Following on from their recent trip abroad to compete at the National School’s Regatta in Windsor where they gained valuable experience racing against some of the fastest crews in the UK, the rowers of St. Michael’s will now be able to put their newfound skills to the test against their domestic counterparts at the last Grand League Regatta of the season, Cork Regatta, taking place at the National Rowing Centre, Inniscarra Co. Cork next weekend.
A total of 17 crews are entered in the regatta which promises to be an exciting and packed weekend of racing, with almost non-stop heats and finals from 11:15am on the Saturday morning with the J16 Men’s Eight and Ronan O’Gorman racing the Lightweight Men’s Single followed later in the day by Declan O’Connor, racing the Men’s Senior Single while Dylan O’Byrne and Ryan Spelman compete in the Men’s J18A Single, starting at 12:43. Later in the afternoon Michael Spooner races the J14 Men’s Single, along with the Men’s Club Doubles and the J16 Women’s Eight, all of which will be starting at 3:27pm.
Racing starts again on Sunday at 8:30am, ensuring some early starts for the SMRC hopefuls including the J15 Men’s Coxed Quad, the Junior 16 Men’s Coxed Four as well as Liam O’Reilly and Ronan O’Gorman both racing the J18B Men’s Single and finally Alice McKeon racing the J15 Women’s Single. Almost an hour later sees the Men’s Senior Double in action at 9:54am.
The Men’s J16 Eight, Women’s J16 Coxed Four and Eabha Benson, racing the Women’s J16 Single will see action later in the day at 12:46pm to round off the St. Michael’s crews vying for medals.
The Grand League format is different from most conventional regattas in the Irish calendar, where each heat is run as a time trial, where all of the crews must races their hardest in order to place as highly as possible to reach the A, B or C finals: Simply finishing in first place in your heat is simply not enough to guarantee a place in the highly coveted A final.
Another difference is that the regatta is divided into two divisions: Division 1 and Division 2, which group various categories together into the same race. In many cases this will result in the younger crews racing against much older opponents, providing them with a challenging race, yet not sacrificing the chance of earning themselves some silverware.
However, the regatta is also used as a trial for many of the pre-selected international crews who hope to compete for Ireland over the Summer, a member of one such crew is Ryan Spelman, selected as part of the Men’s Quad for the Coupe de la Jeunesse, taking place in Inniscarra, two weeks after the National Championships.
Also hoping to represent her country is Ellen Murphy, who has been selected to trial as part of a squad of athletes with a view to sending a Women’s Four to the Junior World Championships in the Czech Republic at the beginning of August.
Cork Regatta being only three weeks out from the National Championships, held in Inniscarra from the 13th-15thJuly is an excellent example for all of the crews to get a good idea of where they stand versus their opponents before going into the last tough training block of the season. This is sure to produce some stand-out performances as many athletes aim to prove themselves in the run-in to the last event of the season.