NUI Galway claimed a title double at this year’s Irish Rowing Championships.
The college won both the men’s senior eight and coxless four titles at the National Rowing Centre in Cork at the weekend.
NUIG, the defending champions, once again had a tough race against the in-form Queen’s University crew for the blue riband event and, although trailing, they went on to snatch the title by just three feet. Last year just 0.4 seconds separated the crews.
The NUIG crew, coached by Tom Touhy, were behind by a length at half way. However they closed the gap to ensure a fight for the finish. Locked together in the closing stages a photo finish was needed to separate them.
Seasoned internationals and Olympian Cormac Folan, Alan Martin and James Wall brought great experience to this already well-raced squad, but with fresh blood in the bow seat, 18-years-old Eddie Mullarkey won his first national title, while Jason Wall, in the number two seat, had his own personal win. Having suffered from Guillain-Barre syndrome, an auto-immune disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system, he had been left debilitated, using a zimmer frame and on crutches until May.
The crew comprised Ruadhan Cooke (cox ), James Wall (stroke ), Cormac Folan, Alan Martin, Evin Donnelly, Paul Giblin, David Mannion, Jason Wall and Eddie Mullarkey, Squad members also included Padraig Bracken, Liam Molloy and Charles Doyle.
The college also upstaged the highly fancied UCD crew in the senior coxless fours. The Dubliners, recent victors at Henley Royal Regatta, were fancied to take the title, but it was NUIG who came through in the end. They also came from behind to pull through the UCD boat and win by three-quarters of a length, ensuring NUIG retain the title for the eighth time in 10 years.
The college’s intermediate coxed fours finished second and fifth behind Cork, while Galway Rowing Club were second in the intermediate coxed fours behind winners University of Limerick.
The third win for a local club came from the Bish in the men’s junior 16 eight. This young crew had five seconds to spare over the other crews. The crew are: Dara McKee, Evan Lydon, Gary Higgins, Michael Flaherty, Dylan Delargy, Joseph Irwin, Conor Breen, James Egan (stroke ) and cox Aran Kilroy.