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Displaying items by tag: rowing

Irish rower Alex Byrne has won the Under 23 Men’s 2,000-metre race at the World Indoor Rowing Championships. Alex won the Gold Medal with a time of 5.55.3

Last week, Alex was on training camp with the Senior High-Performance Team in Varese, Italy and returned home on Sunday evening to prepare for the World Indoor Rowing Championships which took place on Tuesday.

Alex had a successful 2020 with breaking six minutes in the Irish Indoor Championships in UL in January finishing just behind his brother Ronan with a time of 5:58.9. Alex went on to compete at the Under 23 European Rowing Championships in Duisburg in the first International Rowing Competition of 2020. Alex was part of a Coxed Men’s Four alongside Ross Corrigan, Jack Dorney, John Kearney and Leah O’Regan (Cox).

The Irish crew finished third and took home the Bronze medal with only .64 of a second between them and second place.

World Indoor U23 Men’s Champion, Alex Byrne said, I’ve been planning on competing at the World Indoor Championship since Christmas and to win is a tremendous relief. I was wondering to myself how am I going to do it and prepare for it. I’ve been on training camp for the last three weeks, and the first two weeks were very intense, and I collected a lot of blisters on the hand, but at the end of the two weeks, you get used to it.

The training on the ergometer during the lockdown helped me feel way more prepared for the racing, so going into 2021, I thought that it was an excellent base, and I knew that it was going to work so that I would rinse and repeat”.

Alex competed in the competition in his living room surrounded by medals and Irish Championships winning “pots” Alex has competed for Shandon Rowing Club in Cork from a young age and has won from J14 to Senior at Domestic Events. Alec won at the Irish Rowing Championships in 2018 in the J18A categories, 8+ and 4x-. Alex competed in the Men’s Senior 8+ at the 2019 Irish Rowing Championships, finishing second.

On Wednesday’s racing at the 2021 World Indoor Rowing Championships, three-time Olympian and World Champion Niall O’Toole took home the Bronze Medal in the LM 50 category.

Rowing Ireland has congratulated all rowers that represented Ireland throughout the 2021 World Rowing Championships, Alex Byrne, Niall O’Toole, Niamh Hayes, Philip Healy, Aifric O’Sullivan, Wendy O’Leary, Amy Barry, Sally Cudmore, Kenneth Cunningham and Richard Morgan.

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Rowing Ireland has announced a new partnership with the National University of Ireland Galway.

NUI Galway is now an official ‘Rowing Ireland Partner Pathway University’ which will help develop the high-performance programme at the University. This partnership builds on the already strong working relationship between the University and Rowing Ireland over the past number of years.

NUI Galway will become a Pathway University, whose vision and direction will be in line with the Rowing Ireland High-Performance Program and methodology, to develop talented pathway athletes for international selection at U23 and eventually Olympic level.

Rowing Ireland and NUI Galway will work hand in hand to develop a sustainable and robust pathway of young athletes from Junior to U23 World Championship level before progressing to the senior Olympic team.

NUI Galway head coach, Ciro Prisco will continue to build on his experience as part of Rowing Ireland High-Performance coaching team (U23 World Championships 2019, Junior European Championships 2020) by taking up the new position of temporary High-Performance assistant coach working with the team at the National Rowing Centre while combining his duties as NUI Galway head coach, overseeing the development of the club program in Galway.

Commenting on today’s announcement, High-Performance Director Antonio Maurogiovanni said ‘We are delighted to have NUI Galway as a partner in supporting the High-Performance Programme Pathway. Along with our partnership with Queens, NUI Galway will have an essential role in our High-Performance programme’s success in the years to come.

We welcome Ciro Prisco onto our High-Performance team in an important role as Assistant Coach for our High-Performance Senior Athletes. Ciro will be a valuable member of the team, and we look forward to working with him and supporting him alongside his role in NUI Galway.

Michelle Carpenter, Rowing Ireland Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are delighted to welcome NUI Galway as a new partner and as a Pathway University. NUI Galway has a history of producing World Class athletes, and this partnership will benefit both NUI Galway and Rowing Ireland for the future.

This partnership is a testament to the vision and hard work that our High-Performance Team has put in. I want to thank Antonio Maurogiovanni and Fran Keane for their hard work in getting this over the line.

