Rowing elite target pots at Cork showpiece

A bumper weekend of racing is in store in Cork as the 2017 Irish Rowing Championships take place at the National Rowing Centre from tomorrow through to Sunday. 

The event will showcase some of the best racing Ireland has to offer with 1049 crews competing in 264 races.

Many of our high performance athletes will compete for the competing ‘pots’, including European Champions Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan, Olympic silver medalists Gary and Paul O’Donovan, as well as fellow Olympians Sanita Puspure and Claire Lambe and European silver medallist Denise Walsh.

The National Rowing Centre will welcome 60 clubs, including Waterville and Flesk Valley who will compete at the Championships for the first time, as well as a reformed Newry Rowing Club.

The championships are Ireland’s premier annual water sports event and will be attended by over 3,000 competitors and up to 10,000 spectators and coaches from all over the country across the three days.

Tomorrow, there will be a presentation to the 2017 Rowing Ireland Grand League winners Commercial Rowing Club, who won both men’s and women’s Division 1 titles. Cork’s Shandon Boat Club took both of the Division Two titles.

Meanwhile, as the senior high performance team return from World Cup III in Lucerne, another Rowing Ireland team prepare to depart for the Under 23 World Championships which take place next week from July 19-23 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

UCD have four athletes travelling: David O’ Malley and Shane Mulvaney, who compete together in a lightweight men’s pair, as well as Shane O’Connell and Andrew Goff, who compete in a quadruple scull.

Commercial Rowing Club’s Niall Beggan and UCC’s Stephen O’Connor make up the remainder of this quad, while Skibbereen brothers Fintan and Jake McCarthy will race in the lightweight men’s double sculls. Ireland coach Dominic Casey will travel with the team along with Paul Thornton of UCC.

The younger athletes will gain plenty of motivation from their senior teammates who returned from Lucerne this week with more medals – Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll taking another gold in the lightweight men’s pair, with the O’Donovan brothers claiming bronze.

The Under 23 squad will look to continue the tremendous momentum Irish rowing enjoys at the moment and make their own mark on the world stage.

Out of the 17 athletes that competed at last year’s joint 2016 World Championships (Junior/U23/Senior), all Irish crews finished in the top 12, including Paul O’Donovan’s historic gold medal and a number of fourth and fifth positions.

The lightweight men’s pair (O’ Malley and Mulvaney), were fourth in last year’s event and will have a medal firmly in their sights on this occasion.

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