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Irish Rowing News. Training and Preparation for Events

#Rowing: Fran Keane has been chosen as Operations Manager and Pathway Coordinator for Rowing Ireland. Keane comes from a strong Athlone rowing family. His father and uncles rowed for Athlone Boat club and after following the family tradition he went on to row for UCC and Cork Boat Club. He also had a year rowing in Galway. Having moved to Cork in 2002 Fran secured a job teaching in Presentation Brothers College in 2004 where he also had the role of Head Rowing Coach.

Over the past 14 years in this job, Fran has overseen the development of the schools rowing program to where it has nearly 100 boys participating. He has coached a number of winning crews at the Irish Championships as well as preparing athletes for international selection. Keane has coached successfully at all junior international levels: Home Internationals, Coupe de la Jeunesse, Junior European Championships and Junior World Championships.

For Rowing Ireland, he has been involved in a voluntary capacity as Lead Sweep Coach, Lead Junior Men’s Coach and Junior Lead Coach. “I am delighted to be joining the Rowing Ireland team at such an exciting time for Irish rowing and look forward to the challenge that this role has to offer,” he said after his appointment. Speaking about the appointment, the chair of the high-performance committee, Neville Maxwell, said: “Forward planning is key to our organisation, not only with targeting Tokyo (2020) but also preparing for Paris (2024). We believe that the appointment of Fran will fit perfectly with this strategy. Fran’s experience at domestic club level and with the junior team over the last number of years will hugely benefit Rowing Ireland as we build our clubs and crews in the upcoming years.”

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: The agm of Rowing Ireland was businesslike and brief – coming in under an hour.

 Neville Maxwell, the chair of the high performance committee, praised the “energy and enthusiasm” of high performance director Antonio Maurogiovanni. “He wants a system which is open and transparent,” he said.

 Maxwell said that there was a move away from lightweight rowing and it was essential to build a programme which would last. Finding new sources of income was very important.

 Leo Gibson replaced outgoing treasurer Dan Buckley, who has stepped down. The Old Collegians man spoke of the hope of drawing down Large Scale Sports Infrastructure grants.

 Rowing Ireland president Eamonn Colclough said the priority was to finance work on the National Rowing Centre, with the hope of replacing the slips and, perhaps, the buoyed course. Next in priority would be Lough Rinn and then the proposed new Blessington course.

 Colclough said that he hoped there was a big uptake on the package deal which will give Irish spectators a good way to travel to the World Rowing Championships in Linz in Austria in August/September. “I would love to hear The Fields of Athenry ring out over the waters in Linz,” he said.

 Rowing Ireland is preparing to facilitate clubs using Lough Rinn by taking over the insurance requirements asked for by Leitrim County Council. The Council will “spend hundreds of thousands of euro” on developing the course and surrounds, Colclough told the agm.

 The fixtures calendar for 2020 emerged in a very similar form to the one proposed. Erne Head moved to a week earlier than scheduled and will now take place on March 7th and the Castleconnell Sprint Regatta takes a similar step to May 9th. Carlow’s Dambuster Head is set to take place on  February 1st.

 Galway Regatta (June 6th) and Shandon Masters Regatta (August 15th) were late additions to the draft calendar put before delegates.  

Awards

President’s: Seamus Scully, Carlow

Connacht: Paul Gallen

Leinster: Gerry Conway, Frank Moore, Willie Ryan, Mick Carney, Andrew Coleman

Munster: Brian Sheppard

Ulster: Jeremy Johnston

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Rowing Ireland has received a commendation from the International Olympic Committee for its work in promoting women’s sport. The Irish governing body were awarded the “Women and Sport” Achievement Diploma in recognition of its “outstanding contribution to promoting the development and participation of women and girls in sport”.

The Get Going, Get Rowing programme has introduced big numbers of girls to rowing.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Michelle Carpenter has been chosen as the new chief executive of Rowing Ireland. She will succeed Hamish Adams who recently left the position to take up the role of CEO with Athletics Ireland. 

