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Last year's Grand League winners, Skibbereen Rowing Club, will host the first of four Rowing Ireland Grand League regattas at the National Rowing Centre in Cork this weekend (April 9)

Other challengers this season will be runners up Neptune along with St. Michael's, Limerick, Commercial and UCD who all finished in the top five last season. Skibbereen Regatta sees a number of impressive crews start their challenge to become Grand League winners. With the absence of an NUIG entry, UCD's Senior 4 - stand out as the crew to watch. Muckross Olympians Sean Casey and Cathal Moynihan race together for the first time in the Senior 2x. As has been the trend, the men's Intermediate 1x has a large entry, as do all junior events. The Novice 8+ and 4+ Grand League titles look set to be fought for, mainly by the University clubs.

This is the second year the new Grand League will run at selected Irish regattas. The new format is designed to give competitive rowers more race time and allows all rowers to compete on speed as opposed to competing in strictly age-related or  wins-related categories. The new system remains virtually unchanged from the 2010 season with all boats racing off in a series of heats which are timed, with the fastest six going into the A final and the next six into the B final.

Regatta hosts, Skibbereen RC, celebrated their 40th anniversary last year in impressive style, winning the Grand League and taking 14 national titles to bring the clubs' overall total to 123. They also hosted one of the country's best attended regattas last year with 456 crews racing. At international level, the club were well represented on national teams winning medals at the under 23 Worlds, the Coupe de la Jeunesse and Home Internationals.

The club capped off the year by opening a new boathouse, one of the largest ever built in Ireland. While the club's main emphasis is competitive rowing, they also take in 180 students for their annual schools rowing programme – an annual eight week course involving nine local schools.

The second Grand League regatta will be hosted by Queen's University in Castlewellan, Co. Down on May 14th.

Published in Rowing

Up to eight hundred rowers from twenty eight clubs will compete in Rowing Ireland’s second Grand League Regatta which takes place next Saturday at the Queen's Regatta in Castlewellan , Co Down. The leading clubs after the first Grand League Regatta of the season, which was held at the National Rowing Centre in Cork two weeks ago are:

Skibbereen 192 points, UCD 96 pts, Lee Rowing Club, Cork 86 pts and Commercial RC Dublin 75pts.
UCD lead the Men's Senior Category ahead of Commercial, while Dublin University Ladies Boat Club lead the Women's Senior Category over NUI Galway.
Cork Clubs dominate the junior ranking with Skibbereen RC on top in both Junior Men’s and Women’s categories.
In the Junior Women,  Skibbereen RC lead Shandon BC with Presentation College BC holding down the number two spot in the Junior Men’s category.
Rowing Ireland spokesperson, Pat McInerney said, “The top senior men’s race this weekend sees Queens up against UCD, Commercial, St Michaels, Neptune and several junior crews including the Bann juniors who placed very well at the recent London schools head.”

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Published in Rowing
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