Sligo Rowing Club journeyed this weekend to Galway Sprint Regatta to race on the 700 meter 3 lane course on the Menlo straight off the Corrib river.
allowing a successful previous weekend at the Metropolitan Blessington Regatta the club were keen to race their junior members in earnest.
Having wintered well in the gym under coach and training program manager Tom Colsh and Ailish Hackett and having trained through a gruelling program of ergo-meter pieces, circuits and weights over the dark evenings of the winter months the crews were in good shape to deliver on the water in what is now the height of the regatta season and deliver they did with a total of no less than eight wins across the categories for the club. The wins included:
– Junior Girls 14 Double Claire and Emma Walsh
– Junior Girls 15 Single Claire Walsh
– Junior Girls 15 Double Claire Walsh and Ella Clarke
– Junior Girls 15 Quad Marieke Spoorenberg, Emma Walsh, Claire Walsh, Ella Clarke and cox Sally McEnroe
– Junior Girls 16 Quad Claire Walsh, Ella Clarke, Sarah Walsh, Orlaith Kavanagh Beirne and cox Conor Sheridan
– Junior Boys 18 Single Rohan O Hara Nolan
– Junior Boys 18 Double David Murray and Rohan O Hara Nolan
– Women’s Club 2 Single Katie McEnroe
Remarkably Claire Walsh who only started rowing this season and who is Junior 13 again next season achieved the extraordinary feat of winning outright all five categories into which she was entered including singles, doubles and coxed quad boats.
Her sister Emma raced with Claire in the double winning her first silverware whilst Sarah joined her sisters in the winning J16 quad resulting in a total of eight medals returning to the Walsh Household in Ballymote where proud parents Rosaleen and Pat will now have to make room on their mantel piece for the growing medal collection.
Another family affair also occurred on the Corrib where Sally McEnroe expertly coxed the Girls Junior 15 quad to victory in what was her first competitive event and her just reward for having trained in the cox’s seat in the early weekend mornings on the waters of the Garavogue through the cold winter months.
While Sally was racing her mother Katie was also on the water making her way to start to race and to comfortably win in the Women’s Club 2 single.
There was another first for Conor Sheridan who was drafted in at short notice to cox the Girls Junior 16 quad owing to boat demand in the tight racing schedule.
Conor drawn on the Menlo station expertly piloted his boat down his lane resulting in the quad winning their final by 1.5 lengths against Athlone and CRCC of Galway. This was always going to be an exciting race right from the start.
As all 3 boats slipped to make their way to the start there was a quiet air of anticipation amongst the coaching staff of all 3 clubs on the slip as all 3 clubs felt they had good crews capable of taking the title.
The race did not disappoint and at the 400 meter mark the crews were still aligned across the Corrib with nothing between them. The Sligo quad however were determined with Claire Walsh on “the drive for five”, this being her fifth final and sister Emma in support who also was racing for her second piece of silverware on the day.
Clarke was out to make amends for her single race earlier as was Orlaith Kavanagh Beirne where both girls were hindered by the increasing winds on the Daingean Station.
At the crews past Menlo Castle the Sligo quad made their move and took the lead by a canvass which they then continued to build upon with Orlaith Kavanagh Beirne in the stroke seat setting a fast finishing rate resulting in the quad winning the race by one and a half lengths to the delight of the Sligo contingent and coaching staff Rory Clarke, Tom Colsh and Molua Donohoe back on the slip.
Upon returning to the slip there was a quick change over of crews from the girls J16 quad to the boys J16 quad with Conor Sheridan remaining in the pilot seat as cox and getting his crew quickly to the start. With his brother Thomas Sheridan in the stroke seat, Andrew Connell in 3, brothers Finn & Conn Reid in the 2 and bow seat respectively the quad raced exceptionally well and gained valuable race experience as this crew continues to experiment and build.
With the Junior Irish Rowing Championships now not too far away and scheduled for the 9th July at the National Rowing Center in Cork the coaches continue to try different permutations of crews in the various boats to gain additional boat speed.
With this in mind Lauren Dolan who is J14 was drafted into the second Sligo J16 quad to gain more race experience ahead of the Championships. Lauren who is a grandchild of Larry Gilmore who himself was part of the winning Sligo Amateur Rowing Club Maiden Sweep Four in the early 1950’s of Michael Finan, Brian Costello and Lionel Hallowes and Dave Elliot showed her pedigree in the bow seat in what was an equally exciting race.
With young Sally McEnroe back in the cox’s seat and the experienced Julie Seery at Stroke, the ever improving Alex Scott at 3, Marieke Spoorenberg at 2 and Lauren in the Bow the crew were determined to race well and that they did pushing the home crew of Galway all the way to the line. Expertly stroked by Julie Seery the quad made their finishing push for the line as they passed Menlo with thirty strokes to go only a canvass separated the boats. Unfortunately, the line came too soon for the Sligo boat and were narrowly beaten on the line despite their boat gaining boat speed and beginning to overtake their opposition.
The future looks bright for this crew as they continue to experiment with positions and improve at every outing.
In the Junior Boys David Murray paired up with Rohan O Hara Nolan who is trialling for the Irish Junior 18 squad and had a thrilling Junior 18 double race winning their final by a canvass over Athlone and St Josephs of Galway.
Rohan also went on to win his Junior 18 single race whilst Murray in his single like Clarke struggled with the conditions as the winds came up. James Muldoon was equally unfortunate in his J18 single race when leading his opposition of Shannon and Athlone came in on his lane causing a clash of blades and forcing the race to stop.
The umpire made the call to restart the race at where it stopped once the boats separated. The standing start however was taken with all boats level and the advantage that Muldoon had made was lost.
A resulting dog fight for the line ensued with James unfortunately beaten on the line in what was a tough hard fought race.
The next outing for the club is next weekend at nearby Lough Rynn Regatta on the 2000 meter course with Athlone Regatta to follow on the 18th June over 1000 meters.
The crews who raced on the day were:
Men’s J18 Double.
A. Rohan O Hara Nolan and David Murray
B. Andrew Connell and James Muldoon
C. Finn Mitchell and Daniel Sproule
Men’s J18 Singles
A. James Muldoon
B. Rohan O Hara Nolan
C. David Murray
Men’s Junior 16 Coxed Quad
Con Reid, Finn Reid, Andrew Connell, Thomas Sheridan and Conor Sheridan Cox.
Men’s Junior 15 Double
Conn Reid and Thomas Sheridan
Women’s Club 2 Single: Katie McEnroe
Women’s Junior 16 Coxed Quad
A. Claire Walsh, Ella Clarke, Sarah Walsh, Orlaith Kavanagh Beirne, Cox Conor Sheridan
B. Julie Seery, Alex Scott, Marieke Spoorenberg, Lauren Dolan, Cox Sally McEnroe.
Women’s Junior 16 Double
A. Orlaith Kavanagh Beirne and Sarah Walsh
B. Julie Seery and Alex Scott
Women’s Junior 16 Single: Orlaith Kavanagh Beirne
Women’s Junior 15 Coxed Quad:
Ella Clarke, Claire Walsh, Emma Walsh and Marieke Spoorenberg, Cox Sally McEnroe
Women’s Junior 15 Double
A. Ella Clarke and Claire Walsh
B. Marieke Spoorenberg and Emma Walsh
Women’s Junior 15 Singles
A. Ella Clarke
B. Claire Walsh
Women’s Junior 14 Double: Emma and Claire Walsh