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The Irish U23 rowing squad have gone four for four, winning a medal in each event that was entered.

Bronze for the BM2x of Brian Colsh and Konan Pazzaia, Bronze for the BM4 - of John Kearney, Nathan Timoney, Adam Murphy and Andrew Sheehan, bronze for the BW1x Alison Bergin, and silver for the BLM2x of Hugh Moore and Ciaran Purdy.

The BM2x started out steady, coming through the first 500m in sixth place and the 1000m in fifth. After that halfway mark, Brian and Konan began to build, and came up through the field to finish in the medal positions. The Irish crew finished only 1.23 seconds off the Macedonian crew that won the silver medals.

Bronze for the BM4- of John Kearney, Nathan Timoney, Adam Murphy and Andrew SheehanBronze for the BM4- of John Kearney, Nathan Timoney, Adam Murphy and Andrew Sheehan

After the Irish BM4- took home silver at the 2021 World Champs, the new crew of John, Nathan, Adam and Andrew were out for the medals. Right off the start, the Irish crew positioned themselves in third place and carried that through to the finish. Early on in the race, the three leaders began to separate from Romania, Italy and Australia, creating a clear water gap. Holding tough until the end, the boys were able to secure their bronze medals.

Bronze for the BM2x of Brian Colsh and Konan PazzaiaBronze for the BM2x of Brian Colsh and Konan Pazzaia

The QUBBC lightweight double of Hugh and Ciaran, had a phenomenal race, moving through more crews the further into the race they got. After their first 500m, the boys got faster for each quarter, pushing right through to the finish. The finished with the silver medals and a time of 6:36.95.

Silver for the BLM2x of Hugh Moore and Ciaran PurdySilver for the BLM2x of Hugh Moore and Ciaran Purdy

Alison closed off the day with a bronze medal in the BW1x. Up against tough competition, Alison was able to keep her head above it, and hold her third place position throughout the race. Keeping that Irish race style of big finishes, Alison did the last 500m faster than the German and Swiss scullers ahead, finishing only .46 of a second away from the silver medal.

Bronze for the BW1x Alison BerginBronze for the BW1x Alison Bergin

Ciaran O'Sullivan (Lee RC) and Fergus Bryce (CGS BC) put on a great show in the JM2x C/D Semi this morning. Sitting in second place until the final 500m, the boys pushed on and came through the Greek double to take the win.

Next up was the JW4x who qualified for the B Final after placing fifth in their Semi. They will race again tomorrow against Canada, South Africa, Italy, Greece and New Zealand. Holly and Anna in the JW2x flew through their A/B Semi, coming second to the Netherlands and securing their place in the A Final tomorrow afternoon.

The final day of racing takes place on Sunday and the race schedule for Ireland is below. 

Irish Results
BLM2x -> Silver
BM2x -> Bronze
BM4- -> Bronze
BW1x -> Bronze
JW2x -> A Final
JW4x -> B Final
JM2x -> C Final

Sunday Schedule (IST)
JM2x C Final - 9:15am
JW4x B Final - 9:55am
JW2x A Final - 12:40pm

Published in Rowing
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Ireland has seven rowing crews competing this week at the 'Mega Worlds'. The U19 and U23 Championships are being held simultaneously in Varese, Italy. On Tuesday, the U23 crews were out for their heats and this morning (Wednesday) will see the start of the junior racing.

The first crew to take to the water was the BM2x of Konan Pazzaia and Brian Colsh. The QUBBC and NUIG BC duo finished first in their heat and have qualified straight into the A/B Semi taking place on Thursday.

Next up was the BM4- of John Kearney (UCC RC), Andrew Sheehan (Lee RC), Nathan Timoney (QUBBC) and Adam Murphy (Shandon BC). The crew finished second in their heat, with a fast time of 6:00.22. However, with only one crew to qualify straight into the A/B Semi, they will have to race the Repechage on Wednesday.

A full QUBBC crew of Hugh Moore and Ciaran Purdy, started off steady and slowly made their way through the field. The BLM2x crossed the line in third position behind the Netherlands and Belgium, missing out on the direct A/B Semi qualification by just two seconds. They will race again in the hopes of making one of those A/B Semi spots!

