For the second time in the schools history, the schools very own rowing team comprising of 23 students from 1st year all the way to 6th a mix of boys and girls faced the largest school event in the rowing calendar. The national rowing schools championships. Following a great performance from last year they hoped to only improve. The entries had more than doubled from last year and the competition was stiff. The first races off in the morning were the men’s junior 18 sculls. Our 3 entries in 3 separate heats all won easily. A double of Hannah O’Sullivan and Aoife Leahy came second in their final after a tough semi-final. The men’s crews continued their winning streak with a win for Eoghan Whittle in the Junior 14 scull and after a strong finish by David Quinlan and Julian Corbett they won the Junior 18 double scull.
After a great performance from the men’s sculls with Adrian Sheehan holding onto his title of Junior sculls champion for the second year running, there was a lot of hype and excitement at the Castletroy trailer. The pressure was on to uphold the winning reputation we had built up that morning. A mixed double of Laura Walsh and Nicola Long put up a good fight for 3rd place though they both come from different clubs they came together on the day for a great race.
This was the first year we have had a large amount of female entries and were eagerly awaiting to see how they would perform. A women’s quad of Megan Donegan, Alison McDevit, Alish Griffen and Claire Silk came first in there heat after a tough 6 boat race and progressed to the final to finish a respectable 3rd place.
The biggest race of the day was the Junior 8s race. The crew had been set for over a month but last minute changes with boats and injuries had just about destroyed all hopes of a gold medal, but the crew remained strong. The line up of Cathal Moloney, Julian Corbett, Aaron Cusak, Kenneth O’Carroll, Cathal Killeen, Cian Costello, Eoghan Whittle and Stephen O’Connor set out to give it their best. Their main competition was Blackrock College who had beaten the crew once before. It was a fast paced race right off the starting blocks with Castletroy and Blackrock neck and neck. The newly formed line up had some trouble getting it together but the power was still there. By the half way Blackrock had 30 ft on Castletroy. At this stage our crew only opened up and showed their true potential. Clawing back for the last 1km they crossed the line in 3rd place piping Blackrock at the finish by a mere 3ft.
As word spread of Castletroy s impressive finish and how the crew was not part of the top 8 in the school. The idea was formed that a race should be held with the best 8 we can send out. On the 22nd May Castletroy was to race Presentation College Cork Boat Club, through Cork city centre, which came second at the schools championships. The top 8 of Dylan Quigley, Aaron Cusack, Adrian Sheehan, Cathal Moloney, David Quinlan, Cian Costello. Julian Corbett and Stephen O’Connor were primed for the race.
The conditions were not in Castletroy s favor as they had the outside lane facing against the strongest current. It was a difficult race from the beginning with Presentation taking the lead. The waves swamped both crews as they rowed down the course. Castletroy tried in vain to make a push several times through out the race but the weather proved to strong. With Castletroy taking on water at an alarming rate finishing the race was more of a priority. Both crews crossed the line after a grueling 2km race but sadly presentation took first place.
The lads in our school 8 were not fazed by the events and another race was set for the exact same time next year. With the intentions of continuing to improve the standard of rowing in our school the crew came home proud of their performance and eagerly awaiting next year.
By Cathal Moloney 5th yr