Friday, September 03, 2021

CARLOW rower, Jack Keating, secured a place in Carlow and Irish rowing history when he joined an elite group of Irish rowers who won at Henley Royal Regatta which took place in the middle of August where he competed in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup winning the Men’s Quadruple Sculls event. He is currently a member of the Leander Rowing Club in England. In the final they saw off the challenge of Twickenham Rowing Club with Queen’s University of Belfast in third place.

Jack Keating celebrates his win

Finbarr McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan, won the Double Sculls Challenge Cup so it was a weekend to remember for the successful Irish rowers. Keating says he was chuffed to win at the same regatta as the Irish Olympic gold medallists.

I was fortunate enough to row with a high calibre crew. To make history to be the first Carlow man to win at Royal Henley since Sean Drea. I am one of eight Irish people to win at Henley. One of four to win a sculling event,” remarked Keating.

Basically Paul O’Donovan, Fintan McCarthy and myself were the three newest winners and we will did it on the one day. It was nice to be compared or to be on the same wavelength as those boys.”

Rowing has been part of Keating’s life since he was introduced to the sport in Carlow by his parents, Jim and Majella. In his early years he was coached by his father, Jim, and Paddy Behan.

He was selected on the Irish team for the 2018 World Junior Championships while he was also part of the Men’s Quad that rowed and took gold in the 2017 Coupe de la Jeunesse at Hazewinkel in Belgium. In the 2017 Junior European Championships he was in the Irish boat which also claimed gold.

Keating admits that somewhere in between he fell out of love with rowing where studying and training at the level wasn’t working for him. Gradually he moved back into the sport but he was out for a total of seventeen months.

He had a number of options. He could have gone coaching in Australia but he was enticed to go to Leander Club which is based at Henley on Thames. His recent win suggests he made the right decision.

I decided I hadn’t given the last ten years of my life to rowing just to give it up. I decided to go to Leander and compete at a high-performance level. I put my international dreams and hopes on hold for the moment and am really enjoying what I am doing,” he said recently when he returned to Carlow for a short break.

Rowing is full-time for him now. He is supported by his parents while there is also help from his new club in England. He has a range of different options where he is now.

Our boat class is heavyweight. No lightweight in Henley. From an early age I have been heavyweight and haven’t had the light weight opportunities. My goal would be to win a level above which is the elite level. If I could win that I would be in a position to trial for a country which could be either Britain or Ireland. I am not sure yet,” Keating explained.

It is interesting he has not ruled out the possibility of rowing with Great Britain. It is an option but nothing is set in stone. He even has caveats around his Olympic dream.

Currently I want to try and win as many Henley’s as I can,” he said last week.

With regard to the Olympics, I would hope to go in 2028. 2024 would be a big push. With Covid and the decisions I took I had nearly sixteen months away from competitive rowing. I don’t feel I am ready yet to go for 2024,” he pointed out.

Yet nothing is down in black and white.

Plans could change. Christmas could come around and I could be moving really well so then I could aim for 2024.”

For the moment and perhaps mindful of those months away from the sport he is happy where he is now.

I want to enjoy what I am doing and not put a huge commitment on myself,” he stresses.

Jack Keating Wins at Royal Henley

By Kieran Murphy

Carlow rower, Jack Keating, secured a place in Carlow and Irish rowing history when he joined an elite group of Irish rowers who won at Henley Royal Regatta which took place in the middle of August where he competed in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup winning the Men’s Quadruple Sculls event. He is currently a member of the Leander Rowing Club in England. In the final they saw off the challenge of Twickenham Rowing Club with Queen’s University of Belfast in third place.

Finbarr McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan, won the Double Sculls Challenge Cup so it was a weekend to remember for the successful Irish rowers. Keating says he was chuffed to win at the same regatta as the Irish Olympic gold medallists.

I was fortunate enough to row with a high calibre crew. To make history to be the first Carlow man to win at Royal Henley since Sean Drea. I am one of eight Irish people to win at Henley. One of four to win a sculling event,” remarked Keating.

Basically Paul O’Donovan, Fintan McCarthy and myself were the three newest winners and we will did it on the one day. It was nice to be compared or to be on the same wavelength as those boys.”

Jack Keating with the trophy won at the Henley Royal Regatta

Rowing has been part of Keating’s life since he was introduced to the sport in Carlow by his parents, Jim and Majella. In his early years he was coached by his father, Jim, and Paddy Behan.

He was selected on the Irish team for the 2018 World Junior Championships while he was also part of the Men’s Quad that rowed and took gold in the 2017 Coupe de la Jeunesse at Hazewinkel in Belgium. In the 2017 Junior European Championships he was in the Irish boat which also claimed gold.

Keating admits that somewhere in between he fell out of love with rowing where studying and training at the level wasn’t working for him. Gradually he moved back into the sport but he was out for a total of seventeen months.

He had a number of options. He could have gone coaching in Australia but he was enticed to go to Leander Club which is based at Henley on Thames. His recent win suggests he made the right decision.

I decided I hadn’t given the last ten years of my life to rowing just to give it up. I decided to go to Leander and compete at a high-performance level. I put my international dreams and hopes on hold for the moment and am really enjoying what I am doing,” he said recently when he returned to Carlow for a short break.

Rowing is full-time for him now. He is supported by his parents while there is also help from his new club in England. He has a range of different options where he is now.

Our boat class is heavyweight. No lightweight in Henley. From an early age I have been heavyweight and haven’t had the light weight opportunities. My goal would be to win a level above which is the elite level. If I could win that I would be in a position to trial for a country which could be either Britain or Ireland. I am not sure yet,” Keating explained.

It is interesting he has not ruled out the possibility of rowing with Great Britain. It is an option but nothing is set in stone. He even has caveats around his Olympic dream.

Currently I want to try and win as many Henley’s as I can,” he said last week.

With regard to the Olympics, I would hope to go in 2028. 2024 would be a big push. With Covid and the decisions I took I had nearly sixteen months away from competitive rowing. I don’t feel I am ready yet to go for 2024,” he pointed out.

Yet nothing is down in black and white.

Plans could change. Christmas could come around and I could be moving really well so then I could aim for 2024.”

For the moment and perhaps mindful of those months away from the sport he is happy where he is now.

I want to enjoy what I am doing and not put a huge commitment on myself,” he stresses.

By Kieran Murphy

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