UCD defy the odds to claim a fine victory


ROWING HENLEY ROYAL REGATTA:UCD DEFIED the odds and capped a difficult year with a win at Henley Royal Regatta yesterday. The coxed four were not seeded (“selected” in Henley terminology) for the Prince Albert, but they knocked out two selected crews on their way to the final, and yesterday they dealt with a testing headwind to beat University of Bristol by a convincing two lengths.

The crew of Dave Neale (21), Colm Pierce (22), Finbar Manning (19), Tom Doyle (25) and cox Jenny Lynch (20) had beaten Oxford Brookes B in the heats, then come from behind to beat Goldie on Thursday.

After a rest day they had a heart-lifting win in the semi-final on Saturday, holding off push after push from Harvard to gain their two-thirds of a length win in the fastest race of the event.

Doyle, who stroked the crew, said that each of their four races had been like a final. “Rowing through Goldie was very tough and strengthened our resolve. Today the conditions were the biggest challenge: the wind was getting stronger and stronger towards the end and you were getting blown back more and more with each stroke.”

Doyle’s crew had “nosed ahead” at about the quarter-mile mark and took control from there on, keeping the strokes “long and strong” into the wind. The crew was coached by Pat McDonagh.

Incoming UCD president Colm Daly said the win was a boost to the club. UCD have been involved in a protracted parting of the ways with director of rowing John Holland.

The challenge of Queen’s University’s A crew in the Temple Cup for student eights ended with a narrow defeat to ASR Nereus of the Netherlands in Saturday’s semi-finals.

The Dutch and the Irish crews staged such a close battle the boats overlapped all the way down the course and only in the final push did the Amsterdam crew finally nail down victory.

Queen’s coach Mark Fangen-Hall made no excuses for the defeat. “It was a fair result, the best crew won.”

The Englishman said he was looking forward to taking Queen’s to the Irish Championships next week and the eagerly-awaited test against NUIG, Muckross and all comers.

Martin Walsh, who took his first Henley title in the Visitors’ Cup last year, lost out in the final of the Ladies’ Plate. His crew, Oxford Brookes and Oxford University were beaten by Harvard. In the Grand Challenge Cup, Sean O’Neill’s crew, Waiakiri and Tideway Scullers, were beaten by Germany’s Ruder Club Hansa von 1898.

HENLEY REGATTA, Saturday (Irish interest):Grand Challenge Cup (Eights, Open): Waiariki RC and Tideway Scullers’ School bt Leander and Molesey BC 1¼l.

Ladies Plate (Eights, Intermediate):Oxford Brookes University and Oxford University bt Imperial College, London and Berliner Ruderclub, Germany ¾l.

Temple Cup (Eights, Student):Amsterdamsche Studenten Roeivereeniging Nereus, Netherlands bt Queen’s University A ½l.

Prince Albert (Fours, coxed; Student):UCD bt Harvard University 2/3l. Sunday: Prince Albert (Fours, coxed; Student) UCD bt University of Bristol 2l, 7:41.

Grand Challenge Cup (Eights, Open) – Final:Ruder Club Hansa von 1898 e.V. Dortmund bt Waiariki RC, New Zealand and The Tideways Scullers’ School 1 ¾ l, 6:33.

Ladies Plate (Eights, Intermediate) - Final:Harvard University bt Oxford Brookes and Oxford University 1/3 l, 6:50 Prince Albert (Fours, coxed; Student) – Final: UCD bt University of Bristol 2l, 7:41.