Redemption day for UCD as Henley loss is quickly banished
ROWING:SOMETIMES THE chance to redeem yourself comes quickly. UCD won the men’s senior fours title at the National Rowing Championships yesterday, beating NUIG/Gráinne Mhaol in convincing fashion and banishing the demons of their defeat by the same opposition at Henley Royal Regatta two weeks ago.
That Henley loss came after a very wobbly row by UCD, but yesterday, in perfect conditions at the National Rowing Centre in Cork, Dave Neale, Finbarr Manning, Gearóid Duane and Seán Jacob were all but faultless. They led by a length at 1,500 metres and won by just under four seconds.
“Henley hung over us for the last few weeks. We had to get over it,” said Jacob. He said it was a test of whether they could be strong mentally – and they were. “We solved the problem,” said coach Pat McDonagh.
Cormac Folan of NUIG/Gráinne Mhaol offered his congratulations to the UCD crew. “Well done to them.”
Indeed, yesterday’s result sets up tomorrow’s Big Pot clash nicely. Having lost one title, the Galway crew will not easily yield the jewel in the crown which they have won in the last two seasons.
It was, in spite of the headline result, a very good day for Galway clubs. In a terrific race, St Joseph’s won the men’s junior 18 eight from Bann of Coleraine and NUIG won the women’s novice coxed four – from Galway Rowing Club.
In the senior events, the youth policy of Skibbereen Rowing Club paid dividends on the double. The crew which won the women’s senior four comfortably from Queen’s was stroked by Michelle (Shelly) Dineen, who is still a junior, and Denise Walsh and Christine Fitzgerald are just one year out of that grade. Orla Hayes, at 25, still young, was by far the oldest in the crew. Dineen and Walsh then added the women’s senior double title to the trophy cabinet with consummate ease.
The men’s senior double was a triumph for experience, however. Seán Casey (33) and Cathal Moynihan (30) of the Muckross club both represented Ireland at the Beijing Olympics and they are not easily upset when in full rhythm on the course. Their only real challengers were Michael Ewing and Rory O’Connor of Queen’s University, but the Kerrymen prevailed.
It was a day of seconds for Queen’s. UCD won the men’s intermediate coxed four, calling on the four men set to join the winning senior four in the eight – and Queen’s were second, a position they also filled in the women’s senior and intermediate fours and in the men’s novice coxed quadruple – which resulted in a surprise win for Shandon, who had two junior 16 athletes in their crew.
The business end of the men’s junior 18 single scull was a more local affair, as Neil Prendiville beat his Castleconnell clubmate Adrian Sheehan into second.
Trinity had their moment of glory when they bested UCD in the men’s novice eight. The day ended, however, with Anthony English, recently of the High Performance Programme, winning the lightweight single scull. His club? UCD. Yesterday was theirs. But tomorrow is another day.
Meanwhile, the Irish Coastal Rowing Federation have agreed to affiliate to Rowing Ireland.