Despite the efforts of Storm Atiyah to blow away hopes of a successful event, the Rowing Gods smiled on Carrick Rowing Club to give steady conditions for all crews at the Head of the Shannon 2019.
From early afternoon on Friday last and through to early Saturday morning the magnificent fleets of racing hulls, crews, coaches and supporters arrived in Carrick looking forward some hard racing on the North Shannon and they were not disappointed.
In total 18 visiting clubs made the trip to Carrick which translated into 95 boats for the 11am race and 90 boats for the afternoon trip, over 650 athletes and a visiting crowd of approximately 1000 people.
Carrick got a rub of the green as the course was deemed challenging but very rowable. Helping with this decision was the knowledge that so many local river enthusiasts and experts were available in number to help on the river.
We are indebted to the services Leitrim Civil Defence, Leitrim Sub Aqua, Carrick Camping, Carrick Canoe Club, Brendan McDermott, Mick Heslin, John Dunne and Eugene Matthews for their help and support.
But now to the racing. Leading off the morning’s proceedings were the Men’s Masters 8s. A composite crew featuring Neptune from Dublin with Belfast Boat Club took the win over Athlone Boat club in a solid time of 12mins 3 seconds.
Carrick featured well in a number of categories of the mornings racing with the Women’s Junior 18 Quad of Shauna Murtagh, Noor Stephens, Aoife Lowe and Rosin Reynolds coming in a very strong 3rd place in 14min 14 seconds being pipped by Coleraine Grammar and winners Commercial Rowing Club from Islandbridge.
In the men’s club scull Antonio Chilton came second in what is his return to competitive rowing. Carrick's newly formed Women's Junior 15 8+ had their first competitive spin and we all look forward to the progress of this hard working group over the next few months.
Carrick took the honours as Torin O’Donaile delivered a very strong row in the Junior 16 scull. He was push hard all the way by crews from Colaiste Iognaid and Galway Rowing Club. Other notable categories from the mornings say Galway based schools the Bish and the Jez fighting out for the Junior 18 4+. St Joseph's “Bish” took it in a time of 13 mins and 18 seconds.
A lunchtime review of conditions proposed the shortening of the course to reduce the lake section of the race by 500m to allow for the freshening breeze that had moved south westerly.
This time out the Mens Junior 8s led out the racing. St. Joseph's of Galway backed up their morning performance with another pennant win taking it over Athlone BC and Neptune. Carrick again featured strongly with a solid 3rd in the Junior Quad featuring Oisin Reynolds, Leon O’Brien, Cian O’Leary and Ciaran Ryan in the engine-room.
A Carrick J15 8 took fifth place in their first competitive outing. As a club that has for many years excelled in small boats it is very encouraging to be now putting competitive 8s on the water. This crew will gain from this experience and move up the rankings very soon in 2020.
A Carrick Quad of Aoife Lowe, Kate Lowe, Elsie Harman and Grace Earley took first place in the Junior 16 event. In the Junior 18 scull Club Vice-Captain Shauna Murtagh took second place to Coleraine and Irish international athlete Molly Curry. In the Junior 14 Quad Sculls Carrick managed third and fourth to Neptune and Enniskillen.
This brings to an end the competitive season in Irish rowing for 2019. The committee and members of Carrick Rowing Club wish to thank all the visitors, competitors and supporters for supporting our event. We thank our Parents and Partner clubs for helping to run a safe and successful event that is one of the highlights of Irish winter rowing.
The club also wish to acknowledge and thank Barna Recycling and Leitrim County Council for their support in our running of another Green event with the majority of our waste recyclable or compostable. We also thank the sponsors of our photography competition, The Landmark Hotel, The Bush Hotel and The Oarsman.
As always for anyone that missed the day do check out Keith Nolan Photography, Gerry Faughnan Photography and Marks Photos on Social Media to get a flavour of the day.
For our athletes, training will continue apace as their will be more Heads of the River in early 2020 including the Head of the Bridgewater near Manchester in February. We also look forward to our Annual Christmas Dinner on December 14,and our Turkey Row on December 22.
The club will also be announcing details of the Annual New Year New You in the coming weeks. This event has grown from strength to strength in recent years.
Finally we wish to congratulate Clubman and current National Senior 8 Champion Thomas Earley on receiving Rower of the Year at his UCD Club. Thomas was also nominated for Leitrim Senior Athlete of the Year at the Sports Partnership Sports Awards.