NUI Galway Boat club and its sister alumni club Gráinne Mhaol had a massively successful weekend at the National rowing championships held in the National Rowing Centre in Cork over the weekend.
For the fifth time in the past six years Grainne Mhaol/ NUIGBC took the blue riband event of the championships, the Men’s Senior Eight from Queen’s University and UCD respectively. The defending champions dominated the race from start to finish winning by over 4 seconds from their northern rivals. The crew of Robert O Callaghan, Richard Bennett, Dave Mannion, Niall Kenny, Emmett Donnelly, Alan Martin, Cormac Folan and James Wall were coxed by Ruadhán Cooke to victory in difficult headwind conditions.
Gráinne Mhaol also took the Senior Four title marking Alan Martin’s eight National Senior win. Also from the Senior Eight, Niall Kenny won the Men’s Lightweight Single event. Robert O Callaghan and Richard Bennett went close in the Senior Pair finishing runners up to Galway Rowing club by the narrowest of margins.
This victory was further backed up by the win in the Inter Eight by the NUI Galway men’s crew, who took the win from UCD Boat club. As several of the NUI Galway crew are relatively new to the sport it suggests the pipeline of talent in the club will continue for some years.
There was also a significant victory for the women’s NUI Galway pair of Lisa Dilleen and Aifric Keogh who won by 11 seconds from St. Michaels in the Senior event. While Dilleen joined a composite crew with Cork to take the Senior Four, Keogh joined Cliona Hurst to take the Inter Double.
Hurst was also runner up in the Intermediate Sculls and NUI Galway also took second position in the Women’s Novice Four and the Men’s Inter Four.
This incredibly successful weekend precedes one of the most exciting weeks ahead for NUI Galway rowers as five members of the club, Robert O Callaghan, Richard Bennett (Men’s Coxless Four) Aifric Keogh (Women’s Coxless Four) Sean O Connor and Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan, all competing at the World U23 Championships in Linz Austria. NUI Galway Boat Club coach Dave Mannion is also coach to the Women’s Four at the championships.
Gary Ryan, Elite Sport Development Officer at NUI Galway: “It is a huge testament to the rowers and coaches, past and present, that NUI Galway Boat Club and its alumni club Gráinne Mhaol, which were already the strongest combination in Irish rowing, have taken an even greater leap forward in domestic and international rowing with its performances this year. I would like to congratulate all involved as I know how much hard work and professionalism has gone into achieving this success. I would also look forward with great anticipation to the World U23 championships this weekend where four of our students currently on sports scholarship will compete at the World U23 Championships in Linz Austria. It is a great platform for those athletes and a great credit to the athletes, their coaches and support team who have worked so hard for this opportunity.”