Fermoy RC rower, Alison Bergin, started her 2022 Worlds journey yesterday when she raced her heat. An unlucky heat draw put her in the fastest heat, and even with a very fast time of 7:37.07, a fourth place finish meant that she had to race again today in the Repechage. This did not slow her down, as Alison won her rep by almost 18 seconds, qualifying her for the A/B Semi on Friday.

Wednesday morning will see the start of the Junior racing, with the Irish JW2x and JM2x taking to the water.

Wednesday Schedule (IST)

  • JW2x Heat - 8:30am
  • JM2x Heat - 9:10am
  • BM4- Rep - 1:25pm
  • BLM2x Rep - 1:55pm
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Paul O'Donovan has upheld his streak of success, winning gold in his return to the international rowing scene, as well as setting a new World Cup Record. Paul was the only Irish athlete competing this weekend at World Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland and was accompanied by Dominic Casey, the High-Performance Lightweight coach.

The Skibbereen rower, currently studying and racing for University College Cork, stormed his heat, winning it by 7 seconds. With this performance, he was going straight into the A/B Semi this morning with the fastest time. Lukasz Sawicki from Poland and Finn Wolter from Germany were both unable to race the Semi due to illness, which reduced the field to four boats.

As usual, Paul started steady, and slowly but surely came through each of the crews as they progressed through the 2k. In a tight race, only three crews could qualify for the A Final, and the Algerian sculler was just .75 of a second short of that qualifying position.

Paul finished off the event with his fastest race, coming across the finish line with a time of 6:47.15, a new World Cup record.

Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni, said: "We are delighted with Paul’s performance, and to see him coming away from World Cup III with the gold medal. After good racing here, and in Poznan, we look forward to Europeans and the World Championships in the coming months".

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It has been a hugely successful World Cup II for the Irish rowing crews in Poznan. Out of the eight crews competing, six of them are coming home with medals. Ireland has ranked fourth out of the medal hauls from the event.

Katie O'Brien and Steven McGowan started off the morning of A Finals in the PR2 Mix2x. Against tough competition, the new Irish crew placed fourth in the final. With Katie's dominant win in the PR2 W1x yesterday, and the collected rowing displayed in the mixed 2x, there's a lot more to come from this Galway crew.

The W2- of Emily Hegarty and Fiona Murtagh set off the medal streak with a bronze medal in their final. Coming up to the halfway mark the crew were bow ball to bow ball with the crew from Czech Republic. With each stroke, the crew in that third place position swapped back and forth, but it was the rowers from NUIG and UCC that held out and secured the medals.

Half an hour later, it was Sanita Puspure and Zoe Hyde who had their time on the podium. In the medal positions from the start, the crew went out as they intended to finish. Coming into the last few hundred meters the Chinese crew put in a big push to try to come through the Irish, but the Irish crew made it over the line first and secured their silver medals.

W2x - Zoe Hyde, Sanita Puspure - Silver MedalZoe Hyde (left) and Sanita Puspure with their W2x World Cup II Silver Medals

The LW2x of Margaret Cremen from UCC and Lydia Heaphy from Skibbereen RC came into the finish line with not only the bronze medals, but one of the most exciting races of the day. The Irish double took off the starting blocks at a rate of 55 strokes per minute, leaving the rest of the field behind in those first few strokes. As the race developed, USA and Australia began to pull away but there was nothing separating the rest of the crews. Approaching the finish line, there was no telling who was coming home with the medals. It came down to a photo finish between the crew from Ireland and the crew from China, but it was the Irish that made it across first and won the bronze medals. In the end, there was only 0.3 seconds separating the crews from second place to fourth place.

Finishing off World Cup II on a high, the W4- of Eimear Lambe (Old Collegians BC), Tara Hanlon (UCC), Aifric Keogh (DULBC), and Natalie Long (Killorglin RC) came in winning the bronze medal and rounding up the Irish medal tally to six. An impressive final burst in the last 500m, moved the Irish crew from fifth place up to the bronze medal position. There was nothing that the crews from USA and New Zealand could do to stop the Irish coming through them, as they were the fastest boat on the water coming into the finish.

Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni, said: "We are delighted with the results from this weekend's racing. Taking home six medals across para, lightweight and heavyweight rowing is a difficult feat. We hope to continue this momentum through the rest of the racing season. Congratulations to Katie O'Brien on her gold medal and new world record, as well as all of the Irish athletes on their medal wins and strong performances."

Rowing Ireland’s CEO, Michelle Carpenter, said: "It's been exciting for our team to get back out to World Cup racing and return to one of our favourite courses in Poznan, Poland. This infamous World regatta course is where many of our athletes raced during their junior pathways.

With six out of eight crews medalling putting us in a good position, we are pleased now that the team have a pulse check going into the World Championships and ultimately the Paris Olympic cycle.

Well done to our dedicated HP team Director, Antonio, our incredible team of coaches and staff, Giuseppe, Dominic, Conor and Michael and all our competing athletes backed up by our HP committee and committed board. A massive thank you to Sport Ireland and Sport NI and our loyal sponsors who continue to support us on our journey."

Irish Results at Poznan

PR2 W1x - Katie O'Brien - Gold Medal (World Record)
LM1x - Fintan McCarthy - Silver Medal
LM1x - Gary O'Donovan - 5th B Final
PR2 Mix2x - Katie O'Brien, Steven McGowan - 4th Place
W2- Fiona Murtagh, Emily Hegarty - Bronze Medal
W2x - Zoe Hyde, Sanita Puspure - Silver Medal
LW2x - Margaret Cremen, Lydia Heaphy - Bronze Medal
W4- Eimear Lambe, Tara Hanlon, Aifric Keogh, Natalie Long - Bronze Medal

Published in Rowing
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Rowing Ireland had eight crews racing in the heats at World Cup II in Poznan.

Five of the crews qualified directly to the A/B Semi-Final, the two PR2 crews go straight to the A finals from their test races and one crew will compete in the Repechage on Saturday morning.

The first Irish crew at the start line was the W2- yesterday evening for their heat. The crew came third in their heat and with only one crew to qualify straight to the A Final, they'll be racing in the Repechage tomorrow morning. The pair of Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty is a new combination, however, they have some experience rowing together as they raced alongside each other in the W4- at the Tokyo Olympics, coming home with the bronze medal.

Next up was the PR2 Mix2x of Katie O'Brien and Steven McGowan. Their first competition was last month at the International Para-Rowing Regatta in Gavirate, where the crew came 4th in the Final. The test race this morning showed great racing with all crews within eight seconds of each other. The A Final will go ahead on Sunday, where the Galway RC crew can try to improve their 4th place test race finish. Katie was kept on her toes today racing the PR2 W1x later in the afternoon. With a commanding lead, Katie finished first in the test race and will race again tomorrow in the A Final. Having won the bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships we'll be looking forward to hopefully seeing Katie on the podium again.

Both Fintan McCarthy and Gary O'Donovan raced the LM1x this morning. With very strong racing in their heats, the two rowers from Skibbereen qualified straight through to the A/B Semi with Fintan winning his heat and Gary placing second. We will see them race again tomorrow where they will be looking to try make it into the A Final.

Another new combination in the Irish crews was the W4- of Eimear Lambe, Tara Hanlon, Aifric Keogh and Natalie Long. Even with the new 4- combination, all athletes are well established with Eimear and Aifric being part of the bronze medal Olympic 4-, Tara competing at a number of World Rowing events from Junior through to Senior level and qualifying as the Olympic spare last year, and Natalie who has also competed internationally over the last number of years, as well as placing 4th at the World Coastal Championships last year in the Women's Quad. The crew finished second in their heat and are straight through to the A/B Semi tomorrow morning.

The final two Irish crews were the W2x of Sanita Puspure and Zoe Hyde, and the LW2x of Margaret Cremen and Lydia Heaphy. Both crews qualified straight into their A/B Semis with the W2x winning their heat and the LW2x coming in with a very close second place. Having previously been used to seeing Sanita race in her single, she has gained a double partner, Zoe who was also in the Women's Quad with Natalie Long that placed 4th at the World Coastal Championships in Portugal last year.

