Top crews vie to catch eye of international selectors at National Rowing Centre

Men’s lightweight double of Gary and Paul O’Donovan will draw particular scrutiny

Ireland’s top rowers are set to fight it out at the National Rowing Centre in a bid

to catch the eye of the international selectors for the season ahead.

Crews will be finalised at the next on-the-water trial, in February, and this trial will give the 70-odd senior and under-23 competitors the chance to stake their claim. Ireland coach Don McLachlan says most if not all of the trial may be limited to Saturday as Sunday's weather forecast is poor.

There will be particular interest in the men’s lightweight double of Gary and Paul O’Donovan. They are the sole crew being trialled in this boat, so they will race against the clock first and then side-by-side against crews with a similar profile over the 1900 metres.


Rank order

The men’s lightweight four is more of a work in progress. McLachlan says the initial aim is to form a squad of six or eight aspirants. “We will try to get a rank order: see who is moving the boat and who isn’t, see how it is going. There are a few youngsters around who are moving on, so it is kind of exciting.”

The women’s heavyweight group has been the top-performing sector and it will be interesting to see if the work on the water matches the excellent ergometer scores being logged in recent weeks.

UCD’s Séamus Kennedy is a late addition to the men’s heavyweight invitees: the tall Kerryman recently pulled six minutes and five seconds on the ergometer.

The battle for positions in the women's lightweight double could be fascinating. Sinéad Jennings, Siobhán McCrohan, Claire Lambe and Denise Walsh are the main contenders. A talented group of US-based rowers, including Hilary Shinnick, Bridget Jacques and Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan could not make the trial but McLachlan says they could come into contention for places at the Under-23 World Championships in July.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

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