Although an almost seven hour drive to get there, the All Ireland Championships in Waterville were to be the highlight of a busy season for Donegal Bay Rowing Club. The regatta ran for three days with 530 crews, 2700 individuals and 71 separate race categories. Donegal had 2 crews in the senior mixed and one crew in the Under 18 ladies event. Both of the senior mixed crews didn’t progress to the finals, but gave a strong performance in a very competitive category.
The under 18 crew were very impressive in finishing 2nd in their heat allowing them to progress to the final on Sunday. Lady luck was not to hand in the final however when an unfortunate ‘crab’ (the oar got stuck in the water at the end of the stroke) upset the rhythm of the crew and cost them dearly with a final placing of 11thout of 22 entrants. Donegal’s finishing time in their heat was 11 seconds faster than the winning time in the final – an indication of how unfortunate they were.
Loughros Point from Ardara had representative crews in the under 16 girls, under 16 boys, under 18 boys, Intermediate men and senior men. Loughros produced the best result of the weekend by finishing 4th in the Intermediate men’s final, a truly impressive showing. Mountcharles men’s crew also put in a great performance, finishing a close 9th in the final of the Junior Men. This was their first time competing in the all-Ireland championships; no doubt they will be back stronger next year.
This was Co. Donegal’s highest number of crews attending these championships with 8 teams from the county. It was also great to see the team spirit between the Donegal clubs, help each other and supporting each other throughout the weekend.
The regatta location itself was ideal with 14 lanes easily capable of dealing with the race schedule. Spectators were adequately catered for with the hilly amphitheatre surrounding the course allowing spectacular views of the races.
The weekend finished on a high note when the first All-Ireland medal for Coastal Rowing, in Donegal, was won by Seamus Maguire, club chairman of DBRC, who finished 3rd in the Open Classic men’s event. Seamus was rowing as a member of the Carnlough crew from Antrim. Overall the greater participation of Donegal crews at the All Ireland is a sign of progress, despite the lack of silverware so far. Lessons have been learned and already preparations are underway for next year’s event.
Donegal Bay Rowing club would like to acknowledge all our supporters who travelled to Waterville for the event. The support was greatly appreciated.