Provisional Saturday Race Schedule (IST)

LM1x A/B Semi (Gary) ~ 9:30am
LM1x A/B Semi (Fintan) ~ 9:30am
W2- Rep ~ 9:40am
W2x A/B Semi ~ 10:00am
W4- A/B Semi ~ 10:20am
LW2x A/B Semi ~ 10:50am
PR2 W1x A Final ~ 14:20pm

Friday Results
W2- Heat ~ 3rd
PR2 Mix2x Test Race ~ 4th
LM1x Heat (Gary) ~ 2rd
LM1x Heat (Fintan) ~ 1st
W4- Heat ~ 2nd
W2x Heat ~ 1st
LW2x Heat ~ 2nd
PR2 W1x (Katie) ~ 1st

Published in Rowing
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Galway adventurer and former professional rugby player Damian Browne and his friend and fellow rugby player Fergus Farrell have set off from New York on their unsupported row across the Atlantic.

The pair are attempting to set a new Guinness world record in their purpose-built Seasabre 6.2m craft, and estimate it will take 1.5 million oar strokes to complete the 5,000 km crossing.

They are also raising funds for four charities – Ability West, the Galway Simon Community, Madra animal rescue and the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) foundation.

Browne is well familiar with what is ahead, having spent 63 days 6 hours and 25 minutes at sea completing the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge to Antigua in 2017-18.

The existing world record for an unsupported row was set over 120 years ago by Norwegians George Harboe and Frank (Gabriel) Samuelsen who were the first pair to attempt it.

The Norwegian crossing from New York to the Scilly Isles in 1896 took 55 days and 13 hours. After a short break in the Scillys they rowed another five days to Le Havre in France.

Browne and Farrell say there have been 52 previous attempted crossings by way of an unsupported row, with 11 of these attempts by pairs. Only six of those pairs managed to complete the row.

There have also been successful crossings by six solo rowers, five fours and one crew of five.

Browne, who spent 16 years on the rugby pitches of the Celtic League, English Premiership and French Top 14 Championship and was part of the winning 2012/13 Heineken Cup team with Leinster Rugby, has climbed in the high altitude Pamir mountains in Afghanistan.

He has summited Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mont Blanc in France and Gran Paradiso in Italy.

After retiring from rugby, he completed the six day, 257 km Marathon des Sables in the Sahara desert, also known as the “toughest footrace on Earth”. He then spent 18 months preparing for his solo row across the Atlantic.

At sea, he endured nine-metre swells, a badly cut head, capsizes, encounters with whales, sea and pressure sores, lost an oar and experienced complete steering failure with still over 2000 nautical miles to go to Antigua.

“A hell of an experience, hell of an adventure and a hell of a challenge,”he describes it on his website.

“It was exactly what I wanted from the challenge, I wanted to be pushed to my limits mentally and physically and I got exactly what I wanted,”he said.

Fergus Farrell, his partner on “Project Empower” as this new transatlantic crossing is called, is a lifelong friend of Browne’s. Both played underage rugby together for Connacht and Farrell was a self-employed business man who experienced a traumatic spinal injury.

On October 26th 2018, Farrell ruptured his T9, T10 and T11 spinal discs in the middle of his back. One of the ruptured discs leaked into his spinal cord. After an operation in the National Spinal Unit at the Mater Hospital, Farrell says he noticed his motionless feet and asked his surgeon if this is how he would be for the rest of his life?

He says the surgeon put his hand on Fergus’s shoulder and “calmly told him he had been extremely unlucky”.

Farrell, who was then paralysed from the waist down, moved to the NRH and set about his recovery.

On October 26th 2019, a year after his surgery, he miraculously completed a 206km walk from the site of the injury at his yard in Athenry, Galway to the NRH in Dún Laoghaire.

Farrell attributes his recovery to his “stubbornness, thickness and determination”, and he also raised €70,000 for the NRH.

Farrell says he is determined to give his second chance of life everything he can give. He says he wants to show people that “the mind is a positive and powerful part of everybody’s lives” and that “when challenged correctly there are no limits to what you can achieve”.

Browne and Farrell’s progress can be tracked on their website here

Regular Afloat readers will recall the pair previously rowed a currach from Aran islands to Galway here

Published in Coastal Rowing
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NUI Galway has applied for planning permission for a new watersports facility on the city campus.

