By Elaine Grant
FOR the first time in the memory of most Carlow rowers, the annual Carlow Rowing Club Regatta on the Barrow over the Bank Holiday weekend saw part of its day two schedule cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.
The last time something similar happened, Pope John XXIII died on 3 June 1963. The regatta was in full swing when the news reached regatta secretary Jack Phelan. Jack postponed announcing the news until after the last race and the committee then decided to cancel the regatta dance which was scheduled for the Ritz Ballroom that night. This left the committee with a problem because the profit from the dance was to pay the expenses of the day. Luckily, this year there was no Ritz Ballroom dancing to consider!
Overall this year’s event was again very successful with great rowing from all teams who travelled including Castleconnell, New Ross, Graiguenamanagh, Muckross, Coleraine Grammar School, St Michael’s, Neptune, Commercial, Tralee, Athlunkard, Three Castles and Waterford to name but a few.
Day one saw masters and recreational crews on the water. The men’s recreational crew of Paddy Aylesbury, Robert Williamson, Brian Doyle, Noel Maddock and cox Mary Clare Byrne, coached by Peadar Doyle, beat crews from Graiguenamanagh and Waterford to win gold in their event.
The women’s crew of Susie Mitchell, Ornat McHale, Niamh Slater, Triona Hickson and cox Mary Clare Byrne won the women’s event beating crews from Carlow and Graiguenamanagh.
Other recreational rowers on the day were cox Paul Donohue and a second ladies crew of Sonya Nolan, Bennie Fleming, Freda Glynn and Susie Mitchell.
Carlow senior ladies crews was also successful on day one with all competitors securing wins in their events.
And what a fantastic year it has been for the women’s crews from Carlow. All these rowers are truly coming into their own and the hard yards of training is bringing much success on all waters.
The first win of the day went to Olivia Neaves and Orlaith Hickson in the Junior 18B double. Keara Egan strongly contested and won the final of the Junior 18B scull against Graiguenamanagh, Clonmel and Three Castles.
The Club 2 double was won by Katie Corcoran and Zara Doyle Matthews who beat teams from Commercial, Neptune and Waterford in their heats.
The club 2 quad of Zara Doyle Matthews, Katie Corcoran, Jessica Devitor and Doireann Slater won their event against Neptune, Graiguenamanagh and Tralee.
In the Club 2 single scull, Katie Corcoran was exceptional in her heats beating Neptune and Commercial. Unfortunately, in a tightly race, she was pipped for the win by a Waterford sculler.
Sadhbh Scully won the Junior 18A single scull event beatin Fermoy, Neptune and Muckross opponents. There was gold too for the Junior 18A Double with Sadhbh Scully and Keara Egan beating crews from Fermoy and Neptune. More success for the Junior 18A quad as Sadhbh, Keara, Ava Kavanagh and Orlaith Hickson beat Fermoy in the final.
The race of the day went to the Junior 18B quad crew of Ava Kavanagh, Olivia Neaves, Orlaith Hickson and Orla Walsh who fought hard for the win, pulling away from the Athlone club with 200m to go. They had previously beaten Fermoy, Graiguenamanagh and Neptune to reach the final. Coxswains on the day were Leah Amond and Aoife Byrne.
The senior men brought more success for the club on day one with Barry Murphy and Luke Keating winning the club men’s senior double, beating Tralee in this event. Luke Keating went on to win the senior single scull beating Carlow and Fermoy opposition. The club 1x scull was won by Tommy Ayres. The club 2x double was won by Tom Connors and Dach Murray and the club 2 quad crew of Luke Keating, Finn Bolton Dowling, Barry Murphy, Dylan Nolan and cox Fionn Heslin beat teams from Tralee, Fermoy and Neptune.
Also competing were the men’s Junior 18b double of Finn Bolton Dowling and David Callanan.
Day two started off with light winds, spits of rain and a little sunshine but this didn’t interfere with the determination of the youngest rowers.
The Junior 14 single sculling event went ahead as planned and with straight finals in their events, Carlow had wins through Fionn Heslin against Offaly, Alex Neaves against Arthlunkard and Charlie Mead against Commercial.
The Junior 14 double event was won by Charlie Mead and Fionn Heslin against Commercial and the Junior 14 girls event was won by Katie Egan, eagerly following in her sister Keara’s footsteps.
The Junior 16 quad raced exceptionally well on the day winning their heats to reach the final. A great effort was put in by Ava Kavanagh, Olivia Neaves, Orla Walsh and Aoife Hickson to reach the semi-finals and they would have raced against Castleconnell in the final. Unfortunately the weather took its toll and the final had to be call off.
The Junior 16 double with Eva Kavanagh and Olivia Neaves also had the same fate. They too had won all their races to reach the final but alas this too was cancelled.
Many of Carlow’s Junior 14 and 15 athletes did not get to race due to high winds.
The next outing is Athlone and Craigavon for the junior rowers while Cork Grand League and the Irish Championships await the senior athletes to finish of the rowing season in July.
Credit must go to all volunteers, committee members, coaches, regatta secretary Michael Curran, umpires, stewards, club captain, club president and all visiting teams for making this event such a success.