10,000 rowing fans expected for competition finals

An estimated 10,000 coastal rowing enthusiasts and tourists will descend on a west Cork village next weekend for national championship finals.

Organisers of the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships are making final preparations for the event at Broadstrand, Courtmacsherry.

The programme carries 38 race categories, culminating with the prestigious Senior Men’s All-Ireland. The host club is hoping to make a successful defence of its title.

Formed 21 years ago, the club hosted the Cork County Coastal Rowing Championships last year and that was the catalyst that secured its selection as all-Ireland hosts this year.

The club has left nothing to chance although, not surprisingly, there is one item outside of its control — the weather.

The event gets under way on Friday evening with a fireworks display over Broadstrand Bay.

“Our guest of honour is Micheál Martin,” said spokesman Brian Whelton. “He opened the first ICRF All-Ireland in 1992 in Passage. He also has strong connections with Courtmacsherry and launched one of our boats, the ‘Paddy B’, named after our life president, Paddy Barry.”

The Kerry Seine Boat race on Saturday should prove to be a great spectacle. The highlight of the weekend will be the Senior Men’s and Senior Ladies’ races on Sunday.

A one-way traffic system will operate around the local roads and car parks will be manned throughout the weekend.

Broadstrand is set to resemble an Olympic village and the Courtmacsherry Rowing Club has a simple message for everyone: “Even if you have never seen rowing in your life, never been involved or don’t even know what it is all about, come to Courtmacsherry, we have plenty of entertainment for the whole family.”

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