Mike Heskin Director of Sport & Physical Activity at NUI Galway, said “We are very excited about this New Partnership with Rowing Ireland’s High Performance Programme . The University has been developing partnerships with a number of the High Performance Sport programmes in Ireland involving both Domestic and Olympic Sports. We are certain these partnerships will prove hugely beneficial to our University athletes by providing a clean pathway for them to archive their athletic goals. We are especially delighted to be in partnership with Rowing Ireland to build on the existing relationship which has provided Olympians in our recent past.

I would like to thank the support that Feargal O’Callaghan our High-Performance Lead and I have received from the University leadership especially Michelle Miller Dean Of Student in developing a High-Performance Hub at NUI Galway for the Western Region, we hope to see a number of other sport follow Rowing’s Lead and operate a high performance programme out of the NUI Galway’s campus.”

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Double World and European rowing champion Sanita Pušpure has won the latest Cork Person of the Year award.

Sanita, 39, who was born in Latvia but now lives in Ballincollig, is considered a favourite to take a gold medal in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

She is also a past winner of the Irish Times/Sport Ireland’s Sportswoman of the Year award. 

Sanita came to Ireland from Latvia in 2006 and became an Irish citizen in 2011.

She has been a member of Irish rowing teams for many years and trains at the National Rowing Centre at Farran Woods in Cork.

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A Greystones County Wicklow-based challenge to row from Ireland to Iceland next Spring made a preliminary call into Dun Laoghaire Harbour last week.

Led by James Murray, the expedition aims to "safely get from Ireland to Iceland under human power alone. No motors, no sails".

The schedule is to set off from Dublin, Ireland in Spring 2021 and for different crew members to join for legs on the way to Iceland. 

As Murray explains on his website, row to iceland.com, "each team member has their own reasons for joining, but we all share an appreciation for the beauty of the places in-between and that seemingly extraordinary thing are possible". 

Departing Dublin in April, the 3000km route will follow up Ireland's east coast before crossing to Scotland.

Following the Scottish coast, the plan is for the rowing boat to stop into fjords and towns along the way. 

The plan then is to cross to the Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands before preparing for the big push to the Faroe Islands and then Iceland.

The trip is expected to take three to six months

Murray also asks on the campaign website that if you have experience with part of this route "we'd love to hear from you to help inform our plans".

Published in Greystones Harbour

Irish Olympic rowing is enjoying an all-time high with four crews already set to compete in Tokyo next year. The boats that have secured berths so far are the Women’s Single (W1X), Women’s Pair (W2-), Men’s Double Scull (M2X) and Men’s Lightweight Double Scull (LM2X). Note that the athletes will not be selected for these crews until closer to the Games, and competition is tight for all spots.

In rowing, there are just two opportunities to qualify for the Olympics – at the World Championships the year prior to the Games (2019), where the majority of spots are available. And also at the European Qualifier which take place two months before the Games.

Ironically, at the European qualifier crews from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA can also compete at this regatta (AUS, CAN and USA already have qualified), and for the Women’s Four there are just two spots available. Should they qualify, the crew that competes at the European Qualifier in Lucerne next May must remain the same for the Olympic Games.

There is also an outside chance that Ireland can qualify a Lightweight Women’s Double Scull (LW2X) at the same regatta. Note that this will be the last year that there will be lightweight events in rowing at the Olympic Games, a boat type that Ireland is historically successful at.

Meanwhile, the Olympic Federation spoke with Aifric Keogh from the Women’s Four (W4-), the Galway rower who is based in Cork at the National Rowing Centre. She spoke about what the World Championships Bronze medal has meant to her, and life in lockdown at the National Rowing Centre.

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In an update from the Olympic Federation of Ireland, Rowing has qualified a record number of boats for the 2021 Olympics, with four boats heading to Tokyo, and still a good chance to get one or two more in the final qualification regatta before the Games.

The boats are:

Women’s Single Scull – Sanita Puspure finished first in the World Championships 2019

Men’s Lightweight Double Scull – Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy finished first in the World
Championships 2019

Men’s Double Scull – Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne finished second in the World Championships 2019

Women’s Pair – Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska finished eleventh in the World Championships 2019

Rowing Ireland are still targeting two boats in the European qualifying regatta next year:

Women’s Four (W4-) there are two spots available.

