valley man drew level by the Barrier and the two slugged it out for metre after metre until Moon eked out a lead and stretched it to one and a half lengths at the mile mark. But he slowed in front of the enclosures and Keohane was just one length back at the finish line.

Ireland’s Sanita Puspure goes into action today in the Princess Royal, the Open sculling event for women, and will be expected to progress – she takes on Pippa Whittaker of Nottingham – and then find her way through tomorrow’s semi-finals.

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