The weekend of the 14th July was another weekend to remember for Enniskillen Royal Boat Club at the Irish Rowing Championships in Cork as the top junior club in Ireland won four Irish championships titles (Junior 18 age group) and eight other Irish titles.
As expected it was another intense three days of racing with the local boat club again excelling from Junior 14 upwards to complete an impressive medal haul.
It did not necessarily start that well for Enniskillen as the MJ18 8 crew of Odhran Donaghy, Nathan Timoney, Jack McDade, Jack Kennedy, Robbie Mills, Peter Murphy, Sam Balcombe, Michael Stewart and cox Rory Farragher were pipped by a highly impressive Shandon crew following a superb race with the times of both crews of the very highest order.
Enniskillen were trying to win the Blue Riband event in Junior rowing for an unprecedented fifth year in a row but Shandon really rose to the occasion and while history was not made, the crew lost nothing in defeat.
There was compensation for some of the crew in the MJ18 4+ AS Jack McDade, Jack Kennedy, Nathan Timoney and Odhran Donaghy with cox Rory Farragher powered their way to the Irish title in style and a new course record in perfect conditions.
Nathan and Odhran then teamed up to take the Pair title and this duo will now go on to represent Ireland at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in Cork at the end of July.
The Women’s J18 8+ put a mixed run up to the championships well and truly behind them as they set a new course record by six seconds on their way to gold following a superb row. The crew of Zoe McCutcheon, Caitlyn Fee, Victoria Wilson, Caoimhe Leonard, Caragh Leonard, Maeve Donnelly, Jessica Long, Abby Corry and cox Sarah Dolan secured the win ahead of old rivals Bann.
The Women’s Club J18 8+ of Zoe McCutcheon, Caitlyn Fee, Caoimhe Leonard, Caragh Leonard, Abby Corry, Maeve Donnelly, Jessica Long, Trudie McComb and cox Sarah Dolan also struck gold to complete a fourth Irish title in the championship races for Enniskillen.
Elsewhere there were notable gold medals and Irish titles for the up and coming young rowers at the club.
On Friday, the first day of competition, the MJ 14 4X+ crew of Tim Murphy, Charlie Smith, Luke Paton, Tom Blake and cox Rory Farragher won well as did the WJ15 crew of Nikki Kernaghan, Katie Donnelly, Jenny little, Martha McBrien and cox Grace Ralph.
On Saturday, there were single sculls wins for Charlie Smith MJ14 1X and Nikki Kernaghan WJ 15 1X while the WJ15 4X+ crew of Jenny Little, Nikki Kernaghan, Katie Donnelly, Martha McBrien and cox Georgia Maxwell added to the Enniskillen gold medal haul.
Likewise, the MJ14 4X+ crew of Luke Paton, Charlie Smith, Lewis Nixon, Tim Murphy and cox Georgia Maxwell crossed the line first for gold.
On the final day of competition, there was more gold medal winning performances with the WJ15 8+ crew of Caragh Leonard, Abby Corry, Katie Corrigan, Nikki Kernaghan, Jenny Little, Katie Donnelly, Martha McBrien, Abigail Ralph and cox Grace Ralph and the WJ14 4X+ crew of Clodagh O’Donnell, Keeva Corry, Enya Stewart, Rosie Pendry and cox Georgia Maxwell finishing in first place.
The MJ14 8X+ octuple (each rower has two blades), the first time this event has been held at the championships, was won by the crew of Luke Paton, Kyle Abraham, Tom Blake, Charlie Smith, William Carrothers, Callum Timoney, Tim Murphy, Joshua Martin and cox Jessica Long.
The weekend was fittingly rounded off when rowing Masters legend and ERBC junior coach Gerry Murphy, representing Portora Boat Club, won his 10th Irish Championship title but only narrowly after winning a photo finish.