Women’s Lightweight Double (LW2X) there are two spots available

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Sanita Puspure won the Gold medal in the Women’s Single Sculls and retained her European Rowing Championship title in Poznan today.

Seven Irish crews were competing in the final day at the 2020 European Rowing Championships. Five crews were competing in the A Finals and two boats competed in the B Finals.

The other Irish medal winners, Fintan McCarthy (LM1x), Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch (MX2), Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Aifric Keogh (W4-) all won Bronze Medals in their A Finals.

A Final Results

Fintan McCarthy won Bronze in the Lightweight Men’s Single A Final. Fintan competed with crews from Norway, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Belgium. Kristoffer Brun from Norway took the Gold and Niels Torre from Italy finished second. Fintan finished third with a time of 07:02.150.

The W2- crew of Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty finished fifth in the A Final. The Irish pair were competing with crews from Romania, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Italy. The crew finished with a time of 07:28.280.

Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch won Bronze in the A Final in the Men’s Double Sculls. The Irish crew competed against crews from Lithuania, Romania, Netherlands, Switzerland and Poland. Daire and Ronan finished third with a time of 06:41.210.

Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh won Bronze in the Women’s Four A Final. The Women’s Four competed in their heat alongside boats from Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Romania and Russia. The Irish Women’s Four finished third just behind the Italian crew with a time of 06:41.210 and just narrowly missed out on the Silver to the Swiss crew.

Sanita Puspure retained her European Championship by winning Gold in the Women’s Single Scull. Sanita won the race ahead of Magdalena Lobnig and Anneta Kyridou. Sanita was competing against crews from the Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Switzerland. Sanita finished with a time of 07:36.040. Sanita is now a Double World and European Champion in the Women’s Single Scull.

B Final Results

Lydia Heaphy won the B Final in the Lightweight Women’s Single. Lydia beat crews from Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovenia on Sunday morning. Lydia finished the race with a time of 08:03.280.

The Lightweight Women’s Double of Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey finished 2nd in the B Final. They competed against crews from the Switzerland, Greece, Denmark, Latvia and Spain and finished with a time of 07:18.780.

Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni said ”I wish to congratulate all crews, coaches and support staff on the excellent performances and results at the European Rowing Championships. Winning four medals, One Gold and three bronze is a brilliant accomplishment for Irish Rowing this weekend. Out of our seven crews entered, five reached the A Final in their category, and two achieved excellent results in the B Finals.

These results have continued our success this year at U23 and Junior European Championships. We now have nine medals from three competitions at three different levels.

We are not considered the underdog anymore, and we all need to do better and push the bar higher to keep our current level of international competitiveness.

One of Rowing Ireland's High-Performance's ambition was to have a system able to offer to all our athletes the chance to be competitive in making finals and ultimately winning medals across all the categories including Senior, U23, Junior, Male, Female, Lightweight and Heavyweight. We are in the right direction, but a lot needs to be done.

I want to thank all of the athletes, coaches, support staff and clubs for all their continued hard work and dedication. A big thank you to all of the national coaches Dominic Casey, Giuseppe De Vita, Fran Kean, John Armstrong, Ciro Prisco. These results would not be possible if it wasn't for everyone working together as a team with passion and enthusiasm.

We are grateful to be able to compete in tournaments given the current health situation, and we thank World Rowing for organising this event. We now look forward to 2021 and the opportunity to qualify more boats for the Olympics next summer. "

Irish Final Results at European Rowing Championships

Lightweight Women’s Single Scull (LW1x) – 1st Place – B Final

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – 2nd Place – B Final

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – 3rd Place – A Final

Women’s Pair (W2-) – 5th Place – A Final

Men’s Double Scull (M2x) – 3rd Place – A Final

Women’s Four (W4-) – 3rd Place – A Final

Women’s Single Scull (W1x) – 1st Place – A Final

RTE Highlight Show

RTE will also be showing a highlight show on RTE2 tonight at 6:30 pm.

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The second day of the 2020 European Rowing Championships featured seven Irish crews racing in repechages and semi-finals, setting themselves up for a day full of finals tomorrow.

