World Cup heroes target title

Declan Colley

Skibbereen's Timmy Harnedy and Eugene Coakley, gold medal winners in the lightweight four crew last weekend, will race in the senior double sculls and will be among the favourites to take another championship title.

Much of the weekend interest, however, will focus on the Men's Senior eights, in which seven crews are entered, including a Lady Victoria BC/QUB BC composite, NUI Galway RC, a Cork BC/Skibbereen RC/UCD BC composite, Neptune RC, Garda Siochána BC, the holders Commercial RC (Dublin) and Lady Elizabeth BC.

Commercial, with four Henley Royal Regatta winners in their boat, are favourites to win and, with the likes of Albert Maher and Sean Jacob in their crew, will be hard to beat.

The main opposition is likely to come from the NUI Galway RC crew which features four who have won the Visitors Cup at Henley, while the other four were beaten finalists in the Students Cup at Henley.

The Galway crew are known for their fighting spirit and will not give an inch to the holders in a race which has all the ingredients of a classic.

The Cork/Skibbereen/UCD composite have an outside chance of taking the big pot with the likes of John Whooley in the boat, while Irish Olympian Gearóid Towey will be part of the crew in the Neptune boat.

In the Women's Senior eights final, the Bluecoat Club/Commercial RC composite are a very experienced crew and should win, but UCD BC, recent winners at Women's Henley, should give the composite a great race.

The Men's Intermediate eight should be a great final between Cork BC, QUB BC, St Michaels RC, NUI Galway RC and Neptune RC, as will the Women's eights between UCD BC, NUI Galway RC A and B crews, DU BC and QUB BC.

There are seven crews in the Men's Junior eights St. Joseph's College RC (holders), Commercial RC (Dublin), Coláiste Iognáid RC A and B, RBAI BC, Methodist College Belfast BC and St Michael's RC, and this should also be a very closely fought title.

Unfortunately, Ireland's World Championship single sculler Sinead Jennings is suffering from a rib injury and cannot compete, but among the rising stars of Irish women's rowing to watch out for are multiple Junior Champion Orla Hayes, who is competing at senior level for the first time, as well as former senior sculling champion Siobhán Jacob (Commercial RC) and Heather Boyle (Tribesman RC).

The Women's Junior eights between Enniskillen RC, Clonmel RC, Galway RC, Cork BC, Methodist College Belfast BC, Carlow RC and Coláiste Iognáid RC is also expected to be a hard-fought affair.

Racing begins this morning at 8am with the first session of finals from noon to 1.30pm, while the second session is from 5.40pm to 6.30pm.

Tomorrow, the first session of finals begin at 11.40am to 1pm.

The second and last session of finals will take place between 5.20pm and 6.50pm. This will includes the Men's and Women's Senior eights and Men's Junior eights.

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