Pic: Dan Lettice

by Neill Clarke

WHILE my blog is normally about rugby, I thought it would be no harm to include this piece which I put on the Bantry Bay RFC website.

The club were the official hosts of “Unité”, the Irish team based in Bantry, the crew are involved in a variety of sports and their performance electrified the town for the week.

Contending crews arrived from all over the world, (Ireland, Northern Ireland, Russia, Great Britain, Quebec, Belgium, U.S.A. France, Italy, Canada, Finland, Indonesia, Denmark, Cork, International).

It was a unique contest that we may not see in this country for approximately 14/15 years.

I enjoy watching many sports and enjoy all water sports, having spent a lot of my youth fishing, rowing and sailing around Bantry Bay.

Last week was very special for the town, on and off the water.

The main focus of this piece is to thank all concerned for making it happen; the crew members, their families and trainers, the organisers, sponsors and everyone who gave of their time through out the week of the contest, and the many months leading up to it. It was truly a special week.

I watched the racing and events for the entire week and really enjoyed the whole spectacle!

Pic: Dan Lettice

I was hugely impressed by the Irish, Unité, team.

An amazing achievement to win seven out of the 14 events, and come second in two others.

The performances that really stood out for me were the “Passage Race” on Friday evening, where the crews rowed from the beaches, through the Gurranes to the old jetty at the back of Whiddy Island.

This was a fantastic effort, good tactics, guts and sheer determination.

Then when the sails went up, we saw the Unité cutting through the water at high speed as we followed along side her in the spectator’s ferry.

The other performance was the “Rowing” on Saturday morning, where the Irish crew looked jet propelled as they raced to victory with huge crowds cheering them on.

The memories will live forever, the shore events and the Pirate Day, meant there was something for everyone both on land and sea, what a week!

Pic: Dan Lettice

Sincere congratulations to all involved, and particularly to the amazing crew of Team Ireland (whose crew are based locally and can be seen training out in Bantry Bay throughout the year).

Jack Price, Michael Young, Andrew Hurley, Barry Pigott, Joe Pigott, Colm O’Leary, Abi Cronin, Niall O’Donovan, Aileen Daly, Caroline Daly, Colleen Kelleher, Peter Kelleher, Tom O’Sullivan, Ronan Lordan, Alex Vickery, Megan Clancy, Lauren O’Donovan, Aine O’Sullivan and Aisling O’Sullivan.

They showed the way with skill, commitment and bravery, an outstanding example to us all in the sporting world.

Bantry Bay RFC was proud to have to opportunity to act as the host club for the Irish crew.

Pic: Tony McElhinney