The first crew of the day were the W2- pair of Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty. The pair raced in their repechage with big competition from Belarus, the Netherlands and Denmark. Tara and Emily finished first with a time of 7:16.67 and will race in the A Final tomorrow.

Daire Lynch and Ronan Byrne started their day in the M2x Semi-Final. They faced competition from the Netherlands, Belgium and Serbia. Daire and Ronan finished third in their Semi-Final with a time of 6:21.66, securing their place in the A Final tomorrow.

Lydia Heaphy raced in the Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) repechage. She faced competition from the Russian and Polish crews and finished fourth with a time of 7:58.49. Lydia will race in the B Final tomorrow.

Fintan McCarthy raced in the Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) A/B Semi-Final. Fintan rowed in a tough race with crews from Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Fintan finished second with a time of 6:57.10 and will race in the A Final tomorrow.

Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey raced in the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) Semi-Final. The pair faced competition from Italy, Belarus and Switzerland. Margaret and Aoife finished fifth with a time of 7:08.98. The pair will race in the B Final tomorrow.

The W4- crew of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh raced in the Women’s Four Repechage. The crew comfortably finished first with a time of 6:26.96. They will race in the A Final tomorrow.

Sanita Puspure raced in the Women's Single Sculls (W1x) Semi-Final to finish off the day. Sanita raced with the Austrian and Danish crews either side of her, with the three crews securing their places in the A Final tomorrow. Sanita finished second with a time of 7:37.84.

Sunday Races (IST)

Lightweight Women's Single Sculls (LW1x) Lydia Heaphy - B Final - 08:05

Lightweight Women's Double Sculls (LW2x) Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey - B Final - 08:15

Lightweight Men's Single Sculls (LW1x) Fintan McCarthy - A Final - 09:31

Women's Pair (W2-) Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty - A Final - 10:46

Men's Double Sculls (M2x) Daire Lynch and Ronan Byrne - A Final - 11:31

Women's Four (W4-) Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh - A Final - 11:46

Women's Single Sculls (W1x) Sanita Puspure - A Final - 13:31

Follow the rowing:

RTE TV Coverage

RTE will be covering the racing on the RTE Player tomorrow!

RTE will also be showing a highlight show on RTE2 on Sunday at 6:30 pm.

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Seven Irish crews were competing today at the 2020 European Rowing Championships. Four crews progressed to the A/B Semi-Final races on Saturday morning and three crews will race in the Repechage.

The W2-crew of Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty kicked off the Irish team’s racing this morning. The Irish pair were competing with crews from Russia, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands. The crew finished third with a time of 07:16.590. Tara and Emily will race in the Repechage.

Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch competed in the Men’s double scull heat. The Irish crew competed against crews from Lithuania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Finland and Serbia. Daire and Ronan finished second with a time of 06:22.020. Daire and Ronan have now progressed to the A/B Semi-Final on Saturday morning.

Lydia Heaphy raced in the Lightweight Women’s Single facing crews from Norway, Poland, Germany, Russia and Switzerland. Lydia finished sixth in her heat with a time of 08:01.550 and will race in the Repechage on Saturday morning.

Fintan McCarthy competed in the Lightweight Men’s Single, Fintan was competing with crews from Spain, Greece, Italy and Germany. Fintan finished third with a time of 07:05.980. Fintan moved into the Repechage later on Friday afternoon.

Fintan finished 1st in the Lightweight Men’s Repechage with a time of 07:07.35, Fintan will now compete in the A/B Semi-Final on Saturday.

The Women’s Four of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh competed in their heat alongside boats from Spain, France, Romania, Germany and Netherlands. The Irish Women’s Four finished second just behind the Netherlands crew with a time of 06:26.990. They will now race in the Repechage on Saturday morning.

Sanita Puspure raced in the Women’s Single Scull in Heat two. Sanita was competing against crews from the Netherlands, France, Serbia and Germany. Sanita finished second with a time of 07:35.510 and advanced to the A/B Semi-Finals on Saturday morning.

The Lightweight Women’s Double of Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey finished 4th in their heat. They competed against crews from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece and Latvia and moved into the Repechage later on Friday afternoon.

Margaret and Aoife finished second in their Repechage with a time of 07:03.990. They will now compete in the A/B Semi-Final on Saturday.

