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Inver Colpa Men's Team Win at the Islandmagee Challenge in Antrim

3rd October 2022
Inver Colpa men senior team with their first place medals
Inver Colpa men senior team with their first place medals Credit: Inver Colpa rowing club

Inver Colpa Coastal Rowing Club attended this summer's Islandmagee Challenge.

The men’s senior team set off early morning to make the journey to Whitehead, Co. Antrim, located on the picturesque coastline between Belfast and Larne. The race course was originally set to start in Brownes Bay and follow the Islandmagee peninsula south to finish in the town of Whitehead. The wind was stronger than hoped for so the course was changed at the 11th hour on the grounds of health & safety, and the start and finish line were set for Whitehead itself. Despite the so called strong wind, conditions were excellent, with no rain and a relatively calm sea.

The men’s team was made up of Darragh Farrell, Andrew Cassidy, Andy Grennan and James McKevitt, with Glenda Murphy the Coxswain and the team's spiritual leader. There were thirteen boats in the race, split between two categories; traditional skiffs and all-Ireland one-design yawls. The Inver Colpa boat took off to a great start, with the four lads using their imposing strength to get out ahead of the other boats from the off. From that point on it was down to tactical coxing from Glenda and the fitness of the crew to hold the lead. Despite the surrounding beauty of the cliffs, birdlife and lighthouse, all focus was on winning the race. Having trained all summer, and following the disappointment of the Row around Rockabill Race the previous month, the four men put in a herculean effort to lead the race from start to finish. They left everything out there, Andy Grennan in particular. Inver Colpa clocked the fastest time in their category, but also the fastest time overall.

Whitehead is a beautiful town, a traditional holiday destination dating from Victorian times, with pretty seafront houses and a promenade. All involved in the event were invited back to the yacht club for food and drink. Although the team are all finely tuned athletes they relaxed and enjoyed all that the yacht club bar had to offer, well earned after the day’s endeavours. Following a minute’s silence to acknowledge Queen Elizabeth’s recent death, the winners medals were presented. Inver Colpa received the trophy, an engraved decanter. The trip home to Drogheda was long but the spirits were high.

The club look forward to returning to compete in the Islandmagee Challenge again next year and defend their title. All going to plan the club plans to enter two boats in 2023 with both men’s and women’s teams. Inver Colpa extend their sincere thanks to Whitehead Rowing Club for all their hospitality and a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Published in Coastal Rowing Team

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