|Posted on December 31, 2014 at 6:05 AM|
2014 was yet another successful and memorable year for Skibbereen Rowing Club. Athletes from the club competed at both International and domestic level with impressive results throughout. The Club won the Grand League Series for the 5th year in a row as well as bringing their tally of National Titles to 146. Eleven athletes represented their country at international events, including the World Rowing Championships putting Skibbereen and West Cork on the map, both at national and international level. The Club held its regatta in Farranwood at the National Rowing Center in April over two days which now has become the premier regatta on the Irish rowing calendar.On the home front the Ilen river was a hive of activity throughout the year with up to 8000 boat launchings in one of the best rowing waterways in Ireland.
Grand League Series
This years Grand League Series comprised of three regattas, including the club’s own regatta which was held over two days at the National Rowing Centre in Farranwood. Dublin Metropolitan regatta was held in Blessington, Co. Wicklow while Cork City regatta was also held in Farranwood. Skibbereen Rowing Club were the overall winners of the series in 2014 for the 5th year in a row and all the athletes of the club put in good performances at these regattas to continue the clubs domination of the league since it started 5 years ago. Skibbereen were overall winners of the womens division 1 title as well.
Skibbereen rowing club increased their number of Championship titles to 146 in early July. Gary O Donovan and Shane O Driscoll were dominant in both the senior and intermediate mens double sculls, winning both events by comfortable margins. Niamh Casey, Emily Hegarty, Louise O Sullivan and Ellen McCarthy took the womens junior 18 quadscull title. Niamh, Emily and Ellen were joined by Aoife Casey in the womens junior 18 coxless four to record another great win.
Many other athletes put in good performances throughout the weekend, just missing out on medals. There was also great success at underage level, a promising feat for the future. Adam Davis, John Whooley, James Davis, Denis O Sullivan and cox Orlaith Keating took gold in the mens junior 15 coxed quadscull. Aoibhinn Keating, Lauryn McCarthy, Alicia O’ Neill and Brianna O Shea were coxed by Orlaith Keating in the womens junior 14 coxed quadscull, winning gold in what was the closest race of the day.
Memorial Paulo D’Aloja
Paul O Donovan travelled to Piediluco in Italy with the Irish team to compete at the Memorial Paulo D’Aloja regatta where he competed in the mens lightweight single scull. The Skibbereen man finished fourth in the A final on day 1 of the event. He then went on to improve on this performance and took bronze in lightweight single on the second day. This was a good start to his international campaign for the 2014 season.
European Rowing Championships, Belgrade, Serbia
Paul O Donovan also travelled to the Eurpoean Rowing Championships in Belgrade. He put in good performances throughout the weekend to finish 2nd in the C final and 14th overall at the event.
World Cup, Aiguebelette
The club had two athletes competing for Ireland at the 2nd World Cup regatta which was held in Aigubelette, France. Paul O Donovan competed in the mens lightweight single scull while Denise Walsh was joined by Claire Lambe in the womens lightweight double scull. Paul improved on his European performance, winning the B final in this event, giving him a 7th place overall . Denise and Claire were rowing in their first international event together. They had to go through the repechage at this event but gained confidence throughout the regatta. They finished 5th in the B final and 11th place overall.
World U23 Rowing Championships
This years World Under 23 Championships were held in Varese, Italy. The club was well represented at the event with four Skibbereen athletes chosen to represent Ireland at the event. Paul O Donovan finished in 4th place, just outside the medals in the lightweight mens single sculls. Gary O Donovan and Shane O Driscoll improved on last years placing, finishing 10th out of 19 boats. Denise put in a good performance in her heat of the women’s lightweight single scull but had to withdraw from the event after this race due to illness.
Homes International Regatta
This years home international regatta took place in Ireland. Fintan Mccarthy took gold in the mens junior double scull while Dylan McCarthy finished 3rd in the mens junior 18 quadscull. Niamh Casey and Ellen McCarthy finished 3rd in the womens junior 18 coxless pair and 2nd in the womens junior 18 coxed 8. This was all four athletes first time representing Ireland and they will hope to build on this experience for the coming season.
Coupe De La Jeunesse
Emily Hegarty formed part of the junior 18 quadscull which was chosen to represent Ireland at the Coupe De La Jeunesse which was held in France. This was also Emily’s first international event. The crew competed in the B final on both days of the event, gaining valuable experience .
World University Championships
Gary O Donovan, Shane O Driscoll, Orla Hayes and Shelly Dineen travelled to the University Championships in France. Shane and Gary competed in the lightweight mens double scull finishing in 6th place overall. Orla Hayes just missed out on a medal in the lightweight womens double scull, finishing in 4th place while Shelly Dineen raced the B final of the womens coxless fours.
World Rowing Championships
Denise Walsh and Paul O Donovan competed at their first Senior World Championships in Amsterdam this year. DeniseWalsh once again rowed with Claire Lambe in the lightweight womens double scull at this event. The duo were unlucky with their side of the draw and found themselves racing the C final. They ended the regatta with a 14th place finish out of 21 boats.
Paul O Donovan put in another strong performance at the World Rowing Championships as he grew in confidence as the year went on. He ensured himself a spot in the A final of the lightweight mens single scull at the World Championships having safely come through his heat, quarter final and semi final. Paul’s sprint to the line in the final gave him a 4th place finish, a great achievement for him at this level.
Overall it was a very busy year for the club with athletes putting Skibbereen and West Cork on the map both at home and abroad.
These results do not come easily and all the athletes put in a lot of work throughout the year. Credit is also due to the coaches who help them to achieve these results , to the parents who support them at different events and to everyone who supports the club a special thank you. Athletes are aiming high for the coming season and it is hoped that the club can achieve even more for the year of 2015.