With the long domestic rowing season finally coming to a close, all attention within St. Michael’s Rowing Club is now firmly fixed on the National Championships, taking place in Inniscarra, Co. Cork next weekend from the July 12-14. St. Michael’s have entered over 50 crews into the Championships, ranging from the youngest competitors racing in the Junior 14 categories, for many of whom this will be their first time racing at the highest level domestically, to the Masters events, who have raced many a Championship Regatta.
The racing will kick off for St. Michael’s on Friday Morning with Éabha Benson and Chris Kirwan looking to make their mark in the very tightly contested field of the Women’s Junior Double before being followed shortly after by the Men’s Intermediate Coxed Four of Jonny Cuddy, Ryan Spelman, Declan O’Connor and Diarmuid Hartney coxed by Caireann-Rose O’Gorman, eager to use the experience of this race to put them in good stead before also competing in the Men’s Club Coxed Four.
The Junior 16 men’s crews will then get a chance to compete in the ever-competitive Junior 16 Men’s Coxed Quad, with St. Michael’s having two crews of Donnchadh deBrúin, Ivan Cotter, David Foley-Kiely and Paul McInerney coxed by Caireann-Rose O’Gorman as well as their clubmates of Matthew Kemp, Ian Neville, Michael Spooner and Aidan Kearney coxed by Lisa Ryan all vying for a podium finish in one of the tightest fields in the Championship.
In the afternoon the Junior 15 Women’s crew of Abigail Cullinane, Rachel Connolly, Iris McInerney and Sarah McDonagh coxed by Lisa Ryan as well as Ella Page, Sarah O’Connor, Fia Nolan and Elena Foley coxed by Siún O’Keeffe will take to the water to compete in the Women’s Junior 15 Coxed Quads before joining forces later in the regatta to take part in the Women’s Junior 15 Octuple, a boat that has had considerable success for these girls earlier in the season.
The Women’s Junior 14 scullers of Abigail Cullinane, Rachel Connolly and Iris McInerney will have to make a quick turnaround from their earlier races in the quads to row in the Women’s Junior 14 Singles. Finally, the Women’s Junior Coxless Four of Megan O’Byrne, Chris Kirwan, Ellen Murphy and Éabha Benson will be looking to aim high and continue their successful run of form having won silver medals at the National School’s Regatta at Dorney Lake in the UK six weeks ago.
On the Saturday, the Men’s Junior Coxed Four of Ben France, Mark English, Chris Kemp and Ronan O’Gorman, coxed by Caireann Rose O’Gorman will be looking to cause an upset in an event usually dominated by crew from the North. Éabha Benson will also compete in the Women’s Junior Single, an event sure to produce some fast races. The Junior 14 Men’s scullers of Fionn McDonnell and Hugh O’Gorman will also get a taste of championship racing while Alice McKeon competes in the Women’s J16 Single.
The Men’s Junior 15 Coxed Quad of Matthew Kemp, Aidan Kearney, Cormac Benson and Shane Rafferty coxed by Lisa Ryan will be looking to add some more medals to the St. Michael’s medal tally. The Women’s Junior Eight of Megan O’Byrne, Chris Kirwan, Elisa McInerney, Ellen Murphy, Kate McGann, Kate Storan, Éabha Benson and Alanna King coxed by Lily O’Keeffe will be looking to perform in a small but fiercely competitive field.
The final day of the Championships will see David Foley-Kiely, Ian Neville, Paul McInerney and Donnchadh deBrúin compete in the massive field of Men’s Junior 16 Single. Megan O’Byrne and Ellen Murphy as well as Kate Storan and Elisa McInerney will compete in the Women’s Junior Pair. Ella Page Laoise Phillips Sarah McDonagh and Kate Foley-Kiely coxed by Lisa Ryan as well as Abigail Cullinane, Rachel Connolly, Iris McInerney and Sarah O’Connor coxed by Siún O’Keeffe will round off their weekend competing in the Women’s Junior 14 Coxed Quad. Declan O’Connor and Ryan Spelman will compete in the last race of the day, the Men’s Intermediate Double.
A well-earned break will be had by all, making good use of six weeks rest and recuperation before the season will start again in September. However, for some, the season has been extended to include international duty. Chris Kirwan will compete in the Women’s Junior Double at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in Corgeno, Italy from 2nd - 4th August.