Saturday European Rowing Races (IST) Irish interest

Women’s Pair (W2-) Tara Hanlon & Emily Hegarty – Repechage – 08:53

Men’s Double Scull (M2x) – Ronan Byrne & Daire Lynch – A/B Semi-Final – 09:13/09:18

Lightweight Women’s Single Scull (LW1x) – Lydia Heaphy – Repechage – 09:23

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Fintan McCarthy – A/B Semi-Final – 09:33/09:38

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) Margaret Cremen & Aoife Casey – A/B Semi-Final – 10:00/10:05

Women’s Four (W4-) Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh – Repechage – 10:20

Women’s Single Scull (W1x) – Sanita Puspure – A/B Semi-Final – 10:45

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This weekend senior Irish crews will be looking to continue the successes of the U23 and Junior crews who brought home six medals from their European Championships in September. Ireland will have seven crews competing at the European Rowing Championships in Poznan from the 9th -11th October.

Sanita Puspure will be defending her Championship after winning Gold at last year’s European Rowing Championships in Lucerne. In 2019, Sanita also won her second consecutive World Championship and qualified the Women’s Single Scull for the Olympics at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Austria. After Sanita’s World and European Championships in 2019, she was named as the Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year.

Women’s Four

The crew of Fiona Murtagh, Aileen Crowley, Eimear Lambe and Aifric Keogh will be competing in the Women’s Four. Fiona has won the Head of Charles two years in a row and won at the Irish Rowing Championships. Aileen, alongside Monika Dukarska, qualified the Women’s Pair for the Olympics at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Eimear has been competing internationally since 2015 and won Silver at the 2019 U23 World Rowing Championships. Aifric has been a member of the high-performance team for several years has won at the Irish Championships and set new World Records on the erg this year.

Fintan McCarthy will be competing in the Lightweight Men’s Single after a successful 2019. Fintan competed at the 2019 European Championships in Lucerne alongside his brother, Jake, in the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls. Fintan then competed alongside Paul O’Donovan, winning Silver at the World Cup III in Rotterdam. Fintan and Paul went on to win Gold at the 2019 World Rowing Championship and qualify the Lightweight Men’s Double boat for the Olympics.

After a successful U23 European Championships, a number of our medal winners will be competing this weekend. Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch look to continue their success after winning Gold in the Men’s Double at the U23 European Championships in September. In 2019, Ronan won Silver alongside Phil Doyle at the World Rowing Championships and the World Cup III; Ronan also won Gold in the Men’s Single at the 2019 U23 European Championships.

Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey will be racing in the Lightweight Women’s Double in Poznan after winning the Silver Medal in the same category in Germany last month. Margaret and Aoife have competed together for several years and won Silver in this event at the Junior European Championships in 2017.

Lydia Heaphy will be competing in the Lightweight Women’s Scull, after winning Gold alongside Cliodhna Nolan in the Women’s Lightweight Pair last month. Lydia has experience competing in the Lightweight Single Scull having raced in the boat at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.

Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty won Bronze at last month’s U23 event, competing together in the Women’s Pair. Tara and Emily won Silver in the Women’s Four alongside Eimear Lambe and Claire Feerick at the 2019 U23 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota.

Irish Crews Competing

W1x

Sanita Puspure (OC)

M2x

Ronan Byrne (UCC)
Daire Lynch (Clonmel)
John Kearney (UCC)- Reserve

W4-

Fiona Murtagh (NUIG)
Aileen Crowley (OC)
Eimear Lambe (OC)
Aifric Keogh (UCC)

W2-

Tara Hanlon (UCC)
Emily Hegarty (UCC)

LM1x

Fintan McCarthy (Skibbereen)

LW2x

Margaret Cremen (UCC)
Aoife Casey (UCC)

LW1x

Lydia Heaphy (UCC)

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Irish Olympic Sailing Team

Ireland has a proud representation in sailing at the Olympics dating back to 1948. Today there is a modern governing structure surrounding the selection of sailors the Olympic Regatta

Irish Olympic Sailing FAQs

Ireland’s representation in sailing at the Olympics dates back to 1948, when a team consisting of Jimmy Mooney (Firefly), Alf Delany and Hugh Allen (Swallow) competed in that year’s Summer Games in London (sailing off Torquay). Except for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Ireland has sent at least one sailor to every Summer Games since then.

