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Intense Battles In Portmagee At 2020 Irish Offshore Rowing Championships

28th September 2020
Host club Portmagee Rowing Club El Nino with David Hussey coxing, Aoife Lynch at stroke, Cliona Murphy 3rd, rachel Devane 2nd and Sorcha Lynch at bow Host club Portmagee Rowing Club El Nino with David Hussey coxing, Aoife Lynch at stroke, Cliona Murphy 3rd, rachel Devane 2nd and Sorcha Lynch at bow

Coastal rowing is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, with Ireland at the forefront — and this showed in the competitive atmosphere at the Irish Offshore Rowing Championships, writes David Hussey.

Portmagee Rowing Club El Nino in South Kerry hosted the event on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 September. Usually a single-day affair, the senior A-grade races were spread out over the weekend to abide by current public health guidelines.

Heats were needed in most events, with the highlight on Saturday being the women’s quad final — featuring a packed field of 12 boats on the starting line.

Boats lined up on the Portmagee slip at the 2020 Irish Offshore Rowing ChampionshipsBoats lined up on the Portmagee slip at the 2020 Irish Offshore Rowing Championships

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, reigning champions Killorglin — featuring Olympic rower Monika Dukarska — made it three in a row in this event, and then two of the crew went on to win the doubles contest.

The mixed doubles also was an intense battle with a novel pairing of Kealan Mannix and his sister Alyssa taking the gold for Rosscarbery.

On Sunday, the standout performances came from the Myross/Castletownshend composite in the quad. Stung by last year's defeat due to a poor start, the Cork crew spent 12 months waiting to avenge their loss. They exploded off the start line and established an early lead which they held all the ways around the course.

The men’s single featured an intense battle between John Harrington from the Galley Flash club and Kealan Mannix of Rosscarbery. Kealan did just enough in the last part of the race to forge ahead and claim a second gold.

Aerial view of Portmagee in South Kerry which hosted the Irish Offshore Rowing Championships this past weekendAerial view of Portmagee in South Kerry which hosted the Irish Offshore Rowing Championships this past weekend

Monika Dukarska dominated the women’s solo with an explosive start, and Donegal Bay came from behind to record a famous victory in the men’s doubles.

Running any sports event in these times can be very challenging due to the coronavirus guidelines. The athletes have to compete in an isolated environment to keep them safe, and while 100 spectators are allowed at this present time, the club felt it best to ask that no patrons attend this event.

Portmagee Rowing Club El Nino wish to thank all the voluntary help that they received from the community in Portmagee; the fishermen who allowed the club to move their boats and fishing gear to give full use of the slip all weekend; the safety boat crews and boats; the help and support from other traditional rowing clubs in South Kerry; and also all stewards and helpers who freely gave their time.

Templenoe Rowing Club’s 214 boat with Gerard van Deventer coxing, Isobel van Deventer, Corina van Deventer, Heather O’Donoghue and Helen HarveyTemplenoe Rowing Club’s 214 boat with Gerard van Deventer coxing, Isobel van Deventer, Corina van Deventer, Heather O’Donoghue and Helen Harvey

The club would like to thank the members of An Garda Siochana for all their help up to and during the weekend; Kerry County Council for cleaning down the slip; and all the local businesses who supported this regatta.

It is onwards and upwards for our sport and we know that like all sports, we will have to continue to restrict our numbers of competitors and spectators at our events until this pandemic has passed.

To all fellow clubs, Portmagee Rowing Club El Nino gives thanks for attending and making this a superb weekend — and all look forward to next year and competing in the championships in Bantry, Co Cork.

Published in Rowing, Coastal Rowing
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