Carpenter has held a number of significant management positions during her career, including overseeing the development and management of the successful Get Going…Get Rowing programme.

In her early corporate career, Michelle spent eight years working in Europe, firstly at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, before moving to European Central Bank in Frankfurt in 1999 to  be part of the Euro 2002 information campaign.

Originally from Limerick, Michelle was one of the first registered female rowing members of Shannon Rowing Club, rowing in their first winning women’s championship crew of 1988.

Carpenter is currently working with the World Rowing development team on the Olympic Values Education programme. In 2017 she was selected by World Rowing to be a participant at the IOC Women in Leadership forum in Lausanne. 

Commenting on her new role, Carpenter said: “I am honoured to be appointed as CEO of Rowing Ireland it is an exciting time for our sport. Having been involved in Irish rowing for over 30 years, I am looking forward to contributing to the growth and success of the sport across Ireland in the future.

“I am passionate about our sport and supporting our clubs and volunteers for the future will be key to our organisation’s development, together with underpinning our successful High Performance, Get Going…Get Rowing and Coach Education programmes.

“2018 will be a very exciting year for Rowing Ireland with our international ‘Festival of Rowing’ commencing in July with the Irish Championships, leading into the Home Internationals and finishing with the prestigious Coupe de la Jeunesse.” 

Commenting on the new appointment, President of Rowing Ireland, Eamonn Colclough said: “Michelle has emerged from the extremely robust and intensive recruitment process which we conducted to source the best possible candidate. I congratulate her, the first woman to be appointed to the demanding role of CEO of Rowing Ireland. I am confident that she will build on the success we have enjoyed in recent years and provide dynamic leadership to drive further growth and success in the years to come.” 

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Rowing Ireland chief executive Hamish Adams is to leave his post to take over as chief executive of Athletics Ireland in May.

 Adams had done the job for five years, arriving after a time of disruption and steadying the ship. The sport expanded domestically and was very successful on the international stage. The New Zealander had been a rugby player and the academy manager of Munster Rugby. He took over the rowing post after serving as acting chief executive and then player services advisor with the Irish Rugby Union Players Association.

 Eamonn Colclough, the president of Rowing Ireland, said: “Hamish has worked tirelessly for our organisation and has delivered incredible success across all our strategic areas. Since joining Rowing Ireland, Hamish has been responsible for overseeing organisational change which has seen Rowing Ireland become one of Ireland’s most eminent sporting bodies. We are committed to ensuring further success for all our stakeholders and we will now undertake a robust recruitment process to find a suitable replacement for Hamish.” 

 Adams said: “While sorry to be leaving Rowing Ireland after five great years with the many great people I’ve had the privilege of working with and for, I’m excited by the new opportunity and challenge of leading Athletics Ireland. I am very proud of all that we have achieved during my tenure both in high performance and participation, from the delivery of an Olympic medal to the establishment of the Get Going…Get Rowing programme and I am confident that with the robust governance structures established, Rowing Ireland will continue to deliver further success.”

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Rushbrooke Rowing Club from Cobh will host the Irish Coastal Rowing Championships next August. It is the first such coastal event to be held under the auspices of Rowing Ireland.

 The decision to choose Rushbrooke was made at the inaugural annual delegate meeting of the new Rowing Ireland Coastal Rowing Division in Portlaoise.

 Rushbrooke submitted a detailed proposal to hold the championships at the National Rowing Centre in Cork and were given unanimous support. Delegates opted for the weekend of August 18th and 19th for the event.

 Ted McSweeney, the chairperson of Rushbrooke Rowing Club said: “This is the greatest honour to be bestowed upon our club. Our club has been in existence since the early 1900s, and although the original club ceased in the late 1960s when the original wooden clubhouse and boats were engulfed by a fire, in 1989, local residents decided to restart the club and agreed on using the Yawl class racing boat. Over the last 28 years, we have gone from strength to strength and have established ourselves as one of the top coastal rowing clubs in Cork.  