  • 1948 – London (Torquay) — Firefly: Jimmy Mooney; Swallow: Alf Delany, Hugh Allen
  • 1952 – Helsinki — Finn: Alf Delany * 1956 – Melbourne — Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1960 – Rome — Flying Dutchman: Johnny Hooper, Peter Gray; Dragon: Jimmy Mooney, David Ryder, Robin Benson; Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1964 – Tokyo — Dragon: Eddie Kelliher, Harry Maguire, Rob Dalton; Finn: Johnny Hooper 
  • 1972 – Munich (Kiel) — Tempest: David Wilkins, Sean Whitaker; Dragon: Robin Hennessy, Harry Byrne, Owen Delany; Finn: Kevin McLaverty; Flying Dutchman: Harold Cudmore, Richard O’Shea
  • 1976 – Montreal (Kingston) — 470: Robert Dix, Peter Dix; Flying Dutchman: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Wilkinson; Tempest: David Wilkins, Derek Jago
  • 1980 – Moscow (Tallinn) — Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson (Silver medalists) * 1984 – Los Angeles — Finn: Bill O’Hara
  • 1988 – Seoul (Pusan) — Finn: Bill O’Hara; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; 470 (Women): Cathy MacAleavy, Aisling Byrne
  • 1992 – Barcelona — Europe: Denise Lyttle; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; Star: Mark Mansfield, Tom McWilliam
  • 1996 – Atlanta (Savannah) — Laser: Mark Lyttle; Europe: Aisling Bowman (Byrne); Finn: John Driscoll; Star: Mark Mansfield, David Burrows; 470 (Women): Denise Lyttle, Louise Cole; Soling: Marshall King, Dan O’Grady, Garrett Connolly
  • 2000 – Sydney — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, David O'Brien
  • 2004 – Athens — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, Killian Collins; 49er: Tom Fitzpatrick, Fraser Brown; 470: Gerald Owens, Ross Killian; Laser: Rory Fitzpatrick
  • 2008 – Beijing (Qingdao) — Star: Peter O’Leary, Stephen Milne; Finn: Tim Goodbody; Laser Radial: Ciara Peelo; 470: Gerald Owens, Phil Lawton
  • 2012 – London (Weymouth) — Star: Peter O’Leary, David Burrows; 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy; Laser: James Espey; 470: Gerald Owens, Scott Flanigan
  • 2016 – Rio — Laser Radial (Women): Annalise Murphy (Silver medalist); 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; 49erFX: Andrea Brewster, Saskia Tidey; Laser: Finn Lynch; Paralympic Sonar: John Twomey, Ian Costello & Austin O’Carroll

Ireland has won two Olympics medals in sailing events, both silver: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson in the Flying Dutchman at Moscow 1980, and Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial at Rio 2016.

The current team, as of December 2020, consists of Laser sailors Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon, 49er pairs Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, and Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson, as well as Laser Radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins.

Irish Sailing is the National Governing Body for sailing in Ireland.

Irish Sailing’s Performance division is responsible for selecting and nurturing Olympic contenders as part of its Performance Pathway.

The Performance Pathway is Irish Sailing’s Olympic talent pipeline. The Performance Pathway counts over 70 sailors from 11 years up in its programme.The Performance Pathway is made up of Junior, Youth, Academy, Development and Olympic squads. It provides young, talented and ambitious Irish sailors with opportunities to move up through the ranks from an early age. With up to 100 young athletes training with the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, every aspect of their performance is planned and closely monitored while strong relationships are simultaneously built with the sailors and their families

Rory Fitzpatrick is the head coach of Irish Sailing Performance. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and was an Athens 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.

The Performance Director of Irish Sailing is James O’Callaghan. Since 2006 James has been responsible for the development and delivery of athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway. A Business & Economics graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a Level 3 Qualified Coach and Level 2 Coach Tutor. He has coached at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. He is also a member of the Irish Sailing Foundation board.

Annalise Murphy is by far and away the biggest Irish sailing star. Her fourth in London 2012 when she came so agonisingly close to a bronze medal followed by her superb silver medal performance four years later at Rio won the hearts of Ireland. Murphy is aiming to go one better in Tokyo 2021. 

