The first World Cup event of the rowing season began yesterday in Belgrade. Having wintered together in Australia and New Zealand, two Skibbereen double-acts now face very different challenges. Gary and Paul O’Donovan are on top of the world to be shot down, while Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan must summon the appetite to survive the biggest test of their careers.
The National Rowing Centre was tranquil as the water on sun-kissed Inniscarra Lake yesterday with Ireland’s top rowers putting on a united front to launch the international regatta season and kickstart new Rowing Ireland chief executive Michelle McElligott Carpenter’s reign.
Paul and Gary O’Donovan’s bid to win another Olympic rowing medal, in Tokyo in 2020, is being jeopardised by a shortage in funding that has left the Skibbereen pair making do with a four-year old boat.
Denise Walsh and Aoife Casey continued a remarkable run of success for Rowing Ireland with a win in the London Metropolitan Regatta last weekend, taking the top spot in the Elite Championship double sculls at Dorney Lake. Monika Dukarska of Killorglin Rowing Club also took the title in the women’s single sculls. A total of fourteen Irish clubs were represented at the event.
As the Irish assault in Racice last Friday began, another positive development for Irish rowing was emerging at home; it was announced that Antonio Maurogiovanni had been confirmed as Rowing Ireland’s new High Performance Director, succeeding Morten Espersen who resigned earlier this year.
It’s going to be a busy weekend in Limerick with almost 500 crews from over 70 schools across the country travelling to O’Briens Bridge for Sunday’s Irish Schools Regatta, which follows the Limerick Regatta at the same venue on Saturday.