 “As a club, we are delighted at the opportunity to host the inaugural Irish Coastal Rowing Championship and will endeavour to deliver an event that will meet the superb standards that have been set over the past few years.  Even at this early stage, we have received immense support, both from the Coastal Rowing community and local organisations. We would like especially to thank the management team at the National Rowing Centre in Farran Woods, who have been exceptionally helpful and forthcoming in assisting us with our bid.  A new chapter in coastal rowing has begun and Rushbrooke Rowing Club will strive to maintain the high standard of regattas that we have been accustomed to. We look forward to welcoming all Coastal Rowers to Cork in 2018 and we can assure you of a Ceád Míle Fáilte.’

 Kieran Kerr, chairperson of the Rowing Ireland Coastal Division, said:  “On behalf of Rowing Ireland, I would like to congratulate Rushbrooke Rowing Club on a very professional bid. We look forward to an exciting inaugural Irish Coastal Rowing Championships.”

Published in Coastal Rowing

#Rowing: There is to be a new Coastal Division of Rowing Ireland. At a meeting of the RI board on Saturday, October 21st, the board unanimously acceded to a request from 20 of its affiliated clubs that it form a coastal division. Rowing Ireland has traditionally offered river (Olympic) rowing, and since May of this year has also offered offshore rowing. 

 Hamish Adams, Rowing Ireland CEO, said: “Having seen how successfully offshore rowing has been integrated into Rowing Ireland we believe that adding coastal rowing is a very positive step to expand our product offering and will permit Rowing Ireland to recruit members and develop rowing where river rowing is not possible.” 

 Rowing Ireland will run an Irish Coastal Rowing Championship in 2018, the venue and date of which will be agreed by the clubs at a later date. Kieran Kerr, the chair of the new Coastal Rowing Committee, said that the new coastal division will be club driven and will endeavour to raise the standard of coastal rowing through the provision of coach education and all the other services which Rowing Ireland provides.

Published in Coastal Rowing

#Tokyo2020 - Funding for Irish sailing and other watersports remains broadly unchanged in Sport Ireland’s allocations for National Governing Bodies in 2017 — though programmes encouraging women in rowing have received a boost.

However, the accompanying review of the Irish Olympic performance in Rio acknowledges that Ireland's medal target was not reached – raising questions of expectations for Tokyo 2020.

The report highlights that Ireland “does not fund sport seriously”, according to Irish Times sportswriter Johnny Watterson, who cites the absence of long-term funding in favour of annual, non-guaranteed allocations.

More than €20 million for sporting bodies and athletes, in line with last year’s allocations, was announced by Minister of State for Sport Patrick O’Donovan this week as Sport Ireland also published its review of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

The 2017 investment comprises €1.8 million in direct athlete investment; €7.2 million in high performance programme funding; €10.8 million in National Governing Bodies core funding; and €600,000 for the Women in Sport Programme.

The Irish Sailing Association (€323k), Rowing Ireland (€210k), Irish Surfing Association (€65k) and Irish Underwater Council (€60k) will get sums unchanged from 2016, though Canoeing Ireland sees a cut in its allocation by €10,000 (€205k to €195k).

Sailing (€18k) and surfing (€7,000) also see unchanged sums for their Women in Sport programmes, but Rowing Ireland receives a boost to €45,000 from €35,000 in 2016.

Sport Ireland highlights that more than 15,000 women and girls participated in Rowing Ireland’s ‘Get Going Get Rowing’ programme last year, while over 300 took part in the Irish Surfing Women in Sport initiative, and more than 9,000 availed of the Swim Ireland programme for female participation.

In allocations for high performance programmes, the ISA’s share rises by €100,000 to €735,000 for 2017, while Rowing Ireland sees an even bigger boost in its HP grant from €400,000 last year to €525,000.

Canoeing Ireland, however, sees its HP allocation cut by almost 40% to from €65,000 €40,000.

