Castleconnell Boat Club travelled to Ghent, Belgium with a group of 27 rowers to compete in the 100th Anniversary of the May Ghent Regatta on May 11 and 12. The 2-day International Regatta is made up of the International Flemish Rowing Championships on Day 1 and the Ghent Regatta on Day 2. It is a very competitive regatta, with rowers from clubs from all over Europe taking part. Last year Castleconnell won the ‘City of Ghent Trophy’ for the best Junior Club and this year took home some great wins also.
On Saturday, during the International Flemish Rowing Championships Castleconnell’s Sarah Gilmore, Lauren O’Brien, Niamh Kiely and Norma Silke won the prestigious Junior 18 sweep 4- event.
Lauren O’Brien and Niamh Kiely also went on to take an impressive Silver in the Junior sweep pair on Day 1.
The four girls in the Junior 18 Four on Day 1 went on to take Gold in the Junior 18 Quadruple on day 2, winning by a margin of 2 seconds ahead of Belgium club Gentse RS in a strong field of 10 international crews.
The clubs younger Woman’s Junior 16 Quadruple (Tara Mulready, Jane O’Brien, Clara Leahy, Gaby Fitzgerald), came third in their event racing against a strong field and in a coxless quad for the first time on Day 2.
Ben Frohburg took home a great silver with his second place finish in the BM Lightweight 1X, racing above his age category in the BM category on Day 2.
Conor Mulready put in a great performance in the BM 1X event, making the final and finishing in 4th position.
One of the highlights of the weekend was the silver won by the Men’s Junior 16 8+ (Isaac Byrne-Delimata, Joseph Cunnungham, Rory Moore, Joe McGrath, Eoin Gilmartin, Thor Byrne-Delimata, Robert Lyons, Aodhan Sweeney, and Cox Tadhg Cunniffe). The eights races are always highly contested at international regattas and the Castleconnell boys raced a cracking race , narrowly missing out on the gold.
Competing also for the club were Ciara Kelly and Heather Bradshaw in the Jun 18 2X in their first International Regatta and Diarmuid Martin & Jack O’Brien in the BM 2X. Ciaran Bowen, Jack O’Brien, Cormac Feely and Ben Frohburg in the BM 4- and Stevie Cunningham in the Jun 16 Eight on Day 1. Ciara Kiely and Joseph Cunningham also had great performances in their single scull events.
‘I’m thrilled at how well all the club crews performed and represented themselves in Ghent. The weekend of international racing has given our club crews some great race experience, especially with so many local regattas cancelled due to weather. The weekend in Ghent will have helped to prepare them as the season heats up at home in the lead up to the Irish Championships.’ Said Castleconnell President Pat Kiely.
Other noted results from the weekend:
1st in Men’s Junior 16 2- (Isaac Byrne-Delimata & Joe McGrath)
2nd in the BM 4- (Ben Frohburg, Jack O’Brien, Cormac Feely, Ciaran Bowen)
21st/43 crews Woman’s J16 2X (Jane O’Brien, Ciara Kiely)
Meanwhile, the 2019 Castleconnell Sprint Regatta takes place in on Saturday May 18, on the river Shannon at Castleconnell Boat Club. The regatta takes place over a 500m, fully-buoyed, 5-lane course and is part of the Waterways Ireland ‘Pathway to Row’ Regatta Series.
This promises to be a lightning, fast day of racing. Castleconnell have huge entry of 546 crews entered in total compared to 481 last year!
With over 800 athletes taking part in events from Junior 12 to 80+ age categories. It is a great regatta for all experience levels and a great family day out!
This year during the regatta, the final of Castleconnell’s ‘Corporate Row Challenge’ will also take place. Teams from companies around Limerick & Clare (Regeneron, Wyeth Nutrition, GECAS, AMCS and BD) have put together crews of Eight novice rowers and have been training with Castleconnell for this unique team building event.
Proceeds from the ‘Corporate Row Challenge’ are going to support families with the expenses and levies imposed on Junior rowers in the Club that make Irish international crews, the costs of which can be significant. Semi-finals take place at the club on Friday May 17th with the two final crews getting to row in the final during the Sprints Regatta on Saturday. This has been a great team-building event so far, full of good-natured competition and promises to be a great final!