As Galway Bay FM reports, the development at the college’s upper Newcastle campus would involve the construction of a rowing storage shed, along with two floating platoons on the bank of the Corrib river.

A pedestrian and cyclist greenway along Corrib would link to an existing footpath, and the plans include equipment storage facilities, changing rooms, drying room, bathrooms, reception, first aid and a café.

A gym training room, function room, kitchenette, mother and baby room, communications room and offices are also provided for in the application, which has been submitted along with an environmental impact statement.

Galway city planners are expected to rule on the application in July.

Read more on the Galway Bay FM website here

 

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Four new rowing boats have been named in tribute to alumni and current student athletes at NUI Galway.

Chris O’Dea and the late Dr Donagh O’Donoghue, both of whom are former rowers with Coláiste Iognáid and NUI Galway Boat Club, have had new boats named after them.

World-class medal-winning athletes Cliodhna Nolan, who won gold at the 2020 European Championships, and Fiona Murtagh, who won bronze at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, have also been honoured with their names on new craft.

“We are delighted to be able to recognise and honour the commitment and dedication of Donagh, Chris, Fiona and Cliodhna to our rowing and sporting successes in such a unique and appropriate way," NUI Galway (NUIG) president Prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said.

Cliodhna Nolan, 2020 Gold European Championship and Fiona Murtagh, 2021 Olympic Bronze Medal Tokyo.Cliodhna Nolan, 2020 Gold European Championship and Fiona Murtagh, 2021 Olympic Bronze Medal Tokyo. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

“They are all first-class ambassadors for our university and our values, not least excellence," he said.

" In many ways, NUI Galway’s success and achievements are made possible thanks to the support, encouragement and endeavours of our students and our alumni," he said.

Ciro Prisco, head coach of NUI Galway Rowing, said that a boat naming ceremony is a "fitting opportunity to acknowledge our alumni and athletes who played vital parts in making the NUI Galway Boat Club a success".

“The commitment, support and ambition of Chris O’Dea and Dr O’Donoghue played an important role in establishing a high-performance rowing coach position at the university," Prisco said.

"Their foresight has allowed for the development of a pathway for student athletes to achieve their dreams and compete at the highest levels."

Ciro Prisco, NUI Galway Rowing Coach, Fiona Murtagh, 2021 Olympic Bronze Medal Tokyo, Cliodhna Nolan, 2020 Gold European Championship, and President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaighPictured at NUI Galway Boat Christening Ceremony were (l-r) Ciro Prisco, NUI Galway Rowing Coach, Fiona Murtagh, 2021 Olympic Bronze Medal Tokyo, Cliodhna Nolan, 2020 Gold European Championship, and President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

“On top of that, our student athletes bring international successes while they fully embody the values or our club and stand as role models for other students and athletes," he said.

The boats have been manufactured by Filippi, and two of them can be converted into a pair and double. The third boat is a coxless four and the fourth is a sweep eight.

They will be used by the NUIG rowing club high performance team to compete in national trails and also for club racing, include in domestically and internationally at the IARU National Championships, Varsity and Henley Royal Regatta.

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Afloat was quick to point out to An Post there were some notable absences from last month's tribute to Irish female sporting heroes in its set of six National Stamps (Irish Women in Sport).

The Irish Post Office paid tribute to achievements in athletics, boxing, horse racing, swimming and hockey in its March issue.

But there was no place for sailing's 2016 Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy or rowing's quartet of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty who produced a stirring finish to take the bronze medal in the women's four final at Tokyo.

The stamps acknowledge Irish sportswomen’s great achievements at home and on the international stage but an An Post spokesperson acknowledged the omission and told Afloat "We had a finite number of stamps so not all our wonderful athletes could feature – this time". 

The spokesperson added, "We have had similar enquiries about top Irish athletes in a number of other sports". 

The booklet features Irish female sporting icons Sonia O’Sullivan, Katie Taylor, Kellie Harrington, Rachael Blackmore, Ellen Keane and the Irish Women’s hockey team.

Happily, Irish Women in Sport is a topic that An Post will be returning to again in a future programme so, it appears, we may yet see some achievements afloat and get a stamp of approval?

