Rowing: Kerry Head of the River back after seven years

More good news for Munster rowing: The Kerry Head of the River returns after a seven-year absence. 

The event has been included in the domestic calendar after the cancellation of Galway Head. Killorglin Rowing Club will run the event on March 11, headed by former Irish international rower Monika Dukarska.

Last Saturday, the Cork HOR kickstarted the domestic calendars on a beautiful, calm day at Cork Marina.

The time trial was the first competitive event of 2017 for many clubs, with Dublin’s Commercial RC covering the 3000m distance in an 9 minutes 47.6 seconds — 20 seconds faster than the second-placed local Shandon/Lee composite crew.

Dublin University Ladies Boat Club were the quickest women’s eight on the day.

The attendance of Rio Olympians Gary O’Donovan and Sanita Puspure, who presented prizes, undoubtedly helped draw what was an encouragingly large junior entry.

Puspure said: “The standard of rowing on display here is very high and it is great to see so many young rowers developing into strong athletes while representing their clubs.”

The Cork rower, originally from Latvia, said these timed events are extremely useful as markers for athletes to gauge their fitness levels and overall performance as the season progresses, noting that she took part in many herself, both before and during her time in the Irish squad.

The HOR season continues this weekend with two events on Saturday.

The Lagan Scullers Head takes place on the River Lagan in Belfast, run entirely by the Lagan Scullers Club.

Being a sculling club (rowing with two oars per crew member), this HOR will not offer sweep events (one oar per person), but this does not seem to have affected entries as 165 crews have signed up to take part, from juniors to masters, as well as recreational and para events.

Meanwhile, in Wexford, the New Ross HOR will run from St Mullins to New Ross over a mammoth 18km distance.

The event, once known as the New Ross Marathon, hasn’t attracted as large an entry as before, with a small number of crews due to take on the challenging distance, perhaps due to the fact that Rowing Ireland trials are also taking place on the same day. Boats will be left off at 10.30am with 30-second gaps.

The open trials for junior and senior athletes take place at the National Rowing Centre in Cork and the relatively new top class facility at Lough Rynn on Saturday and Sunday. Clubs from all around the country will be represented.


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