Building on the success of their 2017 Masters Regatta, St. Michael’s Rowing Club are bringing another major rowing competition back into the heart of Limerick city. The continued flooding of O’Briensbridge has led to the switch back into the city. The club will run an old school Head of the River which will see over 70 crews take part in a 5.5km time trial event on Saturday, February 24th.
The race course is from just beyond the Cement Factory bend of the Shannon all the way up past Barrington’s Pier, the Dock Wall and with the finish line in between the Clayton Hotel and Shannon Bridge.
The head of the river race is a unique event as all crews will launching from the club’s slip from 10:30-11:15am and an armada of 70 crews will row en masse down river to the race start. The crews have been seeded by boat category and by projected results so the fastest seeded crew going off as 001 and all boats racing in pursuit of the leading crew. First boat off will be at 12noon and spectators will be able to see them approach Barrington’s Pier and the run in to the finish shortly after that time.
NUIG, winners of 9 National Championships, will be firm favourites for the Men’s 8’s race as they have 2 Senior 8’s competing for the fastest overall time. In hot pursuit will be UCD’s Intermediate 8 and UL’s Club 8. In the Women’s 8’s it’s NUIG who will lead the charge from the front with crews from UL, Shannon and St Michael’s vying for the top spot.
Crews from the city of the Tribes have a very strong entry with Galway RC, Colaiste Iognaid and St Joseph’s travelling to the event. St Joseph’s are a dominant force in Junior Men’s rowing and they have opted to race four Men’s Junior 4’s in what will be a battle for crew selection coming into the regatta season. The Men’s Junior 4’s race is bound to be one of the highlights of the race.
There is a very strong entry from the local crews from Athlunkard, Limerick, Shannon, UL, Castleconnell and of course St Michael’s, who have the largest entry. The event has also attracted an international entry as St Michael’s hosts Societe des Regates Messines (Metz, France), who will be wearing their distinctive blank and white colours, competing in the Women’s Masters 4x event.
St Michael’s clubhouse will be open for tea/coffee and refreshments throughout the day and entrance will be via the laneway leading to Shannon Bridge. There will be some parking restrictions near the club and towards Cleeves. The club requests that motorists slow down on approach as crews and boats will be using the area around the clubhouse. Ideal spectating spots are on Barrington’s Pier where you can watch the crews race from The White Light, past the Snuff Box on the north shore and into the final 1km by the Dock Wall finishing at Steamboat Quay.
St Michael’s President, John O’Sullivan, will be on hand to present pennants for category winners and St Michael’s have commissioned a distinctive pin for the fastest overall crew. The club hopes to see the people of Limerick City take to the banks of the Shannon to support all crews and enjoy their unique racing event on our magnificent stretch of the River Shannon. More details on the event can be found at www.smrc.ie and on the clubs Facebook page.