Published in Women in Sailing
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Rowing Ireland’s first outing since the Olympic Games and World Championships last year took place this weekend.

The event is held at the Italian national Centre in Piediluco The memorial Paolo d’Aloja International Regatta was established to honour the memory of Paolo d’Aloja, President of the Italian Rowing Federation in the 70s and ’80s.

The regatta is always a good pulse check to launch the regatta season, and a large cohort of entries was from Italy, Greece and South Africa. With crews travelling from Serbia and Romania.

The three days event saw good first results for the Rowing Ireland crews Saturday’s results started with a silver medal for Gary O’Donovan in the Men’s lightweight single and a silver medal for U19 Holy Davis.

With Olympic Bronze medalist Fiona Murtagh paired, Tokyo experienced reserve Tara Hanlon taking a silver medal in the Women’s pair, followed by the pair of Natalie Long and Zoe Hyde in the Bronze medal position.

Many of the lightweight crews showed strong form in open weight events. Conditions were challenging on Saturday, and racing began on Sunday with more results for all crews.

A top podium finish for Fiona Murtagh and Tara Hanlon, winning the Women’s pair and a Bronze medal for Natalie Long and Zoe Hyde in the same event.

It was fitting to see Diana Dymchenko from Ukraine compete at the event and stand tall on the podium, with Rowing Ireland’s Emily Hegarty taking the bronze medal in the same. Lydia Heaphy took a silver medal in the Women’s Lightweight single.

Holly Davis finished the regatta well with a bronze medal in the U19 single.

The team will now spend the next number of weeks at a training camp in the North of Italy to prepare for the season ahead.

Final results

LM1x Gary O’Donovan Silver medal

WU19 Holly Davis Silver medal

W2x Lydia Heaphy and Margaret Cremen 4th Place
M2x Fintan McCarthy and Jake McCarthy 7th Place
W2- Tara Hanlon and Fiona Murtagh Silver medal
W2- Zoe Hyde and Natalie Long Bronze medal
W1x Aoife Casey 4th Place
W1x Emily Hegarty 5th place
W1x Alison Bergin 6th place

Sunday results

W2- Tara Hanlon and Fiona Murtagh Gold medal
W2- Natalie Long and Zoe Hyde Bronze medal
W1x Emily Hegarty Bronze medal
W1x Alison Bergin 8th place
WL1X Lydia Heaphy Silver medal

WU19 Holly Davis Bronze medal
W2x Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen 4th Place
M2x Fintan McCarthy and Gary O’Donovan 4th place

The team consisted of the following crews

Open weight Women team
Tara Hanlon (UCC) and Fiona Murtagh (NUIG) in the Women’s pair
Natalie Long (Killorglin RC) and Zoe Hyde (Killorglin RC) in the Women’s pair
Alison Bergin (Fermoy RC)
U19 Holly Davis (LVRC)

The lightweight group
Margaret Cremen (UCCRC), Lydia Heaphy (Skibbereen RC), Aoife Casey
(Skibbereen RC),
Gary O’Donovan (Skibbereen RC), Fintan McCarthy (Skibbereen RC), Jake
McCarthy (Skibbereen RC)

The HP coaching team
HPD: Antonio Maurogiovanni
Coaches: Dominic Casey, Giuseppe de Vita, Fran Keane, Nicolo Maurogiovanni and Leah O’Regan

Operations officer: Michael O’Rourke

Published in Rowing
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Page 6 of 87

About the Endurance II Replica Project

An Irish project has been launched on the 150th anniversary of explorer Ernest Shackleton's birth, to build a replica of his ship, Endurance II, in County Kildare.

The project has high-profile patrons such as the Prince Albert II of Monaco, Alexandra Shackleton (Shackleton's granddaughter), and Richard Garriott, the President of the Explorer's Club.

The project is still at the concept stage, so the estimated cost of construction, which is expected to be around €14m, and the annual operational budget of €1.5m are not yet confirmed.

The project organisers are seeking $600,000 (€556,350) from 12 "founders," who will each contribute $50,000. The chairman of private investment firm Kilcullen Kapital Partners, Galway-born O’Coineen, bought the Business Post newspaper in 2018.