Over 100 people made the journey from Ardfield-Rathbarry to Ballyshannon, Co.Donegal for the 2017 All Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships this weekend. With 16 crews rowing over the 3 day event, the extremely changeable weather conditions did not deter the crowds from showing their support for the club.
Friday afternoon of the All Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships has become the day for the finals of the traditional boat races. Three crews took to the water for the club in the torrential rain and gusty conditions that greeted us to the Lakeside Centre on Friday.
First to take to the water were the Cork Yawl Ladies. Niamh Hayes, Keri Ahern, Donna Burke and Laura Connolly were coxed by Julie Harrington in this close encounter where the Galley crew were unlucky to finish just outside of the medal positions in fourth place but can be proud of their fantastic display of rowing.
Next up were the Open Classic Men’s crew of Paddy Harrington, Jim Ahern, Micheál Harrington, Sean Keohane and cox Niamh Hayes. Having gotten off to a great start, this crew rowed a great race finishing in a well-deserved third place to pick up the All Ireland bronze medals.
The final crew to take to the water for the club on Friday evening were the Cork Yawl Men. John Harrington, Mike Turner, Danny Hayes and Ger Cullinane were coxed by Niamh Hayes in this exciting race. Once again a great start put this crew in contention from the early stages of the race and they were duly rewarded for their efforts crossing the finish line in third place claiming the All Ireland bronze medals.
With the Friday evening prize giving finishing at 8.30pm, members of the club were back at the Lakeside less than 12 hours later for the U21 Ladies All Ireland final which was scheduled for an 8am start time on Saturday morning. Ciara Deasy (Ring), Keri Ahern, Laura Ahern and Eimear O’Keeffe were coxed by Danny Hayes in this thrilling race where the Galley crew powered across the finish line in a hard-earned third place to pick up the All Ireland bronze medals.
The only other All Ireland final held on the Saturday which the Galley competed in ws the Masters Ladies race. Breeda Hayes, Jo Cannon, Rita Morrissey and Cathy (Sive) were coxed by Niamh Hayes in this final and rowed well in the tough conditions.
Well done also to Galley lady Mary Collins who rowed for East Ferry in the Masters Ladies final.
The Veteran Mixed crew of Darren Cannon, Paddy Rose, Jo Cannon, Mary Collins and cox Gary Lombard were unlucky not to qualify for the All Ireland final but rowed very well in their heat on Saturday.
The first crew on the water for the club on the Sunday were the U12 crew of Caitlin Keating, Cameron Rose, Shane Barrett and Neil O’Sullivan who were coxed by Danny Hayes. This young crew rowed a great race finishing in a brilliant fifth place in the All Ireland final.
Next up were the U16 Ladies crew of Rachel Collins, Elise Crowley, Sinéad O’Connor, Sinéad O’Donovan and cox Niamh Hayes in what was one of the most exciting races of the day. The Galley girls rowed an excellent race but heartbreakingly, were unlucky to finish in fourth place, crossing the line a single second behind the third placed crew.
Having won their heat on the evening beforehand, the U14s took to the water next. A great start put them in contention early on in the race and an equally great turn put them in the lead with 400 metres to go. This lead did not exchange hands for the remainder of the race with the Galley crew of Tomás O’Hea, Ben McShane, Darragh O’Leary, Brian Carroll and cox Danny Hayes crossing the line in first place to become U14 All Ireland Champions for 2017.
Next to take to the water were the U18s. With Fiona Connolly at the helm, Gary Lombard, Rory O’Connor, Daniel Godwin-Coombs and Kevin O’Leary rowed a great race in tough conditions.
Aoife Godwin-Coombs, Aoise Lawless, Katie O’Keeffe and Caitlin Keating were coxed by Danny Hayes in the U12 Ladies All Ireland final and put on a fantastic display of rowing.
Well done also to Mary Collins who rowed for Rushbrooke in the Pre Veteran Mixed race and finished in fifth place.
The next final the Galley competed in was the Pre Veteran Men. John Harrington, Micheál Harrington, Mike Turner and Jim Ahern were coxed by Julie Harrington in this exciting race where the Galley battled it out with neighbouring West Cork club Courtmacsherry, eventually crossing the finish line in a well-deserved second place to claim the All Ireland silver medals.
The U14 Ladies All Ireland final was the next in which the club had a crew. Lucy Cannon, Méibh Collins, Kate Whelton and Mary Kate Keohane were coxed by Danny Hayes in this tough category where the Galley girls put on a fine display of rowing.
The Junior Ladies crew of Julie Harrington, Laura Ahern, Lucy Quirke and Eimear O’Keeffe were coxed by Fiona Connolly in their All Ireland final where they rowed a great race in spite of the wind conditions worsening during the course of the race.
Niamh Hayes, Keri Ahern, Donna Burke and Roni Hawe were coxed by Julie Harrington in the Senior Ladies All Ireland final. Having gotten off to a flyer of a start, the Galley ladies rowed a fantastic race storming across the finish line in second place, to claim the All Ireland silver medals.
The final race of the weekend was the Senior Men. While focus may have understandably been elsewhere, Paul Deasy, Mark O’Brien, John Harrington, Sean Keohane and cox Julie Harrington led this exciting encounter from the outset and much to the delight of those on the shore, crossed the line in first place to claim back-to-back All Ireland titles.
The club wishes to thank all those who have made the 2017 All Ireland such a success; to Paddy Rose for towing the two boats; to all those who were on shore duty over the course of the three days looking after the boats; to those who helped prepare the boat, load the boat, unload the boat; to those who made the tea; to The Island Beverage Co Ltd (Java Republic) for providing the tea and coffee making facilities; to our sponsors Dunmore House Hotel, O’ Donovans Bar Fishers Cross, John Hayes Tractor Sales, Patrick O’Sullivan (O’Sullivan’s Mountain House and Daytona Construction) and South of Ireland Petroleum for their ongoing support; to those who transported the marquee and other gear; to those who erected the marquee; to those who took photos; to those who travelled to support us; to those who sent messages of good luck; to Donegal Bay Rowing Club for hosting a fantastic All Ireland; thank you all.
Finally, to all those who rowed and coxed over the weekend, well done and thank you all. #galleygalleygalley