by Joseph O’Callaghan
THE phrase “Every cloud has a silver lining” comes to mind as Kilmacabea Rowing Club battled the elements on a long day in Cork Harbour only to take home six silver medals accompanied by one set of bronze.
On a record breaking Sunday, the total tally of seven sets of county medals created a positive and optimistic atmosphere within the club as every team was supported to the last from the shore.
With 13 teams qualified and competing in the finals the day had been a success before it even started for Kilmacabea but medals in the U12, U14 ladies, U16, U16 ladies, U18, U21 and junior men’s categories made the day one to remember.
The day began well for the Kilmacs as the Veteran mixed crew took to the water for the first race of the day.
Although there was a half hour delay in getting the competition started it didn’t put off the experienced crew of Axel Kinderman, Lucy O’Brien, Mary O’Mahony and JJ O’Brien who pulled a strong race and looked like they were going to cause a shock and take a medal in this very competitive category but eventually fell back to fifth. The team who rarely get to row together competitively now look forward to the All-Ireland finals in under a month’s time where they hope to improve their performance again.
The next lot out for the club were Kieran O’Sullivan, Liam Thompson, Pat Calnan and Alex Nowotynski in the U18 race where they fought hard against the wind to claim the clubs first medal of the day.
The lads took a well deserved silver just behind their West Cork rivals from Ring and look forward to the next southwest battle in two weeks time.
The U12s did things in a similar fashion with Mikey O’Mahony, Dara Tobin, Peter Collins and Adrian Gore also taking silver in another race dominated by the West Cork boats.
The U14 girls were the clubs shock result of the day after qualifying from the south west championship in fifth place the girls pulled an absolute blinder and pushed Kilmacsimon all the way for the gold medal but Rachel O’Callaghan, Kirsty Hayes, Niamh Burns and Shannon Ronan were more than happy with the silver medal eventually achieved.
The U14 boys were just as impressive but a strong contingency of teams from East Cork made it difficult on the boys to achieve their goal of a county medal.
David O’Connor, Ashley Deane, Caelan O’Mahony and Timmy O’Donovan narrowly missed out on the bronze medal but now have the determination to do well in the coming weeks.
Next up the U21 team of Andrew O’Sullivan, Liam Cronin, Kieran O’Sullivan and Joseph O’Callaghan represented West Cork on the podium as they finished in second place between two strong boats from the East.
They were followed by the U16 ladies who also claimed silver following up their impressive run of performances in the southwest.
Abby Hourihan, Georgina Deane, Kellie Kregan and Vicki O’Brien had second place secured from the turn and pushed for gold coming up to the finish line, ultimately silver being the reward for their tremendous effort.
The U16 boys claimed the clubs only bronze medal of the day and did so in impressive form beating all of their neighbouring rivals along the way.
Euan Tobin, Shane Collins, Caelan O’Mahony and Cathal (Ring RC) coming in third place and being the first West Cork boat across the line.
The two veteran teams were the clubs next competitors with the ladies braving the water first.
Jennifer Calnan, Lucy O’Brien, Mary O’Mahony and Marian McCarthy rowed well eventually finishing seventh in an incredibly tough race.
The men followed and pulled well also, finishing fifth in another tight race. Axel Kinderman, John O’Donovan, Ger O’Sullivan and J.J O’Brien making up the team. This was immediately followed by the young junior men’s team. With an average age of twenty years old the Kilmac crew was easily the youngest crew on the water but didn’t let their inexperience show as they captured the silver medal in this tough race. Andrew O’Sullivan, Liam Cronin, Eoin Flavin and Joseph O’Callaghan rowed in fine style to claim the clubs final medal of the day.
The Intermediate race was next for Kilmacabea with Donal O’Donovan, Donal Williamson, Declan Whooley and Sean O’Donovan taking on the multi-turn race.
The men contended with the best Cork had to offer and put in a brave performance to finish just outside the main pack.
The last race for Kilmacabea happened to be the last one of the day as the senior men’s race was tackled by the young U18 crew who rowed earlier in the day.
The event caused much excitement among the Kilmac supporters as the team nearly caused an upset in what is considered to be the top race.
The boys came out of their second turn in second place but it was their third rounding of the multi-turn race that proved to be the deciding factor as the boys slipped back to fourth, missing out on a county senior medal by no more than half a length.
Well done to all crews that took part and a special congratulations to the clubs three coxes Joseph O’Callaghan, Lisa Cronin and Mary O’Sullivan who were among the best on the day and managed to give their crews every advantage in the tough rowing and coxing conditions.
The club now looks forward to Courtmacsherry regatta on the Bank holiday weekend followed by the fourth round of the SWCYRA in Schull on Sunday the 12th August.