WITH medals accumulated across the summer months, and of course Olympic qualifications in the bag, it’s now the turn of Irish rowers to take on the 2021 World Rowing U23 Championships.
And it’s a competition where the progression of the Irish will be watched not just from home, but by our international competition, as Ireland continues to impress on the water.
The rise has been steadily building for a decade, until we have become a force to be reckoned with, especially in lightweight rowing, where coach Dominic Casey has been orchestrating the success, even before he joined Rowing Ireland with Skibbereen Rowing Club.
And so many successful Irish rowers have come through the ranks of Skibbereen Rowing Club. Who can forget the exploits of Paul O’Donovan and Gary O’Donovan at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where they captured our imaginations and won silver.
And we now have our eye on the prize for next month’s Tokyo Olympics, where we have realistic expectations to bag gold this time.
Ireland brought home five medals from the most recent competition, World Rowing Cup II, last month.
Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy (both from Skibbereen) won gold in the Lightweight Men’s Sculls. Ronan Byrne and Philip Doyle won silver in the Men’s Double, Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley won silver in the Women’s Pair, Lydia Heaphy of Skibbereen won silver in the Lightweight Women’s Sculls, and Sanita Puspure won bronze in the Women’s Single Sculls.
Nine Irish crews competed and among them were some younger rowers who have been impressing on the international stage.
Jack Dorney, Alex Byrne, John Kearney and Ross Corrigan competed in the Men’s Four B Final at those Worlds, finishing ninth overall.
And because of their youth, those four again compete for Ireland at the upcoming World Rowing U23 Championships, where their previous outing will stand to them.
The event runs from July 7 to 11 in Racice, Czech Republic, and the crews who will take part were announced by Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director Antonio Maurogiovanni.
And it’s is littered with impressive Cork rowers.
The BM4- crew will comprise of Jack Dorney of Shandon BC, Alex Byrne of UCC Rowing Club (formerly of Shandon BC), John Kearney of UCC RC (formerly of Cork Boat Club), and Ross Corrigan of Queens in Belfast.
The BM4+ crew features Finn O’Reilly of Skibbereen Rowing Club, Andrew Sheehan of Lee Rowing Club, Ryan Spelman of University Limerick Boat Club, Adam Murphy of Shandon BC and cox is Leah O’Regan of Shandon BC.
Alex, Ross, Jack, John and Leah won bronze as a crew at the 2020 European Rowing Under 23 Championships in Duisburg, Germany, while Andrew and Adam were part of a junior Men’s Quad who won silver at the 2020 European Rowing Junior Championships.
The BLM2x selection features Rory O’Neill of UL and Eoin Gaffney of Shandon BC, while the BW1x selection is Alison Bergin of Fermoy Rowing Club.
Alison was part of a Junior Women’s Quad who finished fifth in the A Final at the 2020 European Rowing Junior Championships, while Eoin was part of a Lightweight Men’s Four who won bronze at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Florida.
Rowing Ireland says there is the possibility of adding additional crews to this list as the competition draws closer.
That list includes Cork rowers who have been impressive in the Cork Sculling Ladder down through the years, including being category winners and overall winners, in the case of Jack and Eoin.
And it comes as Cork Sculling Ladder is about to get back on the water, with the announcement by organiser Pat Hickey that the time trial for the 49th Cork Sculling Ladder will take place next Saturday, June 19.
Those wishing to take part have until Monday, June 14, to register.
The 2021 World Rowing Under 23 Championships is the top event for the year for U23 rowers and it can attract up to 1,000 rowers from around the world.
There are 22 boat classes to compete in, including eight lightweight boat classes, which suits the Irish target, and the competition is seen as a progression event for the 2022 World Rowing Championships.
Heats begin on the Wednesday and run until the Friday, when the semi-finals will begin to kick-in, with finals take place across the Saturday and Sunday.
Outlook: More Irish medals.
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