The 60th Erne Head of the River took place on Saturday past, as Trinity College Dublin stormed to their third successive headship and Enniskillen Royal Boat Club continued to dominate the junior ranks.
As the sun surfaced for the first time in what was a turbulent week, Trinity’s senior men’s eight led the 86-boat field, a record entry, down the course in perfect conditions. The Dublin University crew completed the 4.52 miles in 18 minutes and 30 seconds, 3 seconds quicker than reigning Irish Champions Commercial Rowing Club. It was their third consecutive victory in this event. The fastest Women’s crew was NUIG’s intermediate eight who finished 7 seconds quicker than Commercial’s senior eight.
In the junior ranks, Enniskillen Royal Boat Club continued to exert its dominance at the top of Irish rowing. Having won the junior men’s eight at the Irish Championship for three consecutive years, the Enniskillen club shows no sign of slowing down. They won their category convincingly to finish 6th overall, beating all intermediate eights but UCD’s in the process. Their time of 19:02 was only 32 seconds slower than Trinity’s senior men’s eight.
The women’s junior eight produced a similarly dominant performance to win their category by nearly 40 seconds over nearest rivals Bann Rowing Club. Finishing 29th overall, they were beaten only by NUIG’s intermediate eight and Commercial’s senior eight. Sitting in the 4 seat was Maeve Donnelly who incredibly only started rowing in September.
Enniskillen Royal’s younger members also exhibited the club’s depth of strength on their home waters as the boy’s second eight, made up of 15 and 16 year olds made the step up to senior rowing to win the club 2 men’s eight by 20 seconds over their closest competitors from Neptune Rowing Club and finish 16th overall, while the girl’s junior 16 eight won their category by 25 seconds in a time of 24:27.
It was a first Erne Head of the River for a number of crews as the newly reformed Portora Boat Club, made up of Portora old boys and parents of Enniskillen Royal’s current crop of athletes, took to the water with two boats enter in the men’s masters eight. They finished 49th and 72nd overall. Meanwhile the race also had its first para-rowing entry with a composite crew from City of Derry and Castleconnell.
Winning the Waterway’s Ireland best overall senior team and junior team were Trinity’s men and Enniskillen Royal Boat Club respectively.
Enniskillen Royal Boat Club would like to congratulate all winners of the 60th Erne Head of the River and thank all of it’s sponsors and volunteers who contributed to what was described as ‘the highest quality’ head of the river race in the country.