St Joseph’s College enjoyed the perfect warm-up at the Boston Scientific Galway Head of the River at the weekend ahead of this week’s trip to Australia.
The Bish, last year’s winners of both the Irish schools’ and junior title for the second year in a row, won the junior eights event on the Corrib before setting off Downunder to compete for the first time in the Australian Open Schools Rowing Championships.
The schools’ event in Australia kicks off today as part of the part of the Sydney International Rowing Regatta. The Bish is joining join crews from South Africa, the USA, and Italy, in addition to 93 schools from the host country.
Coached by Peter Heaney, Padraig Lohan and Jamie Bradley, the crew had the perfect send-off last Saturday when comprehensively beat Presentation College of Cork to win the junior eights event.
Colaiste Iognaid also scored several wins, including the men’s junior 16 event.
This year’s Galway Head of the River, jointly hosted by NUI Galway Boat Club and Tribesmen Rowing Club, was held in perfect rowing conditions.
And with 300 crews representing 30 clubs from all corners of Ireland, most of the prizes remained with the local clubs.
The Mayor of Galway, Terry O’Flaherty, fired the starting pistol to signal the start of Head one, which resulted in wins for Galway Rowing Club in the women’s senior eights, and for NUIG’s graduate club, which competes as Grainne Mhaol Rowing Club, in the men’s senior fours.
Head two for sculls and pairs, started by Paul Walsh of Boston Scientific, a former St Joseph’s stalwart, was won by Niall Kenny of NUIG, with the women’s title going to Cork Boat Club. The men’s pairs event was won by a combination from NUIG and St Joseph’s. The junior men’s and women’s sculls were won by St Josephs (Smyth ) and Carrick on Shannon (Kelly ).
The highlight of the day, Head three, started by NUIG vice president Pat Morgan, saw the men’s eight from NUIG, Grainne Mhaol and St Joseph’s take the title of the fastest crew of the day. The only major events to be taken by visiting crews were the women’s senior four event, won by Cork Boat Club, and the men’s masters eights, won by Belfast Rowing Club.