Year on year, the IIRC (Irish Indoor Rowing Championships ) host an event where athletes from all over Ireland and further afield gather to compete in the indoor rowing competition.
Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, a new twist on the competition was realised this past weekend, as club-based virtual indoor racing temporarily replacing the IIRC Race Series of the Provinces.
The IIRC 2021 competition became the V-IIRC (virtual ) with rowers competing from the safety of their homes and submitting their times to a panel of judges.
Athlone joined the challenge in both the Master’s and Women’s Junior Championships. Paul Gallen and Michael Murtagh, both Master Rowers, did the club proud.
In the 2000 metre LM60+, Paul broke his previous Irish record by three seconds in a time of seven minutes .03 seconds. Paul also rowed in the 500 metre LM60+ and broke that Irish record by two seconds coming in at a time of one minute .326 seconds.
Paul, a lightweight rower, rowed alongside heavyweight rowers and placed third, the judges check the times against LM records to confirm two new records had been set. Athlone Boat Club’s, Paul Gallen, is now the proud holder of two Irish Rowing records, an achievement to be very much lauded.
Congratulations is also afforded to Michael Murtagh who placed seventh.
In the Women’s Junior 14’s competition, Anna O’Grady achieved second place, while Ava Kelly in the Women’s Junior 16’s 1000 metres and 500 metres placed fourth (there was just one second between second and fourth place ).
As with other sporting clubs around the country, Covid-19 has had a huge impact on Athlone Boat Club, but it has not taken away the spirit or determination of its members.