CORK women rowers are basking in glory today following a fantastic weekend of rowing in Italy.
News began to filter through on Saturday that the ladies were doing well, and this was confirmed when Ireland won gold, and then silver, at the 32nd Paolo d’Aloja international memorial regatta, which took place at the Italian Rowing Federation's training base in Piediluco, Italy.
The first was a fabulous gold for Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska, a dominant victory in heavyweight double sculls, ahead of the home team.
From the quiet location of our own National Rowing Centre in Farran, this pairing was hatched and trained across the winter, and then went and took a gold on their first competitive outing as crew-mates.
Then to delight Sanita Puspure won a wonderful silver in women's heavyweight single sculls (where Ukraine won), a deserved medal for Sanita, after injuries caused so much agony for her at recent international events.
The success continued yesterday as Rowing Ireland's women won three bronze medals on the last day of the competition.
These went to Skibbereen's Emily Hegarty (19), who also rows with UCC, who won bronze in heavyweight women's single sculls, Cork-based Sanita, who won bronze with Killorglin’s World Coastal Rowing Champion, Monika Dukarska in the double sculls, and UCC Rowing Club's Aifric Keogh, who won bronze along with Aileen Crowley in the heavyweight pairs.
Meanwhile, the Irish University Championhips were a great success at the National Centre on Friday, and in a lucky twist the cancellation of Skibbereen Regatta at the centre on Saturday and yesterday, meant the heavily-committed Dominic Casey (Skibbereen Rowing Club coach and Rowing Ireland head coach) could instead make the trip out to Italy and help guide this wonderful Irish medal smash as all five rowers representing us medalled.
In other rowing news, Paul and Gary O'Donovan and Mark O'Donovan and Shane O'Driscoll (all of Skibbereen Rowing Club) have returned hom following three months of training Australia and New Zealand, pitching themselves against the best on offer there.
Five medals for five representatives in Italy... a wonderful and promising start to the international regatta season.