St. Michael’s had considerable success across the board at the recent National Rowing Championships in Inniscarra, Co. Cork, rounding off an impressive season which also saw a host of overseas wins as well as silverware being picked up by a number of younger crews at a number of domestic events.
The youngest crew to get their first taste of championship success were the Women’s Junior 15 Octuple of Abigail Cullinane, Rachel Connolly, Iris McInerney, Sarah McDonagh, Ella Page, Sarah O’Connor, Fia Nolan and Elena Foley, coxed by Siún O’Keeffe, ended their season on a high by adding another medal to their tally following a winning streak at several regattas during the season.
The Junior Women’s Squad also produced a host of successes included the Women’s Junior Eight of Megan O’Byrne, Chris Kirwan, Elisa McInerney, Ellen Murphy, Kate McGann, Kate Storan, Éabha Benson and Alana King who finished third in their final, earning them a bronze medal, a result also achieved by the Women’s Junior Four of Megan O’Byrne, Chris Kirwan, Ellen Murphy and Éabha Benson. Éabha continued the trend of achievement among the junior women by winning a silver medal in the Junior Women’s Single event.
However, the biggest success of the weekend was perhaps the Men’s Club Four of Jonny Cuddy, Declan O’Connor, Ryan Spelman and Diarmuid Hartney, coxed by Caireann-Rose O’Gorman who won their event and were crowned national champions by the tightest of margins, just beating N.U.I Galway by a third of a second. The verdict ultimately required a photo finish to decide the winner. This was St. Michael’s second national championship title in two years, a promising trend after several years of drought at the pinnacle event of the domestic season.
These impressive results earned many of these young athletes the right to compete for their country at the upcoming Home International Regatta at Strathclyde in Scotland on July 27. Diarmuid Hartney and Ronan O’Gorman will compete as part of the Men’s Junior Sweep Team. Ellen Murphy, Megan O’Byrne and Caireann-Rose O’Gorman will compete as part of the Junior Women’s Sweep Team while Éabha Benson will compete as part of the Junior Women’s Sculling Team.
Aidan McEvoy of St. Michael’s will also coach the Women’s Sweep Squad. Chris Kirwan will compete in the Junior Women’s Double at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in Corgeno, Italy from 2nd-4th August. Orla McEvoy was selected to coach the Women’s Junior Sculling Team, meaning two St. Michael’s coaches have been trusted to offer their expertise to aspiring international crews.
Captain Brian Richardson reflects on the successes that the club had during the year and commends the athletes for their efforts: “The early mornings in darkness, the training in wind and rain, the tired bodies falling into bed after tough sessions,” he says, “are all worth it to compete at your best & that’s what all our crews did at the Championships. I’m very proud of the rowing successes this season including the many green jerseys for the juniors. A ringing endorsement of our clubs training and coaching programme.”
While the current athletes will take a much needed break before the season gears back up in September, St. Micahel’s will host a series of learn to row camps from Monday July 29th to Thursday August 1st, Tuesday 6th August to Friday 9th August, Monday 12th August to Thursday 15th August and Monday 19th August to Thursday 22nd August. We hope to see many aspiring national champions (and maybe future Olympians!) there!