Castletroy College under the tutelage of Castleconnell Boat Club had 11 crews entered in this year’s Rowing Ireland Schools Regatta which was held at O’ Brien’s Bridge, Co Clare on Sunday 24th April 2016. Weather conditions were perfect, sunshine and light winds.
This year 71 schools, representing all four provinces of Ireland, battled it out with each crew prepared to represent his/her school with pride and commitment. Castletroy College was led by Eoghan Whittle (triple gold medallist in European rowing).
The first event of the day was the men’s U23 single sculls. It was anticipated that this event would be very competitive and it did not disappoint with a total of 34 crews entered. The heats of this event were timed with the fastest twelve boats progressing to the finals. The school was ably represented here by Patrick Silke who finished second in his heat and progressed to the finals finishing the day with a position of 11th from 34 crews.
The next event of the day was the womens U23 double sculls. Once more this event was timed with the fastest four boats progressing to the final. Ciara Griffin and Clara O Brien did the honours for the school and against very competitive competition of 21 crews achieved the necessary time to qualify for the final where they finished third.
Next event for the school was the mens J16 double sculls with James Desmond and Rory O Neill being the representation. James and Rory rowed an excellent race coming second in their heat to the ultimate winners.
This event was followed by mens J14 single sculls, straight finals. Daire Scully on the water for the school rowed a great race finishing in second place.
Next up for the school was a new combination of Ben Christie and Ben Frohburg in the mens J15 double sculls, straight finals. The two Bens rowed excellently finishing in third place.
The spectators barely had time to draw breath when the next race of the day came into view – the womens J15 single sculls, again straight finals. Norma Silke was the representative for the school here. A very competitive and sporting race ensued with Norma the ultimate winner – The first medal of the day for Castletroy College.
The event was running to schedule when Castletroy was represented in the womens U23 single sculls – another timed event with the fastest four boats progressing to the final. The school had two boats in this event, Ciara Griffin and Clara O Brien with Clara qualifying for the final and giving her an overall result for the day of fourth from a field of 18 boats.
Next event on the river was the mens U23 double sculls – again a time trial with the fastest four boats progressing to the final. Like the U23 single sculls this event is always competitive and this year was no exception with a total of 30 crews lining up for the heats. The race was contested for the school by a new combination of James Quinlan and Eoghan Whittle. A win in the heats ensued for the boys however they had no time to relax as the next event of the day for them was Mens U23 coxless quadruple sculls. The crew for the school in this event was James Desmond, James Quinlan, Patrick Silke and Eoghan Whittle. First over the line in the heats qualified for the final in this event. The boys rowed a superb race finishing second in their heat to the ultimate overall winners.
It was the turn of the mens J15 coxed quadruple sculls next with Ben Christie, Ben Frohburg, Rory O’Neill, Daire Scully and cox Lauren O Brien sitting in the boat for the straight final. The boys rowed well and finished 3rd in their event.
James and Eoghan, to the delight of the supporters, qualified for the finals of the Mens U23 doubles. This final was expected to be well contested and it did not disappoint. “Heart stopping” was the consensus, with the race still not decided 5 meters from the end. However the Castletroy boys dug deep and surged over the finish line to win by a length to the delight of the spectators. Two more medals for the school and a great finish to the day’s rowing.
Castleconnell Boat Club would like to acknowledge the support of Castletroy College in the promotion of rowing in the school and look forward to many more years of pleasant days by the river at the Rowing Ireland Schools regatta.
Castleconnell Boat Club President