The new format involves a series of time trial Head of the River races at the National Rowing Centre in Cork. Skibbereen Rowing Club are the host club organising the races.
Pictured above ~ Richard Coakley, Skibbereen Rowing Club, who has competed at World Championships and the Olympics, will compete in Cork this weekend
Rowing Ireland Coach Development Officer, Pat McInerney explained, “The new racing format involves single sculls, double sculls and pairs all in separate races for both men and women. The event will also host a race for all grades and boat classes outside of the national event to broaden the appeal to all rowers.”
“The single scullers for the national event are drawn from clubs across the country and involve separate time trial races in men’s, women’s and junior categories.
“There will still be a good race off for the senior and junior titles for men and women with the host club, Skibbereen, providing some strong contenders.
“In the women’s race there are forty boats led off by Carrick-on-Shannon’s Dympna Kelly and Sheila Clavin from St Michael's. The host club Skibbereen has a strong women’s entry of four scullers also. The seniors are followed by a strong field of intermediate and junior scullers.”
The men’s race has an impressive entry of one hundred and twenty boats. They will be led off by Sean Jacob of Old Collegians, a former international heavyweight sculler who will be followed by Richard Coakley (Skibbereen Rowing Club) who was part of the Olympic team in 2008.
There will be an interesting re-run in the men’s sculls race with some of the contenders from last weekend’s national trail racing taking part. Sean Jacob (Old Collegians) won that race by a mere three seconds from Skibbereen’s Mark O’Donovan. However, the local man will be eager to reverse the outcome on home waters.
Others challenging for the top senior spot will be reigning intermediate champion, Peter Hanily (St Michael's Rowing Club, Limerick) and the very promising junior and current novice champion, Turlough Hughes (Kings Hospital School). Reigning junior champion Paul O’Donovan of Skibbereen should also feature strongly.
Skibbereen Club PRO, Violet Hayes, is “delighted with the strong entry and finally expects good weather this weekend following two cancellations in October and November”.
In the doubles Head there will be strong challenges from current under 23 team members Niall Kenny of NUIG and Peter Hanily of St Michaels going off first ahead of a strong club field behind them. In the women’s race the current National Senior champions from Limerick face off the Intermediate champions from Derry.
The National Head race series continues with a fours race in Limerick on Feb 6th and an eights race in Galway on March 27th next. Through the summer months there will be a series of Grand League regattas at six major venues around the country, north and south. The new competition calendar also has two National Championship regattas, one in July and one in September.”Click this link for Irish Rowing details
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