ROWING Double Medal Success for Irish Rowing team at World Cup Regatta

DOUBLE MEDAL SUCCESS FOR IRISH TEAM AT ROWING WORLD CUP

Gold for Men’s Lightweight Four

Bronze for Women’s Lightweight Double – first ever medal for Ireland in women’s Olympic class boat

An impressive and professional performance by the talented Irish men’s lightweight four (LM4-) of Gearoid Towey (Neptune), Eugene Coakley (Skibbereen), Richard Archibald (Lady Victoria BC), and Paul Griffin (Muckross) has earned them the gold medal at the second leg of the Rowing World Cup in Poznan, Poland this morning (June 17th, 10.48am Irish time).

After the medal ceremony a delighted Irish stroke man Paul Griffin reflected on the race: “We’re really happy with how we performed today, we executed our race plan well. Our middle 1000 metres was really strong; that’s where we burned off the rest of the crews, we’ve been working very hard on that part of our race over the year and it’s really starting to come together now. We’ll look to move on now and towards Lucerne, we still have a bit of work to do so we’ll concentrate on that now for the next couple of weeks with the Worlds in August our ultimate goal this year.”

The Irish four, silver medalists behind Germany at the first leg in Munich last month, took the lead after the first 500m and held it for the remainder of the 2000metre test rowing smoothly and confidently to take victory in a time of 5.55.23min, a second and a half clear of Australia in second, who just pipped emerging Egypt on the line. The German crew finished fourth. Ireland’s impressive win sets up a really interesting encounter for the last World Cup in Lucerne beginning July 7th, when world champions France will be back in the fold; they were forced to withdraw from this regatta at the eleventh hour through illness.
 
Just before the four’s victory the Irish lightweight women's double sculls (LW2x) of Donegal's Sinéad Jennings and Offaly's Niamh NiCheilleachair made Irish rowing history by claiming bronze in their final. The medal is the first ever at senior international level for an Irish women’s crew in an Olympic class boat.The third China crew took gold in a world best time of 6.49.77min, three seconds ahead of their team mates; the second China crew with the talented Irish duo four seconds down on them in third.

The medal is a super result and a huge breakthrough for Jennings and NiCheilleachair as they work towards the World Championships in August. They came together as a crew after this year’s national trials and had their first outing in Munich last month where they finished 13th. Climbing ten places and taking a medal significantly demonstrates the huge progress they've made in just a matter of weeks at their full time training camp in Blessington.
 
A beaming NiCheilleachair said: “We’re delighted to get a medal, it’s a great feeling. We’re really pleased with how we’ve rowed in this regatta; each time we race we’re gaining more and more confidence in each other’s ability and blending better together. Our start was so much better today, we really attacked the race and it paid great dividend.”

Earlier this morning the Irish heavyweight men's four (M4-) of Cormac Folan, Sean Jacob, Con Collis and Alan Martin finished 5th in their A final which was won by the high profile British crew. The result represents an improvement of four placings on Munich for the Irish quartet. Caroline Ryan’s improvement in the women’s single scull (W1x) has been particularly satisfying for the Irish in this her debut season. The Kildare woman finished 2nd in her B final this morning which represents an 8th placing overall, a huge ten places better than Munich.

Also this morning Sean Casey and Sean O’Neill finished 5th in a close run B final of the men’s pair (M2-); 11th overall, four places higher than Munich and in their first regatta together this season the men’s lightweight double (LM2x) of Tim Harnedy and Richard Coakley finished 10th overall.

 The Under 23 Irish contingent gained invaluable experience in Poznan which is sure to stand to them in Belgium next month at the Under 23 World Championships. The men’s four (M4-) of James Wall, Daniel Barry, Paul O’Brien and Paul Murray finished 9th overall. Orla Hayes placed 12th overall in the lightweight women’s single scull (LW1x), the men’s quad (M4x) of Liam Molloy, Ben Clarke, Kieran Rabbitt and Ger Ward were 10th overall, with the lightweight double (LM2x) of Sean Walsh and James Brinn 14th overall.

Reflecting on the regatta Irish team manager Mick O’Callaghan said: “We can take an awful lot of positives from this regatta as we move onto Lucerne and build for the Worlds. Improvement is the name of the game here and all our crews have improved since the first leg only three weeks ago which is really pleasing. We’ll go back to training now on Wednesday, get our heads down and continue the hard work preparing for Lucerne, and ultimately the Worlds.”

The overall World Cup champions are determined after a series of three regattas (Munich, Poznan & Lucerne in July) with the centrepiece of the International season the World Championships in Eton, Great Britain beginning August 20th.
Ends.
Issued on behalf of the Irish Amateur Rowing Union by the Irish Sports Council

For Further Information:
Sinéad McElroy, Irish Sports Council 087-6338512
smcelroy@irishsportscouncil.ie

PICTURES
Today’s racing pictures from this regatta can be purchased from Peter Spurrier, Intersport-Images, +44 7973819551, images@intersport-images.com
Headshots, crew, and action pictures of the Irish squad are available for no reproduction fee from Sportsfile www.sportsfile.com or 01-4547400.

Additional Information:

Rowing World Cup 2, Final Irish Results
SENIOR

W1x Caroline Ryan: 2nd in B final, 8th overall.
M2- Sean Casey & Sean O’Neill: 5th in B final, 11th overall.
M4- Cormac Folan, Sean Jacob, Con Collis & Alan Martin: 5th in A final, 5th overall.
LW2x Sinéad Jennings & Niamh NiCheilleachair: BRONZE in A final, 3rd overall.
LM2x Richard Coakley & Tim Harnedy: 4th in B final, 10th overall.
LM4- Gearoid Towey, Eugene Coakley, Richard Archibald & Paul Griffin: GOLD in A final, 1st overall.
UNDER 23
U23 LW1x Orla Hayes: 6th in B final, 12th overall.
U23 LM2x Sean Walsh & James Brinn: 2nd in C final, 14th overall.
U23 M4- James Wall, Daniel Barry, Paul O’Brien & Paul Murray: 3rd in B final, 9th overall.
U23 M4x Liam Molloy, Ben Clarke, Kieran Rabbit & Ger Ward: 4th in B final, 10th overall.

Key Dates
Rowing World Cup 3:   Lucerne, Switzerland, 7th – 9th July.
U23 World Championships:  Hazelwinkel, Belgium, 20th – 23rd July.
World Rowing Championships: Eton, Great Britain, 20th – 27th August.