Welcoming the increase in sailing investment, ISA high performance director James O’Callaghan called for perspective on the figures involved.

“We’re pleased with the €100,000 increase but the truth of the matter is we started off the year with a €60,000 deficit because of the cost of [competing in] Rio. So really, it’s status quo for sailing,” he said.

Athlete investment

In direct athlete investment, 16 international athletes are awarded ‘Podium’ funding for 2017 under the International Carding Scheme.

In rowing, Rio Olympic medallists Gary and Paul O’Donovan, along with Sanita Puspure, will each receive €40,000 in Podium funding, while Rio’s Laser silver medallist Annalise Murphy is the only sailor to qualify for that funding level.

Sinead Lynch, Claire Lambe (€20k each), Mark O’Donovan, Shane O’Driscoll and Denise Walsh (€12k each) round out the rowing recipients in the 2017 funding round.

Among other sailing recipients, Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern each receive €20,000, Finn Lynch gets €12,000 and €16,000 goes to crew/transition athletes.

In canoeing and kayaking, Patrick O’Leary (para canoe), Tom Brennan, Liam Jegou, Jenny Egan and Michael Fitzsimon will each get €12,000 of International level funding.

Sailing ‘must diversify’

Meanwhile, Sport Ireland says its Rio Review provides a “blueprint” for campaigns heading into the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

In sailing, two of Ireland’s four classes competed in Rio “performed at or near expectations”, with the others cites for “credible results”.

The report adds: “Given it has been 36 years since Ireland last won an Olympic medal, this is an extremely exciting achievement and provides evidence of the success of the longer term strategy that ISA has been following for many years now.”

In its recommendations for sailing going forward, the report says work is underway “to diversify income to support the performance programme.

“In sports like sailing with significant capital needs, allocating funding on an annual basis is unhelpful. The sport and the athletes would be far more able to launch and deliver credible and performance based campaigns if funding was known over a longer period.”

However, the report also suggests that care must be taken by the ISA to remain within its budget allocation or “consider how difficult decisions might be made to invest in classes
with realistic chances of medalling” or other significant success.

Sailing would also benefit from more class competition within Ireland, the report adds.

“The review has identified the timescale to remedy the problems [within sailing],” said the ISA’s O’Callaghan. “But when are we going to see action to fix it?”

The picture for rowing is also less rosy, as Sport Ireland says “a lack of development structure and pathway is preventing the identification and progression of rowers to international
level”.

Despite that warning, Sport Ireland remains confident that “the current situation of recent history and success within this Olympic cycle represents a very strong position to be in.”

Consistency in training camps and post-training sessions is recommended by the report, which also suggests the use of biometric data to inform team performance.

The full Sport Ireland Rio Review is available as a PDF to read or download HERE.

Published in Tokyo 2020

#Rowing: Sarah Keane of Swim Ireland will get the rowing vote in the election for president of the Olympic Council of Ireland. The Rowing Ireland board chose Keane on the basis that she will address the governance problems which have been identified in the OCI. Dermot Henihan, a long-time rowing man and former president of Rowing Ireland, has been nominated for the post of OCI general secretary by Rowing Ireland and will be given this vote.  

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Rowing Ireland has announced two new appointments to the high performance coaching team.

 Dominic Casey, who coached Paul and Gary O’Donovan to silver in Rio while working on a temporary basis, becomes a full time coach for the four years to Tokyo 2020. In his new role as High Performance Coach, Dominic Casey will oversee and lead the development of the lightweight group.

 Casey said: “I am really looking forward to working with our group of talented lightweights and producing further international success.”

 Sean Casey also joins the high performance coaching team and will be tasked with heavyweight rowing development.

 Morten Espersen, High Performance Director, said: “Sean’s position is a temporary appointment until our final funding figures from Sport Ireland are confirmed early in 2017 but we believe Sean’s appointment is critical to lead the development of our heavyweights.”  

Published in Rowing
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