Under head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, the coaching staff consists of Laser Radial Academy coach Sean Evans, Olympic Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar and 49er team coach Matt McGovern.

The Irish Government provides funding to Irish Sailing. These funds are exclusively for the benefit of the Performance Pathway. However, this falls short of the amount required to fund the Performance Pathway in order to allow Ireland compete at the highest level. As a result the Performance Pathway programme currently receives around €850,000 per annum from Sport Ireland and €150,000 from sponsorship. A further €2 million per annum is needed to have a major impact at the highest level. The Irish Sailing Foundation was established to bridge the financial gap through securing philanthropic donations, corporate giving and sponsorship.

The vision of the Irish Sailing Foundation is to generate the required financial resources for Ireland to scale-up and execute its world-class sailing programme. Irish Sailing works tirelessly to promote sailing in Ireland and abroad and has been successful in securing funding of 1 million euro from Sport Ireland. However, to compete on a par with other nations, a further €2 million is required annually to realise the ambitions of our talented sailors. For this reason, the Irish Sailing Foundation was formed to seek philanthropic donations. Led by a Board of Directors and Head of Development Kathryn Grace, the foundation lads a campaign to bridge the financial gap to provide the Performance Pathway with the funds necessary to increase coaching hours, upgrade equipment and provide world class sport science support to a greater number of high-potential Irish sailors.

The Senior and Academy teams of the Performance Pathway are supported with the provision of a coach, vehicle, coach boat and boats. Even with this level of subsidy there is still a large financial burden on individual families due to travel costs, entry fees and accommodation. There are often compromises made on the amount of days a coach can be hired for and on many occasions it is necessary to opt out of major competitions outside Europe due to cost. Money raised by the Irish Sailing Foundation will go towards increased quality coaching time, world-class equipment, and subsiding entry fees and travel-related costs. It also goes towards broadening the base of talented sailors that can consider campaigning by removing financial hurdles, and the Performance HQ in Dublin to increase efficiency and reduce logistical issues.

The ethos of the Performance Pathway is progression. At each stage international performance benchmarks are utilised to ensure the sailors are meeting expectations set. The size of a sailor will generally dictate which boat they sail. The classes selected on the pathway have been identified as the best feeder classes for progression. Currently the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway consists of the following groups: * Pathway (U15) Optimist and Topper * Youth Academy (U19) Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and 420 * Development Academy (U23) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX * Team IRL (direct-funded athletes) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX

The Irish Sailing performance director produces a detailed annual budget for the programme which is presented to Sport Ireland, Irish Sailing and the Foundation for detailed discussion and analysis of the programme, where each item of expenditure is reviewed and approved. Each year, the performance director drafts a Performance Plan and Budget designed to meet the objectives of Irish Performance Sailing based on an annual review of the Pathway Programmes from Junior to Olympic level. The plan is then presented to the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) where it is independently assessed and the budget is agreed. The OSG closely monitors the delivery of the plan ensuring it meets the agreed strategy, is within budget and in line with operational plans. The performance director communicates on an ongoing basis with the OSG throughout the year, reporting formally on a quarterly basis.

Due to the specialised nature of Performance Sport, Irish Sailing established an expert sub-committee which is referred to as the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). The OSG is chaired by Patrick Coveney and its objective is centred around winning Olympic medals so it oversees the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s Performance plan.

At Junior level (U15) sailors learn not only to be a sailor but also an athlete. They develop the discipline required to keep a training log while undertaking fitness programmes, attending coaching sessions and travelling to competitions. During the winter Regional Squads take place and then in spring the National Squads are selected for Summer Competitions. As sailors move into Youth level (U19) there is an exhaustive selection matrix used when considering a sailor for entry into the Performance Academy. Completion of club training programmes, attendance at the performance seminars, physical suitability and also progress at Junior and Youth competitions are assessed and reviewed. Once invited in to the Performance Academy, sailors are given a six-month trial before a final decision is made on their selection. Sailors in the Academy are very closely monitored and engage in a very well planned out sailing, training and competition programme. There are also defined international benchmarks which these sailors are required to meet by a certain age. Biannual reviews are conducted transparently with the sailors so they know exactly where they are performing well and they are made aware of where they may need to improve before the next review